The way you word your questions determines the kinds of answers you get. The answers you get determine whether the decisions you make are based on good information or poor information.
Here’s a standard behavioral-interviewing, customer service question: “Give me an example of a time you had to deal with a difficult customer.” Phrased this way, you will get a story about how they handled the issue and made the customer happy.
You’ll get more and better information if you put it this way: “Give me an example of a time you had to deal with an upset customer and were not able to satisfy them.”
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Keep in mind that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes and the ability to admit or talk about mistakes is a sign of maturity.
This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.