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Getting reluctant applicants to talk

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

One of the frustrations of interviewing is sitting down with an applicant and then discovering that getting him or her to talk is like pulling teeth. But there are ways to avoid that. Here are techniques you can use to encourage candidates to open up and give you the information you need to make a good hiring decision.

Open-ended questions. Phrase your questions so they can't be answered "yes" or "no" or with a bare statement of fact. Ask, for example, "What did you enjoy most about your last job and why?" Or "Describe for me the team you led in your position at XYZ Corp."

Follow-up questions. Probing will get you beyond the standard answers for each of your main questions. If, say, the candidate says she most enjoyed "work­ing with people" in her last job, you can ask her who those people were, what her work with them was like, and so on. Make a note of what these follow-ups are, so you'll remember later.

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