Some job candidates and co-workers are really good at answering questions that sound good. But when you ask about how they handle a situation or about their experience, is it real?

Listen for a few cues to empty or vague answers.

For example:

• You messages: “You could do this, you could do that…”

• Talking about the topic: “I think it’s important to…” — or — “That is something I really enjoy because…”

• Trust the experts: “Research says that…” — or — “I like how Einstein defined that problem…”

OK, that all sounds nice, but what do YOU do? When are YOU going to answer the question?

People are tempted to impress you with knowledge or what they think you want to hear. It takes courage to reveal themselves and risk disagreement or rejection.

You want to hire, buy, and collaborate with people who are open about what they know AND what they do. This helps you make sound decisions and help each other become better people.

People who are open and honest about their talent is a gift that keeps on giving. Beware the pretty bow… the box may be empty.

Life is a team sport. Your team should be beautiful inside, without the bow.