As an empowered team member, you can expect to be involved in decisions about who to hire into the department. After all, who is better able to judge the technical skills of potential candidates than the people who do the job! But remember, it is important to find people who will fit in with other team members, so morale can remain high. So take this challenge seriously, as a bad orange can poison the whole bag! Here are some interviewing tips for you:
When the candidate enters the room, greet her with a firm handshake. Smile to relax her. Indicate your enthusiasm at having the opportunity to meet her and find out more about her.
Avoid generic questions - they tend to produce generic responses. Find out instead about specific situations involving the interviewee. Don't, for example, ask, "How would you discipline an employee?" Phrase your question as, "Tell me about an instance where you had to reprimand someone." Follow up with questions to draw out the interviewee. Find out why he reprimanded the person, what happened afterwards, and what he might have learned from the incident.
Using the application form as a guide, question the interviewee about
gaps in employment history;
references you can contact.
Get to the facts of the matter, especially when the applicant has presented a professionally prepared resume. Question the interviewee closely about achievements or qualifications that seem overinflated.
Keep your questions in logical order so you can get an in-depth perspective on important issues. If you skip from subject to subject, you will confuse the interviewee and generate irrelevant discussion.
Don't lead the candidate by giving the answer along with the question. For example, you would not want to phrase a question as "Do you think it's wrong to reprimand someone in the presence of his colleagues?"
Allow for silences. The interviewee will need time to think about questions, and to elaborate on statements already made. Encourage further comments with leading remarks. For example, if the candidate says, "I had one or two problems with my last boss," you might respond, "Problems?" in a neutral tone to elicit further information.
Describe some challenges the candidate may encounter in the job and ask for ideas on how to deal with them. Find out if she has had to deal with similar situations.
Make sure that critical issues are fully dealt with. Use "what" and "how" questions to steer the candidate back on course if he wanders. Avoid "why" questions, as they can lead to defensive reactions.
If the interviewee falls back on generalizations or jargon, ask her for specific definitions of terms.
Remember that human-rights legislation prevents you from asking about a person's
country of birth;
Watch out for the following warning signs:
signs of anxiety beyond normal nervousness, such as excessive fidgeting;
unwillingness to make eye contact (but be aware of cultural differences);
lack of satisfactory reason for employment gaps on resumé;
inappropriate remarks about previous employers or colleagues.
After you have all the information you need about the candidate, discuss the job in question, describing tasks involved and criteria for success. Let the candidate consider whether the job is a good fit.
Describe your organization and its culture, and explain your expectations about the job. Leave time for the candidate to ask questions - these questions, or the lack of them, will reveal much about his character and interest in the position.
At the close of the interview:
Explain the next steps to the candidate, including whether there will be second interviews and when decisions will be made.
Be honest with the candidate. If you know immediately that there isn't a good fit, tell her, tactfully explaining why. Don't leave her with unrealistic hopes, but be careful not to damage her self-esteem. Let her know what further skills or experience she needs to acquire, and whether you will be keeping her resumé on file.
After the interview, use a standardized form to evaluate the candidates consistently. The following categories should be considered:
skills and interests;
dress and grooming;
suitability to the job.
Not all of these categories are of equal importance, so design a weighting system to emphasize categories that are of greatest importance to you and to the job.
Once you have a short list, do a reference check. Appropriate referees include former employers, colleagues, subordinates, and customers.
Ask for proof of professional qualifications. If transcripts are not available, check claims of degrees, diplomas, or certificates with the relevant institutions or associations.
USEFUL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
What would you do if faced with a 10 percent budget cut?
What is your least favourite aspect of your present job? Why?
What is the thing you like most about your present job? Why?
Describe the best boss you ever had and what you liked about him.
Describe the worst boss you ever had. Why was she the worst?
How do you and your boss think alike? How do you differ?
Describe the most difficult thing in your present job and explain why it is difficult.
What are your long-term career goals? How will you reach them?
What was your most important achievement in your last job? How did you do it?
How do you respond to criticism?
Describe an instance where you disciplined an employee. What happened afterwards?
What was your worst moment in a job? How did you deal with it?
What is your one major weakness? How are you trying to improve?
How might your last boss describe you, in five words?
How would you like me to remember you in relation to this job?