Published On: Thu, Sep 20th, 2018

Listen More During Interviews, and Talk Less!

Listen more during interviews, and Talk Less!

One of my clients was going to hire a young attorney to work for his law firm. He asked me to participate in the interview process. He told me that he had already had a phone interview with the candidate and unless something terrible happens, he was going to hire this lawyer. I agreed and went to his office the next day for the interview.

The candidate was tall, handsome and looked very professional. He was 27 years old and graduated from a Florida law school. The managing partner of the law firm had a big smile on his face when the candidate walked into the conference room. He looked at me with a confident grin that he had found the right person to hire.

During an interview, it is best to talk less and listen more.

I sat at the conference table and just listened for an hour. My client talked the whole time telling the candidate all about the law firm. Finally, he looked over at me and asked me if I had any questions to ask the young lawyer. I said that I did have a couple of questions to ask him.

My first question was “On a one to ten basis, how competitive would you say you are with one meaning that you are not competitive and ten means that you are extremely competitive? The young attorney said “About a five.” I asked him to explain his answer. He stated that he was never athletic. He studied law because his father was an attorney and his dad pushed him into the law career.

My second question was “On a one to ten basis, how important are the people that work in the law firm important to you, with one meaning not significant at all and ten meaning critical.” The candidate said “Three.” I said, “Why a three?” He said that the clients are the important people, they are the ones that pay the fees. The people in the office have very little value to him.

I asked him eight other questions about his personality in which his answers were equally as bad. I asked him why he did not want to work in his father’s law firm. He shared with me that he and his father do not get along at all. My last question was why he picked this law firm to interview. He said that my client was his cousin. I stood up at that point, shook his hand and thanked him for his time. As he was walking out of the conference room, he looked at me and said that felt that he did not do very well with this interview. I said, “You are right, you did not!”

Listen More During Interviews, and Talk Less!

My client talked to the candidate for approximately two hours and knew nothing about him. The problem was my client talked most of the time and never listened. This is a widespread problem amongst interviewers. I asked the candidate twelve generic questions about his personality, and he failed the interview. I learned that his father, whom he did not get along with, picked his profession. The candidate was not competitive. If I am hiring an attorney to work for me, I want him extremely competitive. I want him to have a personality that he refuses to lose.

My client was going to hire this candidate, and it would have been one of the worst decisions that he ever made since he started practicing law, which was his words. You cannot just go through the motions when picking a candidate to work for your company, you have to Listen More During Interviews, and Talk Less! He thanked me many times for showing him how to interview a candidate.

Robert “Bob” Curry has turned around more than 70 businesses, both large corporations, and small businesses. He comes to your place of business or the site of your choice. The first consultation, of course, is at no charge. Bob Curry has a stellar track record of professional success and excellent formal education, including Masters Degrees in Taxation.

Bob published his first book “From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround – The Matter of ABC Shutters” that is on sale at

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Bob resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife, Esther.


About the Author

- Robert S. Curry is an author, seasoned business coach, and successful turnaround specialist. Earlier in his career, he served as President and CEO of three different companies, the largest with annual sales of more than $1 billion dollars - all which experienced successful turnarounds under his management. In the late 1990s, he started his turnaround consulting firm, and for the past twenty years, he has turned around more than seventy distressed companies in many different industries helping each to establish a strong management team and become profitable. He published his first book: From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround – The Matter of ABC Shutters. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife, Esther.

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