Interview questions and structured interviewing
Username: Password:

Contrary Evidence Questions

Anne Sandberg

Contrary Evidence Questions (CEQ’s) are excellent probing, or follow-up questions to standard behavioral questions. Specifically,

• A CEQ can function as a probe, or follow-up question by asking for examples of behavior that is different, or opposite, from the behavior already described.

Interview Question: “Tell me about a work commitment you worked hard to meet.”

CEQ: “Now tell me about a work commitment you tried really hard to meet, but weren’t able to . . . what happened?”

• CEQ’s allow you to ask about weaknesses without ever saying the word, “weakness”, in a way that is often acceptable to the candidate.

Interview Question: “Give me an example of a day when you were faced with last-minute changes and delays. How did you deal with this situation?”

CEQ: “Now tell me about a time when, you have to admit, you found your patience severely tested by multiple delays and constant change. How did you react?”

• CEQ’s can allow you to see a more human side of the candidate and gain insight into the person’s ability to learn from experience and own up to errors in judgment.

Interview Question: “Tell me about a customer interaction you experienced recently.”

CEQ: “I think its fair to say that we are all human -- everyone occasionally makes mistakes . . . now, tell me about a time when you wish you had acted differently with a customer, and why.”

• The likelihood of eliciting quality data from a candidate using a CEQ is quite high (because it is unexpected!).


Finding Candidates

Interviewing Basics

Interviewing Best Practices

Laws & Documentation

Line Manager / Recruiting Partnership


Pre-Planning & Retention

Reading the Candidate

Recruiting Basics

Recruiting Best Practices

Useful Links