How to Conduct a Job Interview
The post-interview process should consist, at a minimum, of the five following elements:
- Record Your Observations - Immediately after each interview, take time to summarize the observations made during the course of the interview. How well
did the candidate compare with your concept of the ideal person
for the job? In what specific ways did he or she fail to measure
up? What were your overall impressions of the candidate? How
would you rate the candidate against each of the critical job
Note your observations right away, so you can assess each candidate more objectively against the requirements of the job and not subjectively against the preceding or succeeding candidates.
- Narrow the Field - After you have interviewed all the scheduled candidates and before you make your final hiring decision, narrow the field to those you would consider hiring for the position. Don't center all consideration around one person and exclude all others from contention, because if your first choice turns down the position, you may have trouble remembering the merits of the other candidates.
- Check References - Begin with your first choice and check
the references the candidate provided. References from former
employers may be helpful in finding out about the candidate's
work habits and personal characteristics. Note, however, that
many employers today are hesitant to share too much information
about a former employee. In fact, some employers will provide
no information other than verification that the candidate previously
worked for them.
Inform the candidate beforehand that you will be checking references. Ask for at least two professional references and, if necessary, secure his or her written consent. This may make it easier for former employers and school officials to release information. Unless this is the candidate's first job, you should do a reference check with at least one recent former employer. Check this reference first.
Be prepared to ask probing questions about the candidate. However, if the employer tells you that the candidate has had some work-related problems, do not automatically exclude the candidate from your list of possible hires. Many good employees have occasional job difficulties that are not completely of their own making which resolve themselves once the employees are able to change job environments. Nonetheless, be concerned about a candidate who has experienced one employment problem after another.
Following are some general questions you might ask, depending on the information you are seeking on an individual's past employment:
- How long have you known the candidate? In what relationship/capacity?
- What was the candidate's position? To whom did he or she report?
- What were the candidate's responsibilities? Scope?
- How did the candidate get along with superiors, peers and subordinates?
- Describe the candidate's attitudes and other personality factors.
- What were some of the candidate's outstanding accomplishments?
- How effective was the candidate in terms of quantity and quality of work?
- How creative was the candidate? How much initiative did he or she display? Motivation level? Resourcefulness?
- Describe the candidate's leadership ability and responsibility levels.
- What were the candidate's strengths? Aptitudes? Weaknesses?
- How well does the candidate express him or herself orally? In writing?
- Did the candidate meet deadlines?
- What was the candidate's salary? Did he or she receive any bonuses?
- Why did the candidate leave?
- Would you rehire the candidate? (This is probably one of the most important questions to ask, if it is answered honestly.)
- Do you feel that the candidate can work effectively as a (title of job)?
- Make The Hiring Decision - Review all the information you have obtained on the candidates. Consider the following factors in arriving at your final decision:
Carefully assess each reference. Be aware of employers who speak too favorably or use faint praise to avoid giving a negative response about a candidate. Conflicting references will have to be evaluated in terms of their relative recency, objectivity and credibility with respect to the work situation.
- Ability to do the work.
- Interest in doing the job.
- Potential for growth.
- Ability to adjust to the job environment.
After careful thought, make the decision to hire or not to hire. A valid selection occurs when the "merit and fitness" of the candidate are the primary determining factors in the decision. Inform the Personnel Officer of your choice.
- Full particulars on the position including title, grade, pay, location of employment, its nature and duration, starting date, where to report and any necessary information about living and working conditions.
- Instructions for submitting any documents desired before reporting to work such as proof of veteran's status, college transcripts, licenses or other forms.
- Any conditions the selected candidate will be required to fulfill after reporting to work such as a probationary period or further investigations.
If a candidate declines the job offer, the Personnel Officer or the interviewer should secure a written declination from a candidate who refuses an offer of employment. See the next section for guidance in preparing this document.
After all candidates have been notified, the interview process is concluded.