Don’t Interpret

“I still think it is a valid question,” Raymond remained adamant. “I want to know where they think they will be in five years. I think I can interpret a lot from that.”

“Raymond, I don’t want you to interpret anything in the interview process. The likelihood that you will misinterpret the response is too high for that to be a valuable question. It will give you minimal insight and introduce confusion into the interview process. You will make a hiring decision based on something you are trying to interpret. Your interpretation is likely to be wrong and it will tend to color the rest of the interview.”

Raymond’s face betrayed his stomach. He remained defensive. He had hung so many interviews on that one famous question.

“Raymond, you end up relying on your gut feeling, because you have not established anything else in the interview process on which to base your decision. It is no wonder you are not satisfied with the candidates you have hired in the past.”

2 thoughts on “Don’t Interpret

  1. Lisamarie

    This resonates so loudly! Trusting your gut is good, but confirming the attributes of the candidate you want is even better.

  2. Roy

    I usually ask that question as well. I am looking for a reaction to a question applicants don’t expect. run-of-the-mill questions usually get me run-of-the-mill answers: people are trained to give politically correct answers. I need to get a feel of who people are, and what they are about. Obviously it is not the only question that I ask, and I always add that giving a politically correct answer is not what I am looking for.

    Hiring people has never been a 100% objective process, at least for me. If I get 90% from a sympathetic person, and 95% from a person which you’d love to hate, guess where Í would put my money. Business is a team sport.


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