Article : Interviewing Fundamentals
Kathy Dean, a partner in Banks and Dean assists contact centers in developing and instituting effective recruiting, selection and retention strategies. The most effective process is one where there is integration of all of the steps and tracking to performance of those hired against the established hiring criteria. One of the very important steps includes the candidate interview and Kathy shares some of her insights on the fundamentals of effective interviews.
A job interview, managed correctly, is a structured, focused, and legal conversation that provides the interviewer with the necessary information to evaluate whether or not the candidate has the ability and motivation to successfully perform in the job, as well as how the candidate will "fit" with the organization.
Interview "Dos" and "Don'ts"
DO maintain a conversational, two way flow throughout the interview. Use the candidate's name, maintaining eye contact and nodding or smiling in response to the candidate's answers in order to provide encouragement.
DO employ active listening skills. Listen to what the candidate says, as well as to how he or she says it.
DO use "follow up" questioning techniques, to gather in depth information.
DO give the interviewee your undivided attention during the interview. It's easy for an interviewer to "fade" in and out during an interview, especially if there is more than one interviewer or if several interviews have already been conducted. Interviewers often fall into the trap of assuming that they know what the candidate's response will be to a particular question and so don't bother listening. Other interviewers allow themselves to be distracted by other things and try to rush the interview.
DO take notes. Record the interviewee's responses, as well as your own evaluation of those responses. If you're interviewing a number of candidates, note taking will be your only means of ensuring that you remember all the relevant information. Documentation is also essential in the event that a hiring decision is challenged.
DON'T feel that your primary job as the interviewer is to communicate information to the applicant. You're there to listen. Remember the "80/20" rule, the interviewer should talk for 20% of the time, the interviewee for 80%.
DON'T answer your own questions! This is a common interviewer mistake. Give the candidate an opportunity to answer the question as you have posed it.
"Today, I'd like to talk about your background and experience so I can see whether your skills are suited to the requirements of the job. I'll be asking specific questions about things you've accomplished in the past, to help identify your skills and abilities as they match these requirements. At the end, you'll have an opportunity to ask any questions you have about the job, the department or the organization."
Anticipate from the Candidate
"What's the salary range (benefits package, vacation) for this position?"
"How did this job come to exist? Is it a replacement?" [If it is a replacement] "If so, why did the previous incumbent leave?" [and possibly] "What skills did the previous incumbent have (not have), which you think I might have (not have?)'
"Are there any requirements of the job that you think I may be deficient in?"
"Is there any area of my qualifications as they pertain to the job that I haven't covered?"
"Am I still a candidate for the job?" "What are my chances?"
"Where do we go from here?" "When will I hear from you?"
Behavioural based interviewing is an approach to interviews based on the basic concept that the best predictor of future behaviour (performance) is past behaviour (performance) in similar situations.
The more recent the behaviour described, the greater its predictive ability and the more frequent or regular the behaviour, the greater its predictive power.
Behavioural-based interviews focus on specific events in a candidate's past which relate to how the candidate is likely to perform on the job in the future.
Asking questions about past behaviours help to determine required competencies and attributes. Decisions based on a behavioural based interviewing strategy have been found to be far more valid than those based on the traditional interviewing techniques.
Behavioural-based interviews can take longer than the more traditional style. Consequently, careful preparation and note taking are very important.
The broad nature of behavior based questions makes it likely that the interviewer will have to clarify the candidate's responses in order to allow then to be scored accurately. Follow up questions or probes are used to guide the candidate's descriptions of situations or events until sufficient information is obtained to permit scoring. Remember, probing should not give away the content of the ideal response.
In general when you ask a candidate the lead question, they need to:
Use some of the following probing questions to solicit necessary responses:
It is very important to be thorough in the interview process and to be consistent in recording candidate's performance during the interview process. Effective interviewing is an important part of selection and the results should be tied to an integrated process that starts with screening, should use some form of assessment of a candidate, effective interviewing, and a measurement of candidate "Fit" to the position.
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Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2004
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