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How to Interview

Create interviews quickly and easily with questions matched to the key requirements for the job.  Choose from over 600 interview questions listed under 48 skills and abilities.  Also included are over 400 interview questions for 34 supervisory skills and abilities.  The 1,000+ interview questions include over 300 behavioral questions.  Use the Interviewer's Question Bank  

Hire the right person.  Del Still, author of High Impact Hiring provides the answers to a smart hire.  Use his exclusive 7 step process to hire right, sample forms and 175 sample questions to ask

How would I create questions to evaluate interpersonal skills?

This depends on what work habits you include in your definition of interpersonal skills.  Do you mean: teamwork; motivation; leadership; problem solving; empathy; adaptability; verbal communication; etc.?  It would take about 10 pages of type to respond to your question without more information.  There are 35 of these work habits included in the appendix of "High Impact Hiring."  Please get a copy of the book and look at the list of work habits there.  Then select 10 or 12 questions from the 175 samples included in the book. 

What type of questions will tell me if a person is detail-oriented?

Try these questions: 

Have the jobs you held in the past required little attention, moderate attention, or a great deal of attention to detail?  Give me an example of a situation that illustrates this requirement.

Do prefer to work with the "big picture" or the "details" of a situation?  Give me an example of an experience that illustrates your preference.

Tell me about a situation where attention to detail was either important or unimportant in accomplishing an assigned task. 

Describe a situation where you had the option to leave the details to others or you could take care of them yourself.

Tell me about a difficult experience you had in working with details.

What type of questions will tell me if a person is self motivated?

Here are just a few examples: "Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to complete an assignment?" "Give me an example of a time when a project really excited you?" "Describe a time when you were unmotivated to get a job done?" "Tell me about a time when you did more than was expected of you." "Tell me about a time when you were given an assignment that was distasteful or unpleasant." Get the idea?

What's your opinion of having an applicant go through a timed writing/problem-solving exercise and asking questions based on the written product?

I have no problem with this approach as long as you can demonstrate that the exercise is job-related and you're clear about what knowledge or information you are looking for.  If you plan to make this a part of your interview, be sure to administer this exercise to ALL candidates.  I also encourage you to get work samples from a job candidate anytime you can.  In addition, there are a number of standardized tests that you can include as part of your interview process.

I was just hired as a supervisor and will be interviewing soon.  How can I come up with the right questions to ask?

You can start by reviewing (or writing) the job description.  Identify the key duties and responsibilities.  Then decide what skills are needed to perform these key duties and responsibilities.  Finally, draft some open ended interview questions that will make it necessary for the candidate to explain how they have actually applied these skills in the past.

How many questions should I ask in an interview?

Twelve to 20 experience based questions is about all you can ask in an interview that lasts from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.  However the number of questions you ask is based on the number of distinct skills that you are looking for.  For each interviewer on your team, you should prepare at least two questions per skill that the interviewer is responsible for assessing.  For example, if my team was made up of three interviewers and we were all gathering data about the same six skills,  I would need to develop 36 questions (3 interviewers x 6 skills x 2 questions/skill).

Also, Don't give any two interviewers the same questions to ask.  The idea is to get as much data from a candidate as you can without giving the candidate and opportunity to rehearse.  If more than one interviewer asks the same question, you can see how this might compromise the quality of the data you get.

What is the value, if any, of questions like; "If you were an animal in the zoo, what animal would you be?

Zero value.  These questions only satisfy an interviewer's need for ego gratification.   The biggest problem with a question like this is that it has no "face validity."  The candidate has no idea how to answer such a question and these questions smack of amateur psychology.  My advice: stick to open-ended questions that require a candidate to describe specific job related events that reflect on their skills.

I am currently conducting a seminar on interviewing/recruiting.  I need some examples of probing thoughtfully and any other suggestions on that topic.

I'm assuming by "probing thoughtfully," you are asking about techniques to get more detailed information about a candidate's response to an interview question.  The process I recommend requires that you first ask the candidate to describe a specific job related experience (we call this a "behavior based question").  Here's an example: "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a disagreeable person."   In order to get complete information you'll need to ask the candidate to tell you such details as: who was involved, where did the event take place, when did it take place, what led up to this situation, what actions were taken by all parties, what was the final outcome.

The environment I work in is constantly changing (policy, leadership, etc.).  I'm trying to find a question that would help determine a candidate's tolerance of change.  Can you help?

Try some of these questions.

"Tell me about a time when you experienced a sudden or dramatic change in your workplace that had a significant impact on you."

"Summarize your experience working in a rapidly changing environment."

"Describe a situation you faced where it was difficult to cope with a change that was thrust upon you."


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