How sharp are your interview smarts? Try this quiz to find out. Answer TRUE or FALSE to the 33 statements below. Then, scroll down to score your answers and get more information. (Don't peek ahead!)


1. The best applicant is the neatest in appearance.

2. You should study the application/resume before conducting any interview.

3. It is your responsibility to maintain control over the progress of the interview.

4. During the interview itself, you should do about 50% of the talking.

5. An applicant with more than four jobs in five years should not be hired.

6. The applicant's progress can usually be measured by salary as related to years of experience.

7. Resumes are better guides for you than application forms.

8. To conduct a smooth flowing interview, you must first put the applicant at ease.

9. A good way to commence an interview is to challenge the applicant to prove he can do the job.

10. Specific interview questions should be framed to elicit "yes" or "no" or similar, simple responses.

11. You should always review and update a job description before beginning your recruitment process.

12. Applicants can be encouraged to elaborate on their answers by your use of silence or non-committal remarks.

13. You can probe for more detailed information by asking behavioral questions.

14. You should only be interested in the applicant's technical qualifications and not waste time on intangibles such as motivation, attitudes, and soft skills.

15. It is helpful in evaluating an applicant to inquire into long-term career objectives.

16. A nervous applicant should be disqualified as the candidate probably would not be able to cope with a stressful job.

17. If an applicant fails to meet all job specifications, the candidate should be rejected.

18. Non-verbal clues are helpful in evaluating an applicant.

19. You should provide an applicant with a complete job description prior to the initial interview.

20. To ensure you remember the interview, you should write down almost everything the applicant tells you.

21. Most interviewers listen to and absorb almost everything the applicant says.

22. Personal biases for or against an applicant weigh heavily in the hiring decision.

23. Hiring managers in most companies are excellent interviewers.

24. Once a candidate has accepted a job offer, all you have to do is wait until their start date.

25. Applicants should be told (in some detail) why they were rejected.

26. You have a responsibility to describe the company and the company's culture/values to job applicants.

27. In hiring, your judgment alone is usually enough for a hiring decision.

28. You should always offer the applicant the lowest possible starting salary you think the candidate will accept.

29. There are valid assessment tools that accurately describe a person's behavior, attitudes, and soft skills.

30. You can accurately test an applicant's attitude towards absenteeism, drug use in the workplace, theft on the job, safety, training, and customer service.

31. Job offers can be made at the same time as the job interview.

32. Hiring decisions should be made based on the candidate's skills, experience, and education.

33. A candidate is perfect only two times in his/her life - the day of birth and on the resume.


1. FALSE. "Don't judge a book by its cover." Neatness is important, but it is only one aspect you need to consider.

2. TRUE. By reviewing the application/resume, you will determine the focus of the interview.

3. TRUE. If you don't control the direction of the interview, it will get out of hand and become little more than a meaningless conversation.

4. FALSE. Always remember you cannot learn anything while talking. The applicant should talk most of the time. Keep your part down to 20%.

5. FALSE. Not necessarily. Determine the reasons for each change of job before drawing your conclusion.

6. TRUE. In many cases, salary does reflect progress in one's career. Exceptions: change in career and recent economical turmoil in the US has caused applicants to accept jobs where they make less than previous jobs.

7. FALSE. Many professional resume-writing services are available to candidates. Your company application is more objective and normally provides details resumes don't include. Plus, you see who completes an application.

8. TRUE. This is one of the key factors in good interviewing. A tense applicant is a non-communicative candidate.

9. FALSE. This will only antagonize the applicant and reduce your chances of building rapport. This often leads to the candidate becoming frustrated, defensive, and non-communicative.

10. FALSE. Open-ended questions are designed to probe deeply and elicit more and better information.

11. TRUE. Duties and responsibilities, education, experience and even behaviors, values and soft skill requirements can change. Without having current and accurate information, you set yourself up for potential disaster.

12. TRUE. These non-directive techniques are very effective, when used properly. Candidates "hate" the sound of silence and often try to "fill the dead air" with additional comments.

13. TRUE. Asking behavioral interview questions that probe for information and experience are highly effective and will assist in removing the "interview mask" from a candidate.

14. FALSE. Intangible factors need to be assessed and measured. Up to 90% of job failure can be traced to inappropriate behaviors, work attitudes, and soft skills.

15. TRUE. This helps you focus on the applicant's ambitions, passions, and seriousness about his/her career.

16. FALSE. The interviewing process itself can cause nervousness, and it may have little relationship to a person's ability to perform on the job. You can eliminate most nervousness when you establish proper rapport.

17. FALSE. There are no "perfect" candidates. Trade-offs must be made, and you have to know what is an acceptable trade-off.

18. TRUE. Watch "body language," pace of speech, and tone of voice. An excellent interviewer learns to understand and interpret them.

19. FALSE. You should provide candidates with an overview of a job, but never the complete job description before the interview. Since candidates are so well trained today, they will "deliver the expected responses," and you will not discover the real person behind the "interview mask." Share the complete job description after the first round of interviews.

