While rocking my infant daughter years ago, I began instinctively doing what adults have done for centuries. I began singing lullabies to her.
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby…”
And then I stopped.
I suddenly really listened to the words that I was about to sing! I thought to myself, “What kind of fool puts an infant in a cradle at the top of a tree and watches them fall?!” Horrified, I changed the words…
“…Right into Mama’s arms.’”
Ah…much better. My daughter was raised singing Rock-A-Bye Baby with a much better alternate ending. To this day, I am not sure that she even knows the original words to that song, which suits me just fine.
In the interview process, I teach people that the best skill to have is listening for word choice. I train them to stop, really listen to the words used by the candidate, and digest their meanings as they relate to the position for which we are hiring.
When you listen to the word choices of your candidate, they will tell you what you need to hear in order to make a great hiring decision. Word choices will expose blamers, know-it-alls, pass the buckers, and more.
When the interview is through, if you feel the candidate did not give you enough information, review your notes. The words you really need to listen for are in there. As an interviewer, your primary job is to pay attention to the word choices used by your potential employees. And be careful to not just hear what you want to hear. It truly means the difference between a decent employee and an A-list player. If any “boughs break” in your business, which would you rather have waiting at the bottom of the tree?