Interviewing: Phases, Types, Questions to Ask & Avoid
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The main purpose of interviewing is transferring information between the interviewer and the candidate in the most efficient way as the time is limited.

Different types of interview

Purpose of the first process of hiring interview, telephone-screening interview, is to confirm whether the attributes of the candidate match with the résumé or not. As it can be done by you, recruiting agency, the HR department or someone else; it is also a good opportunity to get first impressions of the candidate.

The initial in-person interview aims to obtain as much information as needed from the candidate. It is best if the number of candidates is between four to seven and the interview last in 30 to 60 minutes.

Second interview in which other members of the organization such as direct reports, potential peers or managers may participate, is to bring out the “real” person of the candidate. You must be very selective about who rates a second interview.

Structured versus Unstructured Interviews

While the structured interviews are used to compare different candidates’ responses with each other and to be more equitable, it may not be sufficient to discover candidates’ attributes and may be less informative than expected interview.

Unstructured interviews elicit more information of the productive areas as they follow lines of inquiry. The best way may be finding a balance between two so that maximum information can be gained and a good comparison between the candidates can be possible.

Be Prepared

Hiring a wrong person can be extremely costly in money and time and a good preparation by reviewing the job requirements, responsibilities and tasks of the position, the personal attributes required for the job, suitability of education and experiences of the candidate is extremely important. You need to formulate a list of question for each area and follow the three phases of the interview.

  • The Opening consists of 10 percent of the allotted time and the purpose is to make the candidate in comfort so that she/he can open up easily to share information with you. You can create this by being on time, being friendly, introducing yourself and talking to the candidate about yourself. Use information from the résumé to find a something in common between the candidate and yourself or to make a joke to dispel the tension.

    Here is important not to make big assumptions about the applicant, as it can be fallacious.

  • The Body is the lengthiest part that takes approximately 80 percent of the allotted time and most of the information is gathered and controlled if the candidate’s qualifications, skills, knowledge, experience are matched with the job description or not.

    Direct line of questioning should be followed based on the résumé, and samples of work and references should be asked to review, as samples such as sales brochure, product and customer survey can be very practical to see candidate’s capabilities.

    Scenario-based questions to evaluate candidate’s qualities must be directed to the candidate. These questions, which are focused on how the candidate approaches a possible problem or handles a situation, is very crucial to determine the level of candidate’s leadership, problem-solving ability, motivation, communication and teamwork skills. You can also ask how they reacted to similar situations from the candidate’s experiences.

    You need to keep the control in your hands by following correct, effective and logical line of questions and let the candidate do the most of the talking. Make the candidate to do the 80 percent of the talking and be sure to take notes on important matters without being obtrusive. Let the candidate know that you are taking notes for the easiness of the interview and remember that the notes will be part of the employment file so it should not violate the employment laws.

  • The Close comprises the last 10 percent of the time to sum the interview up. Candidate is informed about when she/he will hear about the decision, asked if she/he has any questions and if there is anything that is ambiguous or not mentioned. The organization is promoted to the candidate to make the job more appealing and finally the candidate is shown out. As soon as the candidate leaves, notes or observations must be written down while they are still fresh.

Asking Questions

There are good questions, bad questions and irrelevant questions:

Job related questions encouraging the communication with purpose and tied to your decision-making criteria are good questions. These questions can be asked to let the candidate think about her/his skills and abilities by interpreting the facts, to know about the accomplishments that are evidence for their qualities and how they are performed or how the candidate was involved, to make the candidate think about a big topic, to bring the analytical and reasoning abilities into the open.

Bad questions include leading questions that directs the candidate to give the desired answers or irrelevant questions that has nothing to do with the job itself.

Questions to Avoid

Some questions for some positions in the organization are illegal to ask by laws and regulations. These questions are irrelevant to applicant’s ability to perform the job and are usually about candidate’s race, gender, sexual orientation and marital status, national origin, ethnicity, religion. It is better to consult a human resources specialist or a legal counsel if you are not aware of these law and regulations in your country or region.

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