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Col
Employee Retention Specialist

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Overview of the interview process A hiring interview has one primary purpose: To provide both the interviewer and the job candidate with an opportunity to obtain the information they need to make the best possible decision. Since the time spent with any particular job candidate is limited, a well-organized approach will help make the most of that time, yielding more and better information.

When you are selecting someone for an important position, you may go through all three of the following stages. You will probably go through at least two of them for every job opening.

1. Telephone-screening interview. This may be done by you, a recruiting agency, your HR department, or someone else in your own department. Its purpose is to confirm that the candidate meets the qualifications stated in the ad or other recruiting material. It can be as short as necessary to accomplish that purpose. It is a good opportunity to get some initial impressions of the candidate: Does she call you back at the specified time? Does she communicate well?

2. Initial in-person interview. Try to narrow the field to four to seven candidates before holding an initial interview. This interview will probably last 30 to 60 minutes. For less demanding positions, you may find out everything you need to know about the candidate in this interview. Otherwise, you will need to see the person again.

3. Second interview. Be very selective about who has a second interview. At this point, other interviewers with a stake in the process may participate, for example, direct reports, potential peers, or other managers. This interview often brings out more of the "real" person.

Structured vs. unstructured interviews

In a structured interview, you ask all the candidates the same questions so you can compare answers. Structured interviews are used in order to be fair and objective, but they may not elicit as much information from the candidates. Unstructured interviews are individual conversations that do not necessarily cover all the same questions with every candidate. You may learn more about the candidates, but it will be more difficult to compare their responses.

Develop an interview guide

An interview guide helps you be consistent, focused, and fair in your interviews. It also helps you maintain control of the interview. You should develop one general interview guide per job opening and then create individualized copies that contain each candidate's information. During the interview, you can use the customized guide as a road map and a place to take notes.

An interview guide contains

a summary of the job requirements as outlined in your job profile,the candidate's experience and accomplishments that are relevant to he job requirements, questions to ask to determine if the candidate has the qualities you want (customized for each candidate),a list of questions you may not legally ask as reviewed with your human resources department and legal counsel.

Before you begin. . .

Before you embark upon your first interview, you will need to know what your organization has to offer candidates and know what the candidate is looking for so that you can promote your organization and the job opportunity be up to date on your organization's reputation be familiar with the candidate's résumé practice your interviewing skills through role-playing with a colleague be aware of where the candidate is in the interviewing process. Have there been previous interviews? Is there data from the screening conversation or reference checks?

Conducting the Interview

Phases of the interview There are three phases to the interview.

1. Opening. 10% of the allotted time. Your goal in this phase is to make the candidate feel comfortable enough to open up.

2. Body. 80% of the allotted time. During the body of the interview, you gather the information you will need to evaluate the candidate, and you also "sell" your organization.

3. Close. 10% of the allotted time. During this phase, answer any remaining questions the candidate may have. Thank him for coming, and explain the next steps in the process

The opening :There are several things you can do to set the right tone at the beginning of the interview. Be on time.Be friendly. Introduce yourself and tell the candidate something about yourself.

Explain the structure of the interview:

"I'm going to ask you about your experience." "I'm interested in finding out about you as an individual." "We're interested in finding out whether there is a good fit between your interests and abilities and our organizational needs."

"I will give you information about our organization." "I'll be glad to take your questions at the end of the interview."

There are several approaches you can use at this stage to establish rapport with the candidate.

Acknowledge some of the difficulties or awkwardness related to being interviewed, such as meeting a lot of new people or being tired at the end of the day. Find information on the résumé that will help you build rapport. Compliment the person on some aspect of his experience. Acknowledge that you have something in common, such as having lived in the same city, having a shared acquaintance, or sharing an outside interest. Ask about something you gather is of interest to the candidate (as shown on the résumé), even if it's not a shared interest. Be sincere in your inquiry.

The body of the interview

During the body of the interview, you are assessing the candidate's qualifications, skills, knowledge, and experience and comparing those to the job profile you have created. Pursue a direct line of questions based on the résumé. Identify similarities and patterns of behavior consistent with your ideal profile. You may also ask for samples of work, transcripts, and references to review after theinterview.

It can sometimes be difficult to get the candidate to be specific about the accomplishments listed on her résumé. Ask directly for details, and probe for tangible measures of success.

If the résumé states: Ask:

"I successfully managed development of a new line of consumer kitchenware."

"How was success measured: by revenues, time-to-market, what? Specifically, what was your role in the development effort?"

"I worked effectively with marketing and sales to increase annual unit sales by 25% over the past 12 months."

"What was the nature of your contribution? How were unit sales increased: by more effective selling or by slashing prices?"

