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Take-charge interviewing

What is it about interviews that makes us think we can "wing it?" Maybe it's the chemistry we feel with applicants, their impressive appearance...
October 18, 2005

by Sean Neumayer
The Omnia Group

What is it about interviews that makes us think we can "wing it?" Maybe it's the chemistry we feel with applicants, their impressive appearance or maybe it's because we just don't have the time to really prepare. To get the greatest return on your time when interviewing, you need to develop a consistent structure for your interview process.

Here is the 10 step process we suggest:

1.  Make a list of questions you ask every applicant.  Your questions should focus on each candidate's past experience, present responsibilities and odds for future success with your company.

2.  Obtain and review candidate's resume/job application before meeting with them. Make notes of issues on a separate sheet.

3.  Since past performance is a reliable predictor of future performance, taking the time to understand how each applicant developed over their career makes predicting their future with you much easier. That's why we suggest you start with the first job on the applicant's resume and ask (listening carefully and taking detailed notes):

  • I see you worked at ______, from ___ to__. Why did you choose that firm?
  • What were your responsibilities and how did they grow?
  • Who supervised you?
  • Why did you leave?

If the candidate's answer agrees with the resume, re-ask these questions until you've covered every job listed. If it does not agree, ask them to clarify the discrepancy. What you are trying to determine is that the candidate actually KNOWS what's on his/her resume. Studies indicate that 40-50% of all candidates embellish or exaggerate on their resume. A thorough resume discussion also helps you better understand the strengths, weaknesses and relevant experience each candidate brings to the job.

4.  Spend more time listening than talking.

5.  Keep questioning if you are not satisfied with an answer.  Don't be afraid to ask for clarification; take full advantage of this time to get to know the candidate.  (You can ask any question as long as it is job relevant.)

6.  After you have discussed the candidate's past performance in depth, it is time to examine future performance. This can be accomplished by asking open-ended factual and behavioral questions such as:

  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?
  • How do you like to be managed?
  • What situations motivate you?
  • Do you consider yourself successful?
  • Give me an example of a project you completed despite obstacles.

7.  Have more than one person, and if possible three people, interview the applicant so that you get more than one opinion.

8.  Have the candidate complete appropriate skills tests.
9.  Use a tool like the FREE Omnia Employee Selection Companion to correctly weigh each factor and apply the same criteria to each applicant when making your final decision.

10.  Send Omnia the completed Profiles of candidates who have "made the first cut" for analysis.

If you would like a complimentary Omnia Profile, please call Sean Neumayer at 800-525-7117 ext 242 and let him know you're a PIA member.