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WORD OF WARNING
The great majority of interviewers ask very bad questions. Asking good questions is not a natural human talent. Our natural tendency in any kind of interview is to talk too much, to lead the interviewee towards our own way of thinking and to overload him or her with multiple questions.
The result is a very bad interview where the limited amount of information obtained is of poor quality.
Then we wonder why decisions taken on the basis of the information obtained turn out to be wrong!
QUESTIONING OR INTERACTIVE LISTENING?
In any interview situation there is a difference between questioning and interactive listening.
Questioning: In a questioning situation the interviewer takes the initiative in deciding which kind of information he or she needs. The way in which the interviewer proceeds to ask for information may vary from empathetic questioning through interrogation to inquisition.
Interactive listening: In the interactive listening mode the interviewer asks questions concerning only the information being provided by the interviewee.
CLOSED & OPEN QUESTIONS
Closed: A closed question is one to which there is only one answer:
- 'What year was the battle of Hastings?'
- 'Do you like spaghetti bolognese?'
- 'What kind of mainframe computer does your company use?'
Open: An open question is one to which there are many possible answers:
- 'What is your opinion on the current crisis?'
- 'How do you feel about working with flexitime?'
- 'What would you do if you won £1,000,000?'
A multiple question is a string of several questions.
'Well, I have with me the captain of the French rugby team. Now tell me, what do you think of your chances in the next world cup now that New Zealand have lost their star goal kicker? Do you think it will set them back? And do you believe your present string of successes will continue? Also, how about England losing against Romania? Is this going to affect next year's tournament?'
WHEN TO ASK
Never! Why? Because when you ask a multiple question, the interviewee will only answer the last question or the easiest one! So, why not ask the last one or the easiest one?