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Hiring the Best: Applicant Interviewing Techniques

Since 1947 John E. Reid and Associates has been conducting pre-employment interviews of applicants applying for positions of public trust. In this one-day training course we will share with you interviewing techniques and strategies that will significantly enhance your ability to identify high-risk applicants before they become problem employees.


  1. Recognize when an applicant is withholding relevant information.
  2. Identify when a candidate has falsified information on the application.
  3. Develop admissions of wrongdoing when the candidate initially tried to conceal such information.
  4. Assess the overall integrity and trustworthiness of the candidate.



  • The Value of an Application Versus a Resume
  • Elements of an Application
  • Analysis of an Application - Recognizing "Red Flags"


  • Interviewer Characteristics
  • The Arrangement of the Interview Room and Furniture
  • The Type of Statements that Discourage Applicant Openness and Honesty
  • The Opening Statement
  • The Transition Statement


  • Preliminary Considerations
  • Behavioral Attitudes
  • Verbal Behavioral Symptoms
  • Nonverbal Behavior Symptoms
  • The Areas of Inquiry


  • Question Types
  • Rules for Effective Question Design Using Follow-Up and Clarification Questions to Develop Complete and Honest Answers


  • Employment History
  • Attendance
  • Disciplinary Actions
  • Falsification of the Application
  • Involvement in Criminal Behavior
  • Use of Illegal Drugs and Narcotics
  • Theft from Past Employers
  • Use of Excessive Physical Force
  • Paying or Receiving of Bribes
  • Starting of Illegal Fires

All of the topical information is supplemented by the use of videotapes of real life candidate interviews. Each participant at the program will receive a 100 page training manual and a certificate of completion.


The following example of two interviewers questioning the same applicant illustrates the value of proper question phraseology:

"Some interviewers develop much more information from an applicant simply by the way they phrase their questions."


Interviewer: "I see from your application that for the last several years you worked for the ABC Company. Is that correct?"

Applicant (Jim Smith): "Yes, that's right."

Interviewer: "I see that you left that job because they wanted you to relocate. Can you tell me a little bit about that?"

Applicant: "Well, they had asked several employees to relocate to a new store that they opened up about 75 miles away on the north side of town."

Interviewer: "And that was too much of a commute for you to make every day?"

Applicant: "Yes, that's right."


Interviewer: "Jim, as I mentioned earlier, I'd like to discuss your employment history with you. Obviously we have both your resume and application, but I always like to discuss a person's work history with them because people can always say more during an interview than they can on an application. Okay?"

Applicant (Jim Smith): "Sure, that would be fine."

Interviewer: "Are you working anywhere at the present time?"

Applicant: "No."

Interviewer: "What was your most recent job?"

Applicant: "I worked for the ABC Company as an assistant manager at their Main Street location."

Interviewer: "Why did you leave that job?"

Applicant: "Well, I got into an argument with my boss and one thing led to another and it was basically a mutual thing but he asked me to leave."

Interviewer: "Did he say why he wanted you to leave?"

Applicant: "Not really. I mean he said that some of the employees wanted to work at another store location because of the way that I treated them, but, I don't know. I just know he said he had too many complaints about me from some of the staff."

Interviewer: "Did he say what kind of complaints he was receiving?"

Applicant: "Not exactly. Well, I guess some of them were about the fact that I yelled at them in front of customers about their screw-ups. But my job was to make sure everyone did what I wanted them to do, and if they couldn't do it then I let them know about it in no uncertain terms."

The above illustrates one of the most important strategies to employ in the interview of a potential new employee - do not feed back to the applicant the information that they provided on their application. Instead, interview the applicant as though you know nothing about them and let them provide the information. You will be amazed at what you will learn.

The Hiring the Best course is only presented in-house or as a co-sponsored training program. We will provide the course materials and certificates. As the course host, your only obligation is to provide a meeting room that is suitable for the training and the audiovisual equipment. This program can be customized to meet your particular needs.

If you are interested in discussing the feasibility of bringing this training program to your location, just contact Jule Rock at 855-479-3959.