Hiring Wisdom: Getting Applicants to Talk Truthfully About Tough Topics

People have a propensity to meet our expectations, so make sure you tell interviewees that you expect the truth.

When you do this, you change their mindset.

Now, instead of telling you what they think you want to hear, they will tell you what you’ve said you want to hear – the truth. This will also make you feel more comfortable about asking questions we usually don’t like to ask – like those about drug use and criminal records.

Here’s what gets results

This type of statement gets excellent results:

“I’m going to be very open and truthful with you about the job and our company and I trust you’re going to be open and honest with me about yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever resigned or been fired from a job or had difficulty with a boss. As long as you tell me, we can take it under consideration. But, if you don’t tell me and we find a problem when we do our background and reference checks, I can’t hire you. Do you understand what it is I want?”

Then wait for the applicant to say something like, “Of course, you want the truth.” Once you get that confirmation, you’re ready to start the interview.

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We’ve found that when you tell applicants you want them to be honest, 90 percent will be more honest in the interview than they had planned to be.

Maybe 10 percent may still lie to you, but that’s why we do reference and background checks.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog, and is an excerpt from Mel’s bestseller, Hire Tough, Manage Easy.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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