|photo by Yaz Photography|
Yes or No questions are the easiest to lie to. Therefore, it is imperative that each and every word that accompanies the single, "yes" or "no" response be measured carefully.
For those of you who are in Human Resources and are interviewing prospective employees, you likely run background checks for criminal history.
Please note that these background checks only include adjudication of a case and this is often the result of a plea bargain. Many people are convicted of something less than what they committed. There is a good way to deal with this in the form of a "yes or no" question:
"Have you ever been arrested?"
This is, obviously, a "yes or no" question.
A recent inquiry went this way:
Interviewer: "Have you ever been arrested?"
Subject: "Have I ever been arrested? Once."
You noticed that he repeated the question meaning, "this question is sensitive" as the subject is pausing to think of it. This could be anything from being surprised at such a question being asked in a job interview (I ask this of everyone), or it could be that the subject needs time to consider the question, indicating that there may be more information awaiting you.
Instead of "yes" or "no", the subject has gone "outside the boundary" of the question. Anything and everything outside the boundary of the question is critical for the analyst or interviewer.
Here, he employed a "number" within his answer.
After the subject finished explaining his "once" arrest, I followed:
Interviewer: "When else were you arrested?"
Notice that I assumed that he was arrested a second time. Remember, he introduced a number instead of answering "yes" or "no" as expected. By going outside the boundary of the question, and by using a number, he alerted me that there may have been a second, and even a third arrest.
As he continued, he eventually made it to his third arrest.
Yet, his background check came back clean. Sometimes the background checks do not include everything, and even when they do, there is an element of "minimization" due to the process of plea bargaining. Also, if someone, for example, has been arrested many times for drugs, but never formally convicted, it may show up blank and does not tell the risk the company is taking in hiring. The interview process should be to gather information.
What one is convicted of does not tell the whole story. The pattern of three arrests all had to do with drugs and violence.
What he was now facing was violence related allegations.
History is the best predictor of the future.
The interview process should be analytical meaning:
Get a writing sample from all prospective employees prior to hiring.
When conducting the interview:
1. Open Ended Questions
2. Follow up questions based upon the language used in part one (above)
3. Questions based upon the analysis of the submitted statement
Next, conducting the actual interview for employment: "Analytical Interviewing"