Reading Between the Lines

As recruiters it is our responsibility to dig into a candidate’s qualifications to get the most detail as possible while only asking a few key questions. What is the single best interview question? Would one question work across all roles, titles, and industries?

Surprisingly, yes! It is possible to find out a lot of information about a candidate from one or two interview questions. The key is in the listening and the ‘digging in’ that subsequently takes place from reading between the lines.

For example, how about: Please think about your most significant accomplishment. Now tell me all about it.

As the candidate reflects on the request and gives their answer, listen closely because from this one question the candidate will be giving you a look into many aspects of their work style. You’ll get a look into many of their qualities and competencies, like their leadership style, tech skills, roles they’ve played, team size, aspects of the project they enjoyed and/or did not enjoy, why they were chosen for the project, conflict resolution, preparation, budget management, and much more.

This one response should give you more than enough information to dig deeper into many aspects of their experience and identify any red flags. If you do not get that level of detail, expand your search by asking the candidate to describe two or three different team accomplishments within the past five to ten years of their career. With this type of approach of digging into major accomplishments, you will be able to gather more information to make a reasoned evaluation of the candidate’s ability to deliver similar results in a similar environment. Very few candidates will offer this information without you digging in a little deeper. Capturing the various details will ensure you get the information you need.

Don’t be the recruiter that talks too much and listens too little while asking irrelevant questions. One question could be all it takes!


candidate engagement, candidate experience, Candidates, Communication, Engagement, interview questions, Job Interview, listening, Pontoon, Pontoon Solutions, Recruiting, recruiting tips, recruitment relationships, talent acquisition, talent management, Talent-Communities, Industry News, Global, Recruiting (RPO), Career Resources


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