"I initiated the redesign of key department processes."

"What processes? What do you mean by 'initiated'? Why did you decide to do this? Why was this initiative important?"

You are also assessing the candidate's personal qualities, such as leadership, problem-solving ability, communication and teamwork skills, and motivation. Use more scenario-based questions about past experiences, and ask about "what if" situations. Ask the candidate, "Tell me about a time when you. . ." Look for an understanding of the job enthusiasm realism about his or her potential position with your organization willingness to learn. The close

The close is your opportunity to wrap up the interview in the following ways.

Thank the candidate for coming in.

Explain how and when the person will hear about follow-up interviews or decisions, depending upon your company's policy and your interest in her. Ask if the candidate has questions, especially those that might affect her decision to participate in the next step of the process. If you have reached the interview's time limit, invite the person to call you later with further questions. Ask whether there is anything that has not been covered or is unclear. Promote your organization. Remember to target the features of your organization that would appeal to the candidate.Shake hands and

make eye contact. Be aware of cultural nuances. Walk the person to the door or to her next destination. Some candidates will ask questions about salary or benefits at this stage. In some organizations, the human resources department addresses these questions. However, you may need to address them yourself. Be prepared. If you don't have the information, tell the candidate you will get back to her when you do have it.

Maintain control of the interview: The key to maintaining control is to ask most of the questions and do most of the listening. You should be listening 80% of the time. Follow logical lines of inquiry and return to them if the candidate asks a question. Avoid having the candidate ask questions until the end of the interview. If the candidate gets off track in answering a question, gently steer him or her back to your topic. Listen. Focus on what the person is saying and withhold judgment.

Regularly summarize what you hear to confirm what has been said, to make transitions between topics, and to limit the comments of a wordy candidate.Encourage the candidate to talk The more you can encourage the candidate to talk, the more accurate your picture of him or her will be. You can use the following techniques.

Encourage the candidate to talk by smiling, nodding, and leaving pauses before you jump in with a comment or another question. Ask follow-up questions that lead to more elaboration and specific examples of key information about the candidate. Use the candidate's responses in your follow-up questions. Try to monitor your own reactions. Avoid reacting negatively to what the interviewee has to say-otherwise, he or she will not respond as candidly to future questions. Know your own biases and try to control their influence. Your first impression may change as the interview progresses. Some people make a great impression in the first few minutes, yet become less impressive as they talk more.

Other people are nervous or slow to warm up, and their strengths take longer to emerge. Take notes Notes help you recall significant facts about the candidate. Do take notes, but be unobtrusive about it. Tell the candidate up front that you will be taking notes. Remember that your notes will become part of the employment file. Avoid writing anything down that could be construed as inconsistent with equal opportunity employment laws. Take time between interviews to write down any additional notes or observations while they are still fresh in your mind.

Asking Questions What are some different types of questions?

There are several types of questions, and you can use them in different ways.

Open-ended questions begin with "what," "how," "why," "when," or "where." They invite long answers that encourage the candidate to do most of the talking. Example: "When were you a member of a team? Can you describe what it was like?"

Closed questions begin with "did," "would," "do," and "are." These questions can be answered "yes" or "no." They should be used sparingly because they do not encourage the candidate to talk.

Example: "Do you have any experience working on a team?" Self-appraisal questions require the candidate to give some thought to his or her interpersonal skills and abilities. They allow thecandidate, rather than you, to interpret the facts.

Example: "Why do you think you were selected to lead the task force?" Accomplishment questions provide evidence of the candidate's demonstrated behavioral qualities. They help you learn why and how something was accomplished, and they reveal a candidate's level of involvement in the accomplishment.

Example: "Tell me about a contribution you have made to a team effort."

Broad-brush questions make the candidate think about a big topic, choose an answer, and organize his or her thoughts.

Example: "Tell me about your experience as a project manager with the fiber optics group." Comparison questions reveal a candidate's analytical and reasoning abilities.

Example: "How would you compare working with the fiber optics group to working with the polymer group?"

Leading questions direct the candidate to answer what you want. They should be avoided.

Example: "Would you say you have the motivation required for this job?" What is a good question? The nterview is all about asking good questions that get your candidate to talk freely about himself. A good question: has a purpose is tied to your decision-making criteria opens communication is job-related is not "leading" is nonthreatening.

Good questions reflect favorably on you and demonstrate your interest. The candidate will sense that you took time to develop thoughtful questions. What questions can I not ask? U.S. federal, state, and local laws and regulations are clear about what questions are illegal. If you are not familiar with these laws and regulations, consult your human resources specialist or legal counsel.

