How to uncover the truth in an interview

Below is our guide to going beyond first impressions. To best understand this topic, use the written section below alongside the video insights from our co-founders Geoff Balmer and David Landau.


You’ve found the ideal candidate, but are they really as good as they appear?

Hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake for both you and your company, so finding out if a candidate is being a little bit “creative” with some of their answers is crucial. We look at what type of questions you should ask to avoid hiring the wrong person. 

Delving deeper

Quite often Hiring Managers will hire a candidate based on a small inkling or a gut instinct. To avoid a hasty decision, the key is to listen carefully and probe further into the candidate’s examples. For instance, a candidate might elaborate on an achievement they are proud of, where they delivered a project on time and on budget. Although this may sound impressive, you should ask more questions and gather further information to assess the candidate's personal contribution to the project.

Style of questioning

The types of questions you should be asking are very direct and specific questions, which can include some of the following:

  • “What exactly did you do?”
  • “How did you feel about that decision?”
  • “What was your role in the team?”

Whilst you’re asking questions it can be useful to jot down these key points during responses and challenge the candidate further on examples they put forth:

  • “Why did you do that?”
  • "How did you feel about that?”
  • “What would you do differently?”

Another thing to look out for during an interview is generalisations. For instance, if you were to ask a candidate about their specific role in a project, and they begin to say “we” instead of “I”, this could mean they’re being overly creative with their answers. This is the point where it's important to stop them and probe into their answers a bit further.


Asking the right questions can give you a more complete understanding of the candidate’s abilities. Listen carefully to the candidate's responses during the interview; take notes, and probe into the candidate’s specific examples. Make sure you don’t finish the interview until you’re satisfied.

Once the candidate walks out the door you should have a strong idea as to whether they meet the requirements of the role or not.

Looking for more interview advice? You can take a look at our other resources for Hiring Managers here.

Useful resources:

Hear advice from the Richard Lloyd Directors, Geoff Balmer and David Landau

Key Interview Questions for an Interviewer to Ask
Low Cost, High Impact Staff Retention Tools
Avoiding Common Hiring Mistakes
How to Structure Your First Interview


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