Quick Tips for Effective Hiring: The Interview
When interviewing job candidates, ask questions that will provide insight to how the candidate will perform in this position. Yes/No questions, or questions that can be answered with one or two words, generally provide little insight to the candidate’s potential. Yes/No questions should be limited to verifying certain credentials, dates, or other objective information. Beyond that, ask questions that engage the candidate in meaningful responses, so that he or she needs to apply thought or skill to demonstrate abilities and personally.
Qualities of effective interview questions include:
Open ended questions: For example, “What skills do you bring to this position that would set you apart from other candidates?”
“Hands on,” case-based questions or tests: These are used to evaluate actual skills or competencies in a live environment. For example, this could be a timed keyboarding test, evaluating and rewriting a contract, or calculating an accounting-based problem.
Behavioral questions: Ask the candidate to provide specific examples of how he or she responded to a situation, or how he or she would respond to a hypothetical situation. The intent is to evaluate future behaviors of the candidate based on their past experience. Examples of behavioral interview questions include:
- Some people work best as part of a group, while others prefer the role of individual contributor. How would you describe yourself? Give an example of a situation where you felt you were most effective.
- How do you go about gathering information to make a decision? Give an example.
- What kind of events cause you stress on the job? Provide an example of how you handled such an event.
- Have you ever had a problem with a co-worker? How did you handle that situation?
Before creating your list of interview questions, you should think about what characteristics you are looking for with this position, and then focus your questions around them. Using the same or similar questions for each candidate you are interviewing (for the same position) is also important for easier and more effective comparisons.
Finally, when interviewing candidates, be aware of federal, state, and local laws that govern the interview and hiring process. A manager is generally safe asking job related questions regarding skills and abilities.
Other questions that are OK to ask are:
- If the person has ever worked under a different name
- If the person has ever been convicted of a crime
- If the person is a citizen of the United States
- Education level the person has attained, including degrees and certifications
- If the person has relatives employed by the organization
- Prior employment
An employer cannot base employment decisions on personal characteristics that are not job related, such as:
- National origin