How recruiters listen

Many recruiters are trained in Motivational Behavioral Interviewing (MBI) – an accepted theory that past behaviors predict future performance.  In those interviews, be prepared to answer a situational question based on real Situations you experienced, your Objective and include your Actions and Results – a S.O.A.R. response.

Recruiters listen for clues – they often read between the lines to determine if you might be telling a true life account, a hypothetical case or a tall tale.

Recruiters listen for clues

Recruiters listen for clues

Recruiters listen to your word choice for indications of motivation, values and attitude

Control & Solutions-Oriented

One such example is language indicating perceived control.  Especially in difficult situations or conflict, our choice of language indicates how we deal in those common work scenarios.

Employers want someone who has faith in their abilities to find solutions.  Believing you can resolve an issue usually precedes searching for one.  One caveat: Employers don’t want someone who bullies others to gain control.

How do the recruiters identify that can-do attitude?

As you listen to these responses, listen for indicators of positive outlooks vs. negative responses which could result in blaming others and making excuses.

  • I could not do anything else.  I exhausted all possibilities.
  • Someone else in the department was responsible for that – not me.
  • I approached my manager with three possibilities and told him I would volunteer to work on it.
  • We tried it before and it didn’t work.  Based on that, I did not think it would succeed.
  • We don’t have the (data, equipment, tools, time, etc) to work on that issue.
  • I know we should correct the problem and am determined to find a way.
  • I asked some others if they could help me put together a proposal to solve the problem.

What is the difference?

Someone who is internally motivated is constantly driven to his or her best.  They are driven to see that things get better and they find ways to influence others,  gain the “tools” needed and take the time to get the job done.

Who would you want to have work for you?

Interviewing Tip:  Have three S.O.A.R. (Situation, Objective, Actions & Results) responses ready for your next interview based on favorable experiences you’ve had at work.  Being prepared ahead of time, and anticipating those type of questions, will result in you feeling more confident in the interview. 

(For other tips or to prepare for your interview by role playing,  contact me at


3 thoughts on “How recruiters listen

  1. It is not just the words you say in an interview but your mind-set. I have hired a number of people. I look for people who can solve problems and make a difference. I want a team member, a specialist in their area of work, and someone who does not bring personal drama to the office. Talk about what you have done, your positive work-style, your agreement on the company’s mission and goals, and how you can contribute to the benefit of the organization or company. Avoid at all costs cynicism, bitterness, and anger in the last position you held. I will assume if you felt that way in your prior position, you will feel that way in this position. Remember the person hiring you in under pressure because the position you are filling is presently open. Be on time and watch carefully what is happening around you. This could be the environment in which you will choose to work. Give everyone grace from the beginning because in the end the person hiring you will be the person who will support you when you make your first mistake.

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