A proven technique of an integrity interview is the use of “open-ended” and “follow-up” questions. A key to using this technique is for the interviewer not to have any information beforehand about the applicant.
Let us say the interviewer starts with questions about a person’s job history. Since the interviewer does not have a resume or application, every question is “open-ended,” meaning the subject of the interview supplies all of the information and no part of the answer is suggested by the question. This is the opposite of a “leading” question where the question itself suggests an answer.
For example, if an interviewer says, “I see you left Acme Industries due to a lay-off.” That is a leading question. It suggests the answer allowing the applicant to merely expand on that theme. An example of an open-ended question is “How long was your employment with Acme?” or “why did that employment end?”
It is critical to ask follow-up questions when the answers do not make sense. If an applicant says something that seems illogical, the interviewer should not hesitate to ask the applicant to review the answer. Sometimes it helps to ask the question from a different angle. For example, ask the applicant to describe in detail the events leading up to or after the event. If the applicant is making something up, that may readily be demonstrated. If an applicant gives a non-answer or an answer that is just too fast and too pat, then a follow-up question would be helpful. For example, if an applicant said, “We already covered that,” and the interviewer does not recall, simply say, “I must have missed it. Can we review that again?”
There are entire courses and seminars conducted on how to interview. As a practical matter, company managers and HR professionals are not expected to give every applicant the thud degree. However, interviewers should be trained so they are not to be so glued to the questioning process that they do not pay attention to how the answers are given.