Improve Interviewing With Open-Ended Questions

interviewingMany companies have problems recruiting R&D, engineering, scientific, IT and technical talent. As I have shared previously, there is a lot of psychological, human resource and recruiting research available demonstrating that the use of open-ended questions tends to elicit more information during interviewing. Especially when applied towards gaining more useful employment information from job candidates. One important application of open-ended questions is the magical interview question, “Why did you leave?” You want to ask and restate this question throughout the interviewing process. This will help you to gain more insight into a job candidate’s mindset.

For example, if you are interviewing someone who repeatedly left their last two jobs due to a lack of overtime and your job requires a lot of overtime, then this candidate is probably not a good fit for your staffing requirements. Therefore, it is important to uncover this during the interview and not after you hired them!

interviewingIn fact, I train all of my R&D recruiters, engineering recruiters, scientific recruiters, IT recruiters and technical recruiters on the repeated use of open-ended questions including, “Why did you leave?” One technique we use to ensure that our executive recruiting staff amply applies open-ended questions like this is to engage in videotaped mock interview sessions. Research shows that if interviewers see themselves on videotape, especially watching proper and improper applications of interview questions, they are more likely to quickly overcome their mistakes and adopt the appropriate way of interviewing. The only equipment you need for mock interviews is an inexpensive video camera and a tripod. With the cost of such video equipment being so low, there is no reason not to do so. It will ensure that your technical recruitment staff will elicit more information from job candidates using open-ended questions like this.

Therefore, remember to ask open-ended questions like, “Why did you leave?” throughout your interview process. For more information and a short video on this subject, please go to and click on #5 below.