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

How would you set priorities in this job?

This question invites the candidate to recite a priority setting process that she read about in a time management book or learned during a recent seminar. You are going to hear some theory—maybe even a description of how the candidate hopes to set priorities—but no evidence that the candidate has followed the advice she has received.

Better Question: How do you go about setting job related priorities?

This is a better question because it asks the candidate to describe her current practice. What you won't receive is information on the effectiveness of this approach.

Even Better Question: Describe a time when your ability to set priorities helped you to be more productive on the job.

In response, the candidate will provide evidence of how she organizes her time. Probe for additional information. How did she set priorities? What guided her when setting priorities? How did setting priorities make her more productive? How did she judge her productiveness? Confirm that the candidate has used this process recently, repeatedly, and under circumstances similar to what she will encounter in the job under consideration.

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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