20. FALSE. It is best to record only key factors during the interview. After it is concluded, write additional job related comments. Too much writing, during the interview, doesn't allow you to concentrate on their responses.

21. FALSE. Unfortunately, listening is very difficult for many people to sustain. This is why you want to write down only objective key words/phrases during the interview. By doing so, you'll be able to listen and observe the candidate.

22. TRUE. All people have biases and personal filters. Identify and understand your biases. Establishing a clear and objective position description/benchmark, prior to the interviewing process, is a great tool in removing your biases.

23. FALSE. Hiring managers often have received little or no training in how to conduct interviews. All persons in a company who interview applicants should be given training. And update this training on a regular basis!

24. FALSE. Today, more than ever, candidates are "shopping around." Staying in contact with your new hire, prior to their first day, helps ensure their interest and buy-in to their decision. It's another way to build rapport with your new employee.

25. FALSE. Whenever specific details are provided to outside applicants, an argument (started by the candidate) almost always ensues. It is best to say something like, "We have decided to pursue other applicants whose qualifications are more closely aligned to our needs." If you are rejecting a current employee, you should always discuss their limitations and outline the avenues they must take to be considered for advancement.

26. TRUE. A good description of the organization and the job under consideration can do much to sell the applicant on your company. Today, more then ever before, candidates expect to understand the company, its culture/values before they accept an offer. They are looking for "fit" as much as you are.

27. FALSE. A mis-hire can cost you upwards of 4 times a person's annual income. You expect a second, objective opinion from a qualified surgeon prior to a major operation. Why not ask for a second opinion prior to hiring a candidate?

28. FALSE. The salary offered should be in line with the going rate for the job.

29. TRUE. There are statistically validated assessment tools that you can use in pre and post employment situations that will accurately measure a person's work behaviors, attitudes and soft skills. Up to 90% job terminations can be traced back to inappropriate behaviors, attitudes and soft skills.

30. TRUE. There are statistically valid instruments that can be used in pre- employment and pre-offer situations that measure these important factors.

31. FALSE. While this is an extreme example, one company made a job offer at the time of the interview. The candidate started, and the company discovered during the post-hire background check that the person has recently been released from prison - paroled for murder. Extend a job offer only after you complete proper reference and background checks!

32. FALSE. If you make a hiring decision based on skills, experience, and education alone, you are missing the other key ingredients. Since up to 90% of job failures are due to inappropriate behaviors, attitudes, and soft-skills, adding these factors to your hiring decision gives you a comprehensive view of a candidate. Hiring managers still tend to hire for "skills and experience" alone, and terminate employment for "attitude." Why not hire for "attitude?"

33. "TRUE." Applicants want you to believe they are "prefect." Note: National Referencing Corp indicates that 30 million people have secured employment by lying on their resumes. Do your homework, and verify the facts!

Scoring Guide

0-9 "Stop! Do not pass go! Do not collect $200." Your lack of interviewing knowledge almost guarantees that you'll hire the wrong candidate. You need to learn all the basics about hiring - the philosophy behind hiring the right person - the first time, the required steps of recruitment and interviewing, conducting a successful interview, and the candidate evaluation process. Consult an expert to teach you the basics.

10-22 Your score indicates a basic understanding of the interviewing process. However, you still run the risk of making costly hiring mistakes. You should further develop your skills in all these areas: writing comprehensive job descriptions, establishing job benchmarks, developing behavioral interview questions and refining your interviewing skills, defining position/department culture, selecting validated pre-employment tests and assessments, developing a candidate scoring guide, and conducting thorough background checks.

23-28 Congratulations. You have a very good understanding of the interviewing process. You are ready to eliminate the remaining guesswork from your hiring process. This includes measuring and integrating attitudes, soft skills, behaviors, employment tests, and advanced interviewing techniques (i.e. interviewing for attitudes) to your mix. With these refinements, the quality of your hire will improve, and you will be hiring for "job fit," not hiring for skills and experience alone.

29-31 Excellent. You have an advanced knowledge of the interviewing process. You already recognize that hiring for skills/experience and education alone is not sufficient. You should have already incorporated behavioral and attitudinal interviewing into your process. You may have already integrated "employment tests" or are looking for higher quality "personality" tests. You should understand that the culture of a job, department, and company might differ. Always evaluate the "entire person." You should measure a candidate against the position benchmark that incorporates attitudes, soft skills, behaviors, experience, education, credentials, and hard skills.

32-33 Superb job! Your knowledge exceeds that of many hiring managers. You recognize that hiring/retaining the best talent is a strategic move! Your performance benchmarks need to be re-validated regularly. You already understand the impact that attitudes, soft skills, and behaviors play in an employee's success. You should have validated employment/personality tests, reliable background checks and drug screening in place. You should always incorporate specific performance measurements into your job descriptions. You are prepared to migrate from behavioral/attitudinal interviewing to a competency-based interviewing process. You should also take the next step and integrate your hiring process with employee development, retention, and succession planning.

Writtey by Will Helminger, of Your Hire Authority