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The Question Doctor...
The Cure for the Common Question

How would you recognize someone you supervise, or a co-worker, for doing a good job?

The candidate may provide you with a list of effective staff recognition techniques. But no matter how good the list, you must assume that if the candidate knows them, he would use these techniques appropriately. Has he ever used any of them? Or just read about them in a book?

Better Question: “How have you recognized someone for doing a good job?”

In responding to this question, the candidate should list techniques she has used, but may provide no evidence that the techniques were used effectively, appropriately or frequently. Listen carefully to the response. The candidate may switch from the past tense to the future tense. She could easily begin to talk about what she would do, not what she has done.

Even Better Question: “Describe a time when you recognized someone for doing a good job?”

This question asks for specific evidence that the candidate has recognized others for doing a good job and how he did it. Listen to determine whether or not the recognition occurred recently and frequently. If he describes something that occurred months ago, ask for a more recent example. Ask how often he recognized this person. Ensure that recognition was given to an individual or team, not to everyone. Why was this person recognized? How did the candidate learn of the other’s performance (observation, heard from someone else)? Why were the person’s actions worthy of recognition?

During his Interview Right to Hire Right seminar, Nelson Scott works with participants to develop and ask questions that will yield the high quality information needed to make the right hiring decisions.

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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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