Prohibited questions include the following.

· "How old are you?"

· "Are you married?"

· "What is your citizenship?"

· "What is your sexual orientation?"

· "How much do you weigh?"

· "Are you disabled?"

· "When did you graduate from high school?"

· "Do you have children?"

· "What country are you from?"

· "Where were you born?"

· "Have you ever been arrested?"

· "Would your religion prevent you from working on weekends?"

Evaluating the Candidates

The decision-making matrix A decision-making matrix can be a helpful tool for comparing the candidates to one another. To create a decision-making matrix, list your candidates along one side of a grid and list your job requirements (both background and personal characteristics) across the top.

Decide on a scoring system that you will use to rank each candidate's fit with each of the job requirements. Then, fill in the matrix using the evaluation notes you have made on the interview guides. Common assessment mistakes Even though you may take a structured, methodical approach to evaluating your candidates, the evaluation process is still, in the end, subjective. Being aware of common mistakes can help you remain as neutral as possible. Try to avoid being overly impressed with maturity or experience, or overly dismayed by youth and immaturity mistaking a quiet, reserved, or calm demeanor for lack of motivation mistaking the person's ability to play "the interview game," or his or her ability to talk easily, for intelligence or competence allowing personal biases to influence your assessment. For example, you might be tempted to judge someone harshly because she reminds you of someone you dislike looking for a friend or for a reflection of yourself in the candidate assuming that graduates of certain institutions or former employees of certain organizations are automatically better qualified giving too much weight to familiarity with the jargon of your business focusing only on one or two key strengths and overlooking the absence of other key characteristics failing to value motivation to get ahead.

Check references

Reference checks verify claims made by the candidate during the interview process and fill in information gaps. They can also provide valuable outside perspectives on the candidate and his potential fit with the position. Check references near the end of the process when you are close to making a decision. If you have not already discussed this with the candidates, be sure to obtain permission to avoid affecting someone's current employment.

Use the telephone or e-mail to check references. Don't check references via letter; you probably won't get much information. Take a little time to build rapport with the reference. Briefly describe the job that the candidate is applying for. Ask about the candidate's style, character, strengths, and weaknesses. Ask tough questions and follow up with detailed probes.

Instead of asking: Ask:

"Did Jack do a good job managing his department?" "What was Jack best at?" "What did his subordinates like best about him?" "What did they like least?"

"Are there any jobs that would be inappropriate for Jack?" "What kind of organizational environment would suit Jack best?" Beware of the legal ramifications of asking and answering inappropriate questions.

Making the Decision and Offer

Résumés, interviews, and reference checks all inform the decision-making process. At some point, you must ask yourself, "Do we have sufficient information to make a decision?" If the answer is "yes," make the hiring decision. Rank your top three candidates, make the offer to the top-ranked candidate, and be prepared to be rejected by your first choice. You may have to make more than one job offer. If the answer is "no, we have insufficient information," then ask yourself these questions.

· "What additional information do we need to make a decision?"

· "What uncertainties can we reasonably expect to reduce?"

· "Do the candidate's strengths outweigh his or her weaknesses?"

· "What can be taught on the job or developed with formal training?"

Handle the remaining uncertainties to the extent that time and cost constraints permit. You may call some candidates back for another interview, or you may get additional team members involved in the process. Then move to a decision.

Making the job offer

Be sure you understand your organization's policy on who makes the job offer. In some organizations, the immediate supervisor or manager makes the offer. In others, the human resources department makes the offer.Job offers are usually made in person or by telephone. After extending a verbal offer, you should also send a written confirmation.

Make the offer with enthusiasm.

Make the offer personal. Refer to something positive that you recall about the interview.Continue to gather information from the candidate regarding his or her concerns, timing of the decision, and other organizations he or she may be considering.

The offer letter An offer letter is an official document, so be sure to seek advice from the appropriate channels before sending one. It is important to avoid implying that the offer is an employment contract. Include important facts in the letter, such as starting date ,job title , expected responsibilities , compensation, benefits summary, time limit for accepting the offer.

[Unknown author]

Realistic Job Preview
Some companies are finding that employees are leaving during the initial 6 months because the job is not what they expected.
This can be avoided by providing a realistic job preview - something I would recommend
Col
colbrown.co.uk

Dear all ,
thanks for enlightening us with this informative interview concepts.
i am an experienced HR senior officer, and meet alot of opportunities to step up with my career to be a HR manager, so one of the interviewers ask me , what you want to know from the first interview or what you want to know about any candidate when you interview him /her. Please if any of you can advise what is these questions in the interview lead us for? Or what candidate reactions lead us to know?
thanks

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