Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It is time now to discuss Employment Interviews.  These are the interviews that are most common; we have almost all experienced them multiple times over our lives.  Because there is so much information for this topic, I will be breaking this Interview topic into a few parts.  This Part will cover Basic Interview Stages.  Later parts will include Employment Interview Preparation and Legal Issues.  As always, please feel free to comment about your own experiences at the bottom.


Your typical job interview is going to pass through a number of stages.  To be able to take a candidate through these stages successfully and to get the necessary information you will need to be able to make an employment decision can be tricky.  You want to make sure the candidate feels comfortable enough opening up to you, but you do not want them to feel so comfortable that they take over the interview.  Following this basic interview structure will help you to maintain control.

These are the 5 stages of an interview:

·         Rapport-Building
·         Introduction
·         Core
·         Confirmation
·         Closing

This is a brief, but very important part of the interview.  During this part of the interview, a candidate will be brought into the interviewing office or area.  You want to ask a few non-work related questions to help put the candidate at ease.  Questions you would ask at this icebreaking phase of the interview are, “How was your ride in?” “What was the traffic like?” “Weather sure is nice today.”  These seemingly innocuous questions could make or break the effectiveness of the entire rest of the interview.  Your goal is to take some of the tension off the candidate so they will feel more comfortable answering the rest of your questions.  If you forget to go through the Rapport-Building stage, your candidates may seem more edgy and nervous throughout the interview.

This is second stage in an interview.  During this stage, the interviewer will tell the candidate a little about themselves and the company.  You will want to keep this brief, as a good candidate will have done their research and should already know about the company.  You want to provide the interviewee with a bit of a softball question first continue helping them get comfortable and providing you with a springboard to enter the Core stage of the interview.  An example of a good question would be, “Tell me about what got you interested in this field” or “How did you find out about our company?”  The idea is to keep these questions low stress.

The vast bulk of your interview will take place during this stage.  More stressful questions can be implemented here to find necessary information.  About 70% of your questions should be open ended.  These should be questions that were prepared in advance.  The point of these questions is to determine job suitability.  You want to determine if the candidate has certain skills and qualities, check prior work experience, see whether their style of working is compatible with your organizations, and determine if there are any reasons they should not be hired. 
While asking questions, remember to consider whether you are asking safe questions.  It falls on the Employer to prove that there was nothing asked that could be perceived as discriminatory.  Be mindful that if an interviewee volunteers irrelevant personal information, do not write it down, as it could be used against the company in litigation.

A good place to end the Core Stage is to ask the candidate if they have any questions.  Be prepared to provide additional information about the company and the position during this part of the interview.  A good candidate will want to confirm that the company is a good match for them as well.  Be sure to answer as clearly as possible.  If a candidate has questions about salary, vacation, benefits, education reimbursement, job posting, flex-time, be sure to give the candidate the information that may help with the decision-making process.  Be sure not to lead the candidate on... you do not want to give the impression that a candidate will be offered a position if a final decision has not been made.

Towards the end of the interview, you will want to check facts and verify statements.    The goal of this stage in the interview is to clarify any questions you have about the candidate and to ensure that the candidate has not contradicted themselves.  You should ask a few closed-ended questions to confirm some facts on the resume match what the candidate is telling you.

This is your last opportunity to ask the candidate a question.  If there is something important that was skipped or missed, you should circle back and revisit those areas.  Otherwise, you should provide the candidate with the next steps in the interview process.  You can let the interviewee know it there will be any additional interviews or documentation that will be needed.  While being non-committal, let the candidate know when a decision might be made about the position.  

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