With Candidates, You Have to Dig Deep and Pre-Close

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Jan 15, 2014

Dear Barb:
Am I the only recruiter who feels candidates are not telling us the truth during interviews? They tell me one thing and then give different answers when they are interviewed by my clients. How can I get them to be more truthful with me?

Cindy B.
St. Petersburg, FL

Dear Cindy:
During your initial interview, answers are as honest as they can be considering you are someone the candidate doesn’t know or trust. Candidates want to know three things:

  1. Can you be trusted?
  2. Do you care about me?
  3. Are you going to do what you promise?

When you interview a candidate ask them your initial question. After you listen to their answer, ask them for a specific example which will provide more information.

Most candidates know how to answer an initial interview question. When you dig deeper, you discover their knowledge and/or expertise is more surface than deep. The more you learn to clarify their answers, the better you can orchestrate an appropriate match.  After each answer, pre-close to make sure you understood what they said.

For example:

If someone tells you, “I’m looking for advancement,” clarify their definition of advancement, then pre-close this candidate by saying, “So, what you’re asking me to do is find you a job you can grow into vs. grow out of, is that correct?

Now you are both on the same page.

Your interview process should be question, answer, and pre-close. This prevents you from putting your definition on words like advancement, challenge etc. As you work with each candidate, continue to ask them questions. Answers will get more thorough as trust and rapport improves.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS