Improving Leadership, Customer Service, and Communication

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Developing Good Interview Questions

During the information gathering stage of an interview you will ask questions that are critical to discovering the applicant’s knowledge and skill levels.  The following questioning techniques can be helpful:

  • Past Behavior-based questions refer to situations the applicant has handled in the past.  Rather than asking, “What would you do if…?” questions, try “Tell me about a time when…” This helps separate those who know the answers from those who know how to implement their knowledge.
  • Contrary Evidence questions are those that help you learn about the applicant’s not-so-perfect experiences.  If during the past behavior-based questioning the applicant provides only great experiences, you might ask, “Tell me about a time when your actions produced a less than desirable outcome.  How did you handle the situation?  What did you learn from the experience?”
  • Open-ended questions are those that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.  They help you get details from the applicant, as well as offering an opportunity to evaluate communication skills.
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