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Probe to learn more about job candidates

Need evidence that today's job candidates are well-prepared for interviews? Just check out the business section of your local bookstore or library. You will discover numerous books on how to prepare for interviews. There is a market for books on this topic. People who are looking for jobs buy these books and often come to interviews better prepared than those interviewing them.

Candidates arrive with well-rehearsed answers to frequently-asked questions and polished techniques that put them in a good light without revealing much of their underlying beliefs or lack of experience.

As an interviewer, you must be prepared to probe for additional information, to go beyond the candidate's superficial answers. Here are three techniques that skilled interviewers use to learn more about the person who is sitting across from them.

  • Clarify - Ask the candidate to clarify his answer: “What do you mean by…?”

  • Neutral Response - Use a nod, other gesture, or a brief comment to signal that you want to hear more.

  • Confirm Feelings - Encourage the candidate to recall his emotional reaction to a situation: “How did you feel when this happened?” Emphasize with his circumstances. “You must have been very excited when this happened.”

During his Interview Right to Hire Right seminars, Nelson Scott prepares participants to probe for additional 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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