Tips for managing interview candidates

Should Your Managers Interview Candidates?

Do you ever wish you could be a fly on the wall to hear the interview questions your managers ask?  Many human resource professionals live in fear of their hiring managers asking a question that could lead to a discrimination charge, or making a promise that can’t be kept.  Spending a little time to train anyone involved in the interview process can help organizations avoid many of these issues.

Questions to Avoid.  Explain topics that should be avoided and why.  While few questions are truly “illegal,” there are many questions that can elicit information the candidate could then say was used to screen them out based on factors such as race, sex, religion, national origin, etc.

Prepare for the Interview.  Help your managers learn the value of preparation.  The interview will be much more effective if they plan questions in advance, review the resume, and set aside enough time on their calendar for a meaningful discussion.  Teach them how to tailor questions around the competencies required for each job versus using generic questions like, “What are your strengths” or, “What are your weaknesses?” Give them tips on how to make the interview an appropriate setting where they can get the most information from the candidate.

Behavioral Interviewing.  Asking hypothetical questions will get you a hypothetical answer.  Train managers how to design questions that gather information about past behavior, which is truly the best predictor of future behavior.  For example, “Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult customer.  What was the situation, how did you handle it, and what was the outcome?” That will get you much more information than a hypothetical, “What would you do if you had a difficult customer?”

Managers need to be involved in the hiring process. The more you can do to prepare them to make the interviews successful, the better selection decisions they will make.

~The Employers Association

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