What stops you from asking the questions you really want to ask?

Question you want to ask    

What stops you from asking the question or questions you really want to ask?   I’ve spent years working with organizations in the capacity as both a consultant and a recruiter and what I have seen is the lack of courage to ask for the truth.  It’s easy to settle, far too quickly on responses and move onto the next question on the list.

We’ve all heard that statement: “people are our most important resources” – every company says that.  There are thousands of books on the shelf on how to recruit; offering different methodologies, metrics, questions to ask, assessments that profile competencies, and yet when the rubber hits the road most fall short of really asking the questions they really want to ask.  I’m talking about the tough questions.   We settle – it’s good enough.

Clients want to attract and hire the best and brightest.   There is again a War for Talent [there really always has been] and yet we fall short of going that extra mile and ask the difficult questions to ensure that we hire the best and the brightest.  How many of us just want to get the process over with and hire someone – call them the best and the brightest and keep our fingers crossed that turns out right or ‘ok’ at best.

There is a real art to interviewing and it takes courage.

I heard a speaker last week that talked about the art of interrogation – getting to the truth.  He was a veteran from an elite squad in the Canadian Military.   It was a fascinating comment…getting to the truth.   Here are some statistics:   Depending upon what resources you use – 66 -85% of University Students admit to cheating on exams.  Again depending upon which resources you look at 53-85% of individuals have false information on their resumes [fancy word for saying they lied – on their resumes!].   Sooo, what are the chances you are really getting to the truth in an interview.

Interviewing is gathering information – Interrogation is gathering truths.  Webster’s dictionary states that Interviewing is a conversation or questioning for the purpose of obtaining information.   Interrogate, according to Webster’s, on the other hand is posing a series of questions in a thorough and often forceful way.  [I love the distinction – posing a series of questions].  And it is posing a series of questions that gets us to the response – the truth.

Do we have a conversation or do we pose a series of questions – clarifying questions?  Let me paint a picture:   You have an opening in your organization.  HR takes over the attraction and interviewing and presents a slate of individuals to you, the hiring manager, to continue to interview.   Has HR gathered facts or the truth?  Have they asked a series of questions or have they had a conversation.   Have they checked boxes – yes they have the degree: check the box;   yes they have x years of experience: check the box; yes they fit the skills we are looking for: check the boxes required?

Better question – have they gone down the rabbit hole when they flagged something that just didn’t make sense?   Going down the rabbit hole is essential – don’t kid yourself – that’s where the truth lies.

Do you have the courage to ask the clarifying questions – to go down that rabbit hole until you have a clear, concise picture of the character of the individual that you are interviewing?  Have they glossed over mistakes, have they falsified any of their responses, are there gaps in their responses?   Have you been in the presence of truth?  Are you going for the truth or having a conversation?

Loretta Biscaro Smith is the founder of Genesis Executive Management Inc.  A consulting firm that specializes in Talent Attraction and Retention, Leadership Development, and Executive Coaching.     loretta@genesis-em.com  




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