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An interview should not become a game show

By the questions they ask candidates, some interviewers cast themselves in the role of game show hosts and the job seekers as contestants:

  • “Name the most important components of a
    secretary’s job.”
  • “Name three skills that are essential to be a
    successful teacher.”

These questions are reminiscent of what was asked on “Family Feud”, examples of which are found on the TV show’s web site (

  • “Name an animal you might see in the zoo.”
  • “Name a body part that’s hard to keep a bandaide on.”

Contestants earned points when their guesses matched responses on a survey of 100 people. During a “Game Show” interview, candidates earn “points” by correctly guessing what the interviewers perceive to be important or essential.

Assuming for a moment that the interviewers’ perceptions are valid and that the candidate’s responses match, this interview process is still flawed. It offers no evidence that the candidate possesses these important skills or traits or has ever used them on the job.

Time with the candidate would be more productively spent telling the candidate what is important for on-the-job success and asking for evidence that these skills and traits have been used.

During his Interview Right to Hire Right seminar, Nelson Scott works with participants to discover what is key to on-the-job success and to ask questions that will yield evidence of whether or not candidates have used what is needed.


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© Nelson Scott.  All rights reserved.

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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