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Ask Questions That Get the Applicant to Talk About Important Things

People say an interview is supposed to be 80 percent of the applicant talking and 20 percent of the interviewer talking. This 80/20 rule seems fine, but getting an applicant to talk about things of value is even more important. When you get an applicant to talk about things of value you learn things that will help you determine his or her standing with regard to the S.I.D.E. +1+1 formula.

Getting the applicant to truly talk is not as easy as it sounds. You may be thinking, “How tough is it? I ask the person a question, and he or she answers it by talking.” The thing is you want the applicant to tell you what kind of person he or she is, and this information can be difficult to get. After I put the applicant at ease with small talk, I begin with the following: “Tell me about yourself. Give me the five-minute life story.” This request starts the person talking, and I get to know him or her as a person. If the person can’t talk about himself or herself, the interview is over, and I know this would not be someone I would be interested in hiring. Just have a conversation with the applicant so that the two of you can get to know each other. Then answer in your own mind whether the applicant has those six S.I.D.E. +1+1 components. If he or she does, you probably have a winner.

Finally, be aware of certain questions you can’t ask by law. Contact your local labor board office and EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission) office to get any and all employment rules and regulations pamphlets and a chart of questions you can’t ask during an interview.

Get the Applicant to Ask You Questions

It’s just as important for the applicant to ask you questions as it is for you to ask questions. A good applicant should get answers he or she needs to make a job decision. Your prospective relationship needs to be a positive one for both sides. During the interview, ask three or four times if the applicant has any questions.

Applicant questions not only provide applicants an opportunity to take a break from being on the stage, but also can help you determine their interest level and intellect based on the questions they ask. Intelligent questions tell you that this applicant is an intelligent individual. No questions at all suggest the opposite.

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