At one point or another, every professional in the world has been a job seeker. When you were crafting your resume, you were understandably motivated to make your work history sound as expansive, impressive, and relevant as possible. But now that you’re in the position of evaluating job seekers, how do you cut through the exaggerations and obfuscations to get an honest portrait of a candidate’s professional past? Start by asking the following questions in the interview:

“Tell me about your most recent position.”

Start by asking them to describe it, but then dive deeper to learn about specific responsibilities, actual successes and failures, the reasons the candidate left, and how the experience colored his expectations for his next job.

“Describe a time when you went above and beyond.”

Your goal is not to find qualified talent; it’s to find the best talent available. When a candidate simply does what’s asked of him, it’s appreciated, but hardly impressive. Try to get a sense of whether the candidate has a history of taking on new responsibilities and bigger projects, and whether his professional character pushes him to always be doing more.

“Talk about a conflict you had at work and how it was resolved.”

The tough times are the ones that reveal a candidate’s true self. If someone has a history of buckling under pressure, fueling office conflicts, or falling short of expectations, they will be a liability to your organization. Use this question to get a better sense of the candidate’s soft skills, his ability to resolve conflicts with maturity, and his willingness to be honest and self-reflective about his work history.

“Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?”

A candidate’s future also reveals something about his past. If the stated goals don’t seem compatible with the candidate’s career trajectory thus far, it suggests they have unrealistic expectations and have avoided the hard work it takes to advance.

“Can you explain this gap in your employment?”

If a candidate’s work history includes a lengthy gap, address it head on. These gaps are not necessarily bad things, especially if the candidate was pursuing a degree, but they can also raise red flags. If this person struggled to find work for a year or more, why were other recruiters so hesitant to hire him?

In addition to asking the right questions, check references, scour social media, and cross-reference all information to get the most complete look at a candidate’s work history. Start connecting with candidates who have a verified record of success by working through MedPartners.