10 Rules to Conducting Employment Interviews
There are many reference books on the subject of recruitment interviewing techniques. Many employers wonder what questions to ask, what answers are good or bad or how to evaluate the applicant’s reactions. Some “performance-base” employment interviews focus on the right criteria – past performance and attitudes. As a matter of facts, it is a well-known concept that past performance will often dictate future ones. But many recruiters make a fatal mistake: they trigger social responses and do not “force” applicants to be natural and to reveal themselves.
Our No-Fail Hiring™ System goes one vital step further than just asking questions about past performance and behavior. It challenges applicants, provokes them and “forces” them to reveal their true nature.
We have a Golden Rule: only through unexpected circumstances will most people reveal their true hard and, most importantly, soft skills.
It is all about reactions. What is more important than the answer to the question asked? It’s the reaction to the question! Always observe an applicant’s immediate reaction to your question or challenge during employment interviews. Doing so will tell you more than just the answer. Someone may give you a perfect answer to a question, while perfectly lying. You can’t really detect a chronic, constant personality in an answer – because the applicant may know the perfect answer to the question.
Example. You ask: “What were you doing between [period] and [period]? – knowing that the applicant’s job application contains holes in his job history. The applicant gives you a logical answer. But he stumbles in his explanation and takes a while to get the answer. You then challenge him to provide a name for reference check purposes. He starts to get nervous and loses his temper, showing his real personality — and his intention to hide something.
RULES ON CONDUCTING A REACTIONAL JOB INTERVIEW.
In order to minimize subjectivity and maximize certainty in your evaluation, make sure that you follow these simple but extremely important rules:
1. Standard interview format. Create an interview report form which includes all job-related questions to be asked, challenges or simulations to be presented, along with a standard evaluation and rating sys- tem. Applicants must be interviewed using the same rating system, no matter who is conducting the interview.
2. Preparedness. Ensure that you have all standard pre-screening and interview documents ready in the applicant’s folder. Never start an interview without them. Each applicant should read the job description prior to the interview.
3. Control. You must control the interview. This means that you should focus on asking questions, presenting challenges and getting the answers; this is the way to get to know applicants. Make them talk and (re)act.
4. Job-related questions only. Always ask the same job-related questions to applicants. If you ask a non-standard question, write it down and explain why you asked it. Remember, standard procedure is your best legal protection. You must be able to prove and document the job- relatedness for each question asked. See examples in the next pages.
5. Job-related challenges and simulations. Make sure you always use the same job-related challenge or simulation scenario for all pre-selected applicants. Questions are not enough; challenge applicant’s answers in case of doubt or if you’re not convinced. See examples in the next pages.
6. Observe and listen. You can’t learn about an applicant if you do all the talking. Put your attention on observing how the applicant reacts to your questions and challenges. Do not guide his/her answers or help with an answer.
7. Ideal answers. You must know the ideal answer to each of your questions and scenarios. We advise that you write down such ideal answers prior to an interview, as part of your hiring procedure. Doing so will minimize the subjectivity (and legal liability) related to your evaluation.
8. Apply discipline to your interview schedule. Even if an applicant seems extremely qualified, make sure to clearly separate the first and the second interviews. Stick to your standard first interview format as much as possible.
9. Interview report. Use a standard report form with uniform evaluation and measurement criteria. Do not deviate from that report for- mat. Take job-related notes of applicants’ answers AND reactions to your questions or challenges. Do not invite trouble by writing personal notes on applications and report forms which could be viewed as discriminatory in a legal action.
10. Train on the procedure. Ensure every person involved in the hiring process is trained and drilled on the whole hiring procedure and interview technique. A good way to practice is to have one person conduct the actual interview while another takes notes and fills out the interview report form. But it starts with training. And it offers additional legal protection.
To your success,
Patrick V. Valtin,
Best Selling Author of “No Fail Hiring 2.0”