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The Only 3 Questions You Need to get the Truth from a Job Candidate in a 30 minute interview

Everyone will tell you that they are:

  • Reliable
  • Hard Working
  • A team player

And they are right.

Under their definition.

This sounds like the start of a Bill Clinton joke.

Except that it’s no joke.

It’s one of the most important leadership skills.

In fact, your ability to determine their definition defines your success as a leader.


  • A reliable 10am person won’t ever show up at 7am.
  • A hardworking 4 hours a day 3 days a week person won’t ever put in a 40 hour week.
  • A team player who is used to being the star will instantly destroy your team’s cohesion.

The good news is that there are only 3 questions you need to memorize to get to the truth in any interview situation.

1. Tell me about yourself

This phrase is the most powerful phrase in all of interviewing.

  • It empowers the candidate to set the direction of the conversation.
  • It tells you a lot about their level of preparation.
  • It gives you insight into what’s important to the candidate.

NOTE: This question has a bad reputation!
That’s because this question by itself is useless. You need to use follow up questions (see the next two examples) to be an effective interviewer.

2. Can you give me a specific example of a time when you…

This is how you get at their definition.

Unlike the stock market, past performance is an excellent indicator of this employee’s future performance.

Listen to their story. Is this a story you want to hear about your customers and your business from one of your employees?

3. Tell me more about that…

One of my college roommates was from Italy. If you nodded at him and said “What’s Up?” he would tell you. In great detail. Standing there on the sidewalk.

We had to let him in on a secret: as a society we Americans are very superficial.

As an interviewer you need details. Lots of details.

Use this question to get them talking. That’s the only way you’ll find out who they really are.

How do you get the truth in a 30 minute interview?

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