Conversational Interviewing


At Specialized Staffing, we work with clients to get the people they need to get their work done.  So it’s important for us to go beyond the Resume, Skills and Experience.  We want all assignments to end by an associate being hired in.  Now, we know that’s a standard that’s difficult to achieve.  However part of our interview process is designed to understand our associates’ wants and needs beyond just a paycheck, so we can move them into positions where they will thrive and grow. 

When you meet someone for the first time, get his or her name, and strike up a conversation. The next thing out of your mouth may be:

· What’s up?
· What do you do?
· Where are you from?

Booooring. Instead of asking the casual, basic stuff we’re all tired of answering, hit ’em up with these great conversational questions, beginning with my No.1 most favorite question. Note: Some may require you to start with more basic stuff as you build rapport and put someone at ease. And it goes without saying: Return serve by answering these yourself.

One of the tools we like to use is conversational interviewing.  It relieves the stress often associated with the interview process and allows us to peel back the layers on a candidate.  As described by speaker, leadership coach, and consultant Marrcel Schwantes:

Here are 4 questions that lead to great conversations:

1. What’s your story?

This is open-ended enough to trigger an intriguing story–a journey to a foreign country, living out of a van while touring in a rock band, getting funded for the startup of your dreams, a special talent used for improving lives, etc.

2. What was the highlight of your day (or week)?

This question puts the conversation on a positive note right off the bat, giving the other person a chance to reflect on something he or she is excited about.

3. What is one of your most defining moments in life?

This is another great question that invites the speaker to share on a deeper level, which builds momentum and rapport quicker. Obviously, a few casual questions before this one helps set the mood for hearing about a profound moment or transition in that person’s life.

4. What book or movie has influenced you the most?

A book or movie that has made an impact can lead to a more personal and inviting conversation because of the book’s life-changing effect. Asking this question will deepen your connection as you understand how the book or movie altered the person’s life in some way. It also leads to asking interesting follow-up questions.