Interviewing-101

DavidWe all become a little anxious when an employer schedules us for an interview. A little bit of anxiety can be good, but it can also be uncomfortable.

Let’s switch roles for a moment. You are employed, your Office Manager informs you that the HR Representative will be out for a period of time and he/she would like YOU to conduct an interview this week! I feel anxious just writing about it. But relax. I have a few suggestions that will help you conduct an effective interview without having to frantically search Google for help.

First of all, what is the overall purpose of an interview? According to Bernard Marr, a global enterprise performance expert, employers interview candidates in order to verify three main critical areas:

  1. Strengths – Does the candidate have the skills, expertise, and experience to perform the job?
  2. Motivation – Is the candidate enthusiastic and interested in the job and/or company?
  3. Fit – Will the candidate fit into the culture of the company?

How does an employer go about determining if the job-seeker meets the 3 basic criteria? The first step is for the hiring manager to really understand the job. What skill sets or knowledge will be needed in this role? Are certain personality traits important? Once we have a good understanding of the position, we can develop benchmarks the job seeker should meet. A set of well-developed benchmarks will help streamline the resume review process. Once candidates have been selected, we begin the interview process to help further determine which candidate best meets the basic criteria explained above.

The employer likely knows the candidate is able to perform the work described in the job description, based on the resume. Employers generally want to confirm that the resume is accurate; but will the candidate fit well in the company’s culture? Does this job seeker have the skills and personality needed to be successful? An interview allows the employer to look beyond the resume to help answer those questions.

Below is a sample of questions to ask (and be prepared for):

  • General questions – those basic, straight forward questions used to break the ice or confirm information on the job seeker’s resume.
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me how your background prepares you to do the job.
  • Situational questions – involves asking the job seeker how they would respond in a certain situation.
  • How would you respond to [insert a particular situation or problem]?
  • Describe a challenge you faced. How did you handle it?
  • Stress questions – when asked, reveal how the job seeker would react to stressful situations.
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Give examples of how you handle pressure.
  • Behavioral questions – asking a job seeker to recall past performance, since past performance is an accurate prediction of future performance.
  • Give an example of how you set goals and achieve them.
  • Give examples of how you motivate co-workers.

Since two heads are better than one, experts suggest having more than one person interview the job seeker. It is important not to compare job seekers with each other, until you have compared them against the benchmarks you have established. And do not be afraid to take notes during the interview.

This is just a start, but now we have some basic guidelines to follow in creating an effective interview process. I feel better already.

David Spears is a member of the Workforce SolutionsNavigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.



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