Comprehensive Questioning - the Road to Interview Mastery

Interviewing is an art form.

By leveraging the right interviewing tactics, you can determine who the best of the best applicants really are and who should be put on hold.

Naturally, in the world of recruiting, few things are as important as understanding the dynamics of an ideal interview. So why do so many recruiters fail to dig deeper into this area of their occupation?

It could suffice to say that the vast majority of recruiters truly are unaware of the impact that their own interviewing style and approach can have on the very candidates they are screening. A little insight can go quite a long way here.


Word Choice

It is a known fact that word choice is of the essence if you are trying to make others feel comfortable in your presence.

Comfort matters in any interview setting because it begets honesty, clarity and overall sincerity. The words you choose create impressions – both positive and negative. Stay on the positive side and inspire a sense of comfort in applicants whom you are interviewing through proper word choices.

Here are a few great substitutions for you to try:

  • Good => Desirable
  • Talented => Gifted
  • Hard-working => Passionate
  • Interesting => Fascinating
  • Impressive => Outstanding
  • Pleased => Delighted

There are plenty more of these to look into, but the effects of substituting just the above will be immediate. For example, being told that one’s resume was impressive just doesn’t have the same zing as being told “Your resume is outstanding.”



Your tone is as important as your words in any face-to-face interactions you engage in. An obvious example of this concept would be using one’s outside voice in an indoor interviewing environment.

Not a good idea.

Tone conveys intention in ways that are difficult to quantify. Even the smaller fluctuations in the tone of your voice can drastically change the way you are perceived by your interviewee.

It has been suggested that sound is processed much faster than light in the human brain and the total time it takes to process sound is close to 70 milliseconds or so. People can and will notice changes in the tone of your voice, so take care not to scare them with it.

In other words, it pays to speak calmly and clearly throughout your interactions with candidates.



You probably already make a point of not flailing aggressively during your one-on-one interviewing sessions, but there is also a finer side to gesturing that you should keep in mind.

Basically, it is best to avoid any movements that can be taken as hostile or unwelcoming. Applicants are already on edge when they show up to meet you, so it helps to assuage their fears quickly with open, peaceful gestures.

A short list of no-no’s:

  • Pointing – Don’t point at anything; especially not at them.
  • Smirking/Scowling – Yes, facial gestures count too!
  • Stomping – Save the Fee Fi Fo Fum routine for Halloween.
  • Arm Crossing – This means you are defensive. Are you defending yourself from applicants?
  • Eye Contact – Fine, this isn’t a gesture, but it is important! Look people in the eye when you first meet.

As with word substitution, it would serve you well to look further into the nuances of body language if you hope to connect positively with more of the candidates whom you interview.


Recruiting is all about delivering results to employers, but it is also about helping job seekers find and obtain positions that suit them.

If you hope to please both parties (job seekers and employers alike), then a keen interviewing spidey-sense is one of the most powerful assets you can build.


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