As a #Recruiting #Expert with 39 years of Professional Recruiting experience, I know how to interview.  Sometimes, candidates refer to me – and people like me – as the Gatekeepers.  My Talent Attraction consulting business provides me the opportunity to train Managers on how to interview more effectively.  Would you agree it would be excellent to know my practices?

Let us begin by listing the 8 Different Ways I May Structure YOUR Interview Questions:


One Step


Pause/Silence (Do not get fooled by this one!)


Example from my life



The Premise Behind Behavioral Interviewing

Most people have been coached on how to either structure or respond to Behavioral Questions. Few truly understand the psychological premise behind them.

We, humans, are wonderfully predictive beings!  Once we find a way to successfully handle a specific challenge, we try to utilize the exact method to handle every situation that seems to mirror the original challenge…Until someone hits us upside the head with a 2 X 4 and tells us, “You CANNOT Do That Anymore!”

Therefore, a manager will anticipate a situation the candidate may face as an employee.  Then create a question describing a situation that essentially asks, “How did you handle this situation in the past?”  Your response provides a peek into your future. Pay attention.  These questions will help you better understand the challenges you will probably face inside the company.

The best technique for responding to open-ended questions is to structure your response with a story that demonstrates your skill or experience.

How Do I Structure A Story Response?

In my books, I suggest a 4 stage story response and refer to the structure as the 4 Ws (for people who prefer acronyms – CAARL).

What was the Challenge?

What were your Analysis and Action?

What was the Result?

What Did You Learn?

Your stories should only last about a minute.  This allows time for a conversation with the Manager, should they decide to probe your response.

The Other 7 Types of Questions

All but one of the other interview questions may be structured as a Behavioral question but they will have a specific way to ask it.

One Step question – This type of question is expecting a specific response. An example could be, “Why did you leave ABC Company after such a long tenure?”

Two-Step Question – I will go to my phone screen question to illustrate – “Have you ever experienced a time when a force beyond your control put you behind schedule?  Were you able to get back on schedule – and if so, How?

Pause or Silence – Watch out Sales and Marketing professionals! Typically, this style of questioning will ask a behavioral question.  As you respond, the Interviewer will nod their head to encourage you to continue.  When you feel you have completed your response, they will continue to nod and add the hand roll to indicate they expect more.  Too many people continue, and then sadly, enter the confessional.

Compare/Contrast – Essentially the same questioning from a different perspective.  Either compare or contrast one position to another.

Example – Essentially the interviewer briefly describes a situation they experienced.  Then they ask you to describe how you would handle the same or similar situation.

Echo – Generally, the interviewer will take a phrase from your response.  Then they will ask it in a question form. Example – Why did you leave your former company?  In your response you mentioned there was no room for growth.  The question becomes, “No room for growth?”

Yes/No – These questions typically Only want a Yes or No response.  Better to respond only Yes or No.  Please do not respond “Yes…But”

Practice Your Responses to Interview Questions

Bottom line – if you attempt to wing your interviews, the better-prepared candidate will receive Your Offer.

Practice your responses with family or friends.  Dogs will happily listen to you, expecting a treat for their attention!  Cats will ignore you and look at you as if to say, “Why are you bothering me?” Tropical fish are great!  They will swim to the top of the aquarium and cheer Every Response!  Not sure about parrots – just be careful what you say…

There is a whole chapter on interviewing that goes into more depth in my recent book, Employee 5.0: Secrets Of A Successful Job Search In The New World Order. Pick it up on Amazon –

If you want or need to accelerate your #Jobsearch, please immediately click on this link to my recent book, Employee 5.0: Secrets Of A Successful Job Search In The New World Order  My book contains the 12 Steps to find a new position in a nice, orderly fashion.  It also has the stories of people who did well – and some who did not. You may learn from both sides.

See you on Fridays!

Bill Humbert is available for Speaking, Talent Attraction Consulting, Career Transition Consulting, and Training contracts.  435-714-4425

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