Critical Conversations For Dummies
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Not only can the hiring process benefit from critical conversation skills, the interview questions can too! Applying critical conversation skills when interviewing a potential new employee candidate will help you zero in on the perfect team player for your organization.

Some hiring interviews seem to reuse the same questions again and again and again. The manager asks about the candidate’s experience, and then what she can bring to the job, and then her strengths and weaknesses. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

If you look at the hiring process and the questions asked from this traditional method, it may not be a surprise that organizations don’t always find the perfect employee. Luckily, with a few small adjustments, your typical interview questions will turbocharge the hiring process.

Consider adding a few critical conversation questions into the repertoire of interviewing questions. Here are some examples:

  • Tell me about a time you had to make a decision. This question asks for data and facts, not rhetoric and opinions.

  • What were the options you explored? Using the critical conversation model, find out whether the candidate looked at multiple options to solve a problem.

  • How did you decide what to do? By asking this question, you can find out whether someone used a collaborative approach to decision-making or simply decided and announced what was happening. If your organization values collaboration, this is the type of decision-making you want to hear from a candidate.

  • What did you do? Everyone wants to see results, and this question’s answer demonstrates how the candidate performed.

  • How did you evaluate progress? Just as you would do after a critical conversation, ask a job candidate how she looked back on an event and decided whether it was successful or not.

The tools most useful to critical conversations and to interviewing are expert verbal skills and nonverbal skills, like body language and active listening.

Conducting an interview that uses the critical conversation questioning technique will help you find out how a candidate may think and act in different situations — that’s preferable to hearing her repeat what’s on her resume. By using this method for interviewing, you may just find that superstar a little more quickly.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Christina Tangora Schlachter, PhD, is a Certified Professional Coach. She has created and taught courses on communication skills, crucial conversations for new managers, communication for professionals, and dealing with difficult conversations. She is the coauthor of Leading Business Change For Dummies and is the Chief Leader of She Leads.

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