What Are You Asking Them? | No BS Hiring Advice

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

I often joke with job hunters about how companies interview.

I will tell them about how firms look for people who demonstrate qualities of personal leadership and that a company isn’t going to ask them, “So (with serious expression on face), are you a leader?”

“Yes, I’m a leader.”

“Good, that’s the answer we were looking for.”

But the questions to assess leadership style often isn’t much different and can open a firm to bias charges through the use of subjective criteria in assessment.

For example, asking people about their leadership style or greatest management challenge will really tell you nothing about a person and their capabilities, let alone how they think. References are often pointless because they have been cherry picked by the candidate.

Often missing in the assessment process is the search for honesty, self-reflection, vision and candor.

So what can you do?

Well, depending upon the role, Jack and Suzy Welch would ask a question like:

“What’s the best example of you anticipating a market change that others did not see?”


“When did your curiosity lead you to probe deeply and uncover a competitive trend or marketplace dynamic that others didn’t see (or didn’t want to see)?

On leadership, you can ask them about hiring successes and failures they’ve had . . .what they got right and what they missed (a test of honesty).

You can ask them about the hires who achieved great things under their leadership and have gone on to triumph.

For certain roles, you can ask about the greatest violation of integrity they have found and how they handled it. What did you do when you found yourself in the midst of a firestorm or criticism.

When exploring their capacity for growth, consider asking them about whether they have willingly ever gone through a personal or professional transformation.

As for honesty, a fun area to explore is whether they have ever been blindsided in life. What happened and why did it happen?

The Welsh’s offered a series of important suggestion–Listen carefully to the answers. Listen to what is said and not said and to the silences and pauses. Doing this essential because interview veterans will reveal what you need after you ask questions like this if you listen to their answers carefully.



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Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff 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 2400 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, and Amazon, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.

I do a livestream on LinkedIn, YouTube (on the JobSearchTV.com account) and on Facebook (on the Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter page) Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 PM Eastern. You can send your questions about job search, hiring better, management, leadership or to get advice about a workplace issue to me through LinkedIn’s messaging .You can also message me through chat

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Are you interested in 1:1 coaching? People hire me to provide No BS career advice whether that is about a job search, hiring better, leadership, management or support with a workplace issue. Please click here to see my schedule to book a free discovery call or schedule time for coaching.

My courses are available on my websitewww.TheBigGameHunter.us/courses The courses include ones about Informational InterviewsInterviewing, final interview preparation, salary negotiation mistakes to avoidthe top 10 questions to prepare for on any job interview, and starting a new job.

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