Get To Know Your Employees With These 20 Non-Awkward Questions Silence As An Interviewing Technique

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Silence As An Interviewing Technique

SILENCE – A POWERFUL TOOL USED IN EVALUATING JOB CANDIDATES

Hiring executives should be proud of the companies they represent. They are very proud that they spend a lot of time and effort telling their company’s story in the early stages of interviewing employment candidates. Company history, product development, gleaming facilities, employee teamwork are examples of high-profile topics emphasized by executives.

These topics are considered an important part of the interview. After observing organizational monologues, I often ask the executive “what did you learn about the candidate that was important to making a hiring decision” or “describe and compare the candidate’s values ​​to your company”.

Managers dance with rhetoric and describe observations in general but fail to provide detailed information. In this type of interview scenario, managers talk 80% of the time: candidates 20%. This is obvious – an interviewer can talk or listen… Not both at the same time. Gathering information, difficult at best during an interview, is seriously hindered when the company representative talks and talks and talks.

Because the Company has been sold to the candidate (and because the candidate has already spoken the answers to the future interview questions) the interviewer many times has an anxious need to interrogate the candidate. Ready with their template questions, the employers asked a series of questions.

What happens if the candidate hesitates? Or respond in a way that is inconsistent with the previous response? The preferred response to hesitation or no answers is SILENCE.

Silence gives hesitant interviewees a chance to gather their thoughts. They can frame answers in a logical, well-thought-out way. This comfort-building break gives them time to gather their thoughts and builds confidence in their ability to answer additional questions. Obviously this is mutually beneficial to the candidate and the interviewer.

If the candidate does not answer a question, silence is again the order. Having created a non-threatening atmosphere, the interviewer calmly waits for the candidate to respond. Yes, time seems to pass slowly when this technique is first used. It can be uncomfortable because we want to fill all the interludes with noise. Our conditioned habits tell us to “hurry up” and ask another question.

Candidates read our pause as a sign that we want the answer to the question presented to them. They know that we will be patient and wait for them. Yes, the interviewer has silent control over the discussion. Not in a negative or prerogative way… but in a constructive way.

I have found that self-discipline is the key to staying quiet as an interviewer. For example, curling the toes is a helpful technique. Obviously don’t cut off circulation. Just a hint of pressure acts as a reminder to hold off on commenting until the candidate responds.

Silence is one of many constructive techniques that can be used to facilitate dialogue. The interview is intended to be civil, collegial, and an honest exchange. This is not an interrogation or “gotcha” exercise. Silence contributes to this positive, respectful conversation.

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