How to Elicit Missing Information | No BS Hiring Advice Radio

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter discusses a simple and underutilized question you can ask to draw out missing information from someone you interview.

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One of the classic questions that I learned many years ago from one of my clients is, "Everyone makes mistakes. I make mistakes, you make mistakes. Tell me about a professional mistakes you made and what you learned from it."
Great question! But let's go into interviewing. The fact is, I make mistakes when I interview and I suspect you do is well. One of the things that happens is, for some reason, the way we frame the question doesn't really draw out enough of the information that we need from the job hunter to really make a valid conclusion. So, we start thinking, "Ah, they don't really have the experience that I'm looking for."
So, one of my clients taught me that one of the best ways to handle that is just to confirm that head on.
"I'm not seeing this in your background. Maybe I've missed and I'd ask the question in a way to draw it out. But, one of the things I'm looking for is such and such. Do you have that kind of experience? What is it?"
By being that direct with the person that you're interviewing, sometimes, you know, they'll say to you, "oh, that's true. I don't really have that experience."
"Okay, that's fine."
You've confirmed that and you can go on. But sometimes they'll also say, "Yeah, I spent about four years working on that kind of stuff. As we were talking about, I focused on different things in my background, but I've done this for the last four years. This is what I've done."
It happens more than you think. Sometimes the pressure of an interview, or, the rabbit hole that you start taking them on doesn't just draw out enough of the other information.
So, put it on the table with them. Ask them point blank, "You know, I'm not picking up on such and such. Do you have that kind of experience as well?" You'd be surprised sometimes what you hear back.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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