Thursday, November 22, 2012


Before I begin, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  Now, to continue with our discussion of Employment Interviews, our next topic will be interview preparation.  Because there is so much information for this topic, I have broken this Interview topic into a few parts.  We already covered the Basic Interview Stages.  Later we will touch on Legal Issues.  As always, please feel free to “like” or comment about your own experiences at the bottom.


So you found the perfect resume, the screening interview went well, and you have the perfect candidate.  Interview time! ...  Whoa, hold your horses for a second.  Stop and think.  Are you prepared for your interview?  Is it even scheduled?  You had better back up a moment and make sure that you have everything in order first.


It is important to allocate enough time for your interviews.  You do not want to rush; short-changing the candidate and your organization.  When thinking about the scheduling process, consider all aspects surrounding the meeting.  Consider that people are more sluggish on the days after holidays.  I am not saying that you should not schedule an interview on this date, but keep this in mind when determining how many interviews to schedule, as they may take a little longer and the candidates may seem less focused.  You will want to allow adequate time between interviews to organize paperwork, reflect on notes, and set-up additional appointments.  For non-exempt employees, expect the total face-to-face interview to take up to 45 minutes per candidate.  For managers and exempt employees, expect it to take up to an hour and a half.


Resumes (and sometimes portfolios and cover letters) can provide a lot of information for an interviewer.  It is suggested that you look over the resume a few minutes before meeting with the candidate.  This will act as a reminder of what specific skills and experience they may be discussing in the interview.  As I am sure you are aware, the paperwork surrounding a candidate’s interview is usually more than just their resume.  You may want to have applications, background checks, job description print-outs, a copy of the company policies and salary surveys easily accessible if you need it.  It might be a good idea to fit the information in a binder and bring it with you to the interview.


You will need to prepare your questions in advance.  During the interview, you should expect to use about 70% open-ended questions and about 30% closed-ended questions.  Keeping that in mind, prepare your list of questions around the job description.  You will want to elicit responses that reveal if a candidate has the necessary skill set for the position.

Here are a few good examples of open ended questions:
> Can you tell me about a time when you had to manage a group of people?
> Could you walk me through a typical day at your current employer?
> If a coworker asked you to assist them with a project, even though you might have to stay late or over the weekend, how would you respond?
> Can you give me an example of something you were tossed into where you had to pick up something quickly, without training if necessary?
> Please tell me about a time when you had to produce something on a deadline; and how you adjusted your schedule to deal with competing priorities
> Can you give me examples of your past experiences dealing with a difficult coworker and how you handled the situation?

Remember when preparing your questions, be sure to remember to keep the questions legal.  We will discuss the legality issues on my next post on interviews.

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