Recruiting Blog

Improved Technical Recruiting: Probing Questions

As I have shared previously, open-ended questions are the key to extracting more information from your R&D, engineering, scientific, IT and technical candidates. They prevent closure, which means the job candidate only answering with a finite number of interview answers. Instead, they open up the spectrum and force your candidates to provide a lot more information.

As a result, today’s technical recruiting tip is my 6TH magical interview question, “Why did you join?” Ask this interview question for each job a candidate lists on their resume. This is a companion interview question one of my previous open-ended question suggestions, “why did you leave?”

For example, ask, “Why did you join?” for each and every job the candidate has on their resume and follow this up with “why did you leave?” for each and every job as well. This will help you gain even further insight into this job candidate’s mindset and prevent you from making an employment blunder. You should also re-ask this question during the interview in order to trip up job candidates. This is the case because the interviewee may be able to rehearse and apply a stock answer once or twice, but under the pressure of the interview process including randomly re-asking the same question, you are more apt to uncover true answers from this candidate.

This may seem like a tedious process, but in interviewing information is king! The more information that your R&D recruiters, engineering recruiters, scientific recruiters, IT recruiters and technical recruiters can gather during an interview, the better it is for your executive recruitment decisions. Little bits of information can mean the difference between seemingly equal R&D, engineering, scientific, IT and technical candidates. So remember to ask, “Why did you join?” for each job a candidate held.

Please go to and click on #6 below for a short video I provided you on this subject.

What is your opinion on the use of open-ended questions during your interview process?

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