Interviewing to Get The Information You Really Need

Interviewing to Get The Information You Really Need

Interviewing for Business Managers

When you consider how much it costs to hire someone for your business today, you realize just how important the candidate interview is. But what you also need to realize is that many job applicants are more experienced with the interviewing process than are the interviewers themselves, and this means you have to work hard at constantly improving your interviewing skill.

Dos and Don'ts of Interviewing That Make a Difference

  • Do prepare thoroughly - list all your questions in advance.
  • Do limit the actual interview session to a maximum of one and a half hours.
  • Do arrange for the interview in a quiet location, allow no interruptions, and use a table rather than a desk.
  • Do keep your talking to a minimum - your role is to ask questions and listen.
  • Do not convey your personal feelings or opinions to your candidates.
  • Do take detailed notes, and include actual quotations whenever you can.
  • Do confirm the essential qualifications of a candidate prior to the interview.
  • Do develop questions to elicit information about behaviors, expectations, and work environment factors
  • Don’t use questions that can be answered by a "Yes" or "No", questions that lead the candidate to say what you want to hear, or questions that are meaningless (for example, "Why did you become an engineer?").
  • Do use open-ended questions that elicit feelings as well as facts, and which allow the candidate to structure the answer.

Try To Avoid These

  1. Drawing Inferences - arriving at conclusions not justified by the facts.
  2. First Impression - sticking to judgments made in the first few minutes.
  3. Halo Effect - allowing one characteristic or observation to unduly influence your impression.
  4. Verbal Skill - assuming that polished verbal ability means more than just that, for example sales ability or the ability to present to groups.
  5. Stereotyping - assigning some class, cultural, sex, or group stereotype to a candidate.

8895983486?profile=RESIZE_400xUsing Behaviorally-Based Interview Questions

A behaviorally-based question is one intended to help the interviewer understand how a person has actually handled a certain situation, activity, or responsibility within a fairly recent time frame. The underlying concept is that recent past behaviors are good predictors of future behaviors.

In any interview, somewhere between four and seven behaviorally-based questions are easily sufficient, and they should be directed toward the most important job activities. Some example of this question format are:

  1. Occasionally we have to deal with difficult people. What is the most difficult situation with an employee reporting to you that you have had to respond to during the past two years? Please describe the situation, why it was difficult, and the action you took.
  2. Please tell me about a situation in your most recent job which you fell best describes your ability to lead other people.
  3. Sometimes teamwork requires us to make compromises we don’t really like to make. Using an example from either your present or past position, please tell me how you responded to such a situation?
  4. Please describe for me a fairly recent situation where you have had to discipline an employee. What were the circumstances, what actions did you take to handle the situation, and what was the outcome?

The key to using questions like these knows what you are looking for. What are the appropriate behaviors and actions in each situation? It is very important to identify the desirable behaviors in advance, and experience shows that a group session can be very productive at developing both the questions and some assessment or rating of the various responses.

Interviewing in Practice

The Art of Rapport

Building rapport with your interviewee is essential. It fosters trust and encourages open sharing.

Taking Notes

Develop a system for taking detailed notes during interviews. These notes will be invaluable later.

Recording Interviews

Recording interviews can be a lifesaver. It ensures you don't miss any critical details.

Handling Difficult Interviews

Not every interview goes smoothly. Learn how to navigate difficult conversations while maintaining your professionalism.


Q: How can I prepare for an interview effectively?
A: Start by researching the subject, setting clear objectives, and crafting relevant questions.

Q: What if my interviewee is uncooperative?
A: Maintain professionalism, stay patient, and use strategies to build rapport.

Q: Are there ethical guidelines for interviewing?
A: Yes, ethical considerations are crucial. Always respect privacy and conduct interviews with integrity. For more info reference: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Q: What's the difference between structured and unstructured interviews?
A: Structured interviews have a set format, while unstructured interviews are more like conversations.

Q: How do I develop good note-taking skills during interviews?
A: Practice taking notes consistently and develop a system that works for you.

Q: What are some common body language cues to watch for during interviews?
A: Pay attention to eye contact, facial expressions, and posture for clues about the interviewee's feelings.

Interviewing 101

Interviewing to Get The Information You Really Need is both an art and a science. By mastering the fundamentals, techniques, and best practices, you can become a skilled interviewer who consistently gathers valuable insights by asking the right recruiting interview questions. So, embark on your interviewing journey with confidence, knowing that you have the knowledge and tools to excel.

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