Beware Candidates in Interviews Who Say “Always” And “Never”

Posted February 15, 2021 by emonics

If "always" and "never" are said a lot by the job candidate you are interviewing, it could be an indication that you are talking to a poor performer.

We then graded all the answers according to potentially good and potentially poor hires, and eventually, to see how high and low performer responses ranged, we conducted a textual review. Basically, to evaluate the syntax, content, word types, etc. of all the responses, we used software. We have found from our results that low performers use absolutes, such as "always" and "never," 100% more than high performers.
Though an ethereal quality and an attitude that is difficult to quantify might seem, you can still identify it through a candidate's language. If recruiters and recruitment executives know how to listen well, poor attitudes are seen very quickly in job interviews.
In life, there are not too many things that are "always" or "never" a great deal of everything. This is what high performers know. Plus, the best applicants have to benefit from all sorts of high-performance experience that they can't wait to share with you. So, if you're asking a high performer, for instance, could you tell me about a time when you were facing a difficult job challenge? It really doesn't encourage them to say, Oh well, it never/always happened to me.
Poor listening skills
Candidates who ask repeated questions unknowingly, respond with responses that are irrelevant to the questions posed, or seem lost during discussions may not have a real interest in the position or know how to display respect for the time of others.
Here are some answers from low-performers:
"I've never had this experience, really. I always had good reviews at all times, but never something that was difficult to hear.
"My last boss provided me with feedback, but because it was so vague, it was impossible to learn anything from it."
"Oh, I accept all feedback with a positive attitude at all times."
"I will never respond in a negative way unless the criticism is baseless and not constructive. Healthy feedback is all feedback. You will never be able to gauge how the work you do affects consumers without input, positive or negative.
Note how specificity and complexity are missing in those responses, not to mention self-awareness and critical self-reflection. Insecurity, a desire to show off, black-and-white thought, or a lack of analytical versatility may lead to the use of absolutes. Although high-performers may provide facts, low-performers are more likely to sprinkle absolutes with their language to try to sound like a high-performer.
Does this imply that any person who says in an interview "always" or "never" is an automatic low-performer? It doesn't, of course. When it comes to evaluating attitude, textual analysis is a gold mine, but it's just one aspect of the Recruiting for Attitude process. The most successful hiring managers understand the signs that an applicant can fake attitude and then try to get to the truth more deeply.
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Tags interview , Interview Tips , interviewer , recruitment , Hiring
Last Updated February 15, 2021