First create a guide
form to use on all interviews, which grades each of the questions given
below. Grade it on a level of 1 to 5,
with 5 being best. You should have at
least 10 skill related questions. You
will want to make many copies to use as a guide for future interviews as well
to help stick to the same outline. Have
a comments and notes section, as well as a name and date. This can then be attached with the
application and resume. Make sure you
have a few “how and what” type of questions to verify what they claim. See how quick and correctly they answer the
question. Many times if someone does
not know the answer, they will go off track and talk about something they do
The more prepared you are, the more respect you will have
already developed if you decide to hire this person. With respect comes trust, and they will look forward to working
for you. The opposite is true if you
seem like you are just bumbling around during the interview. Also make sure you give your full attention
to the interviewee with no interruptions.
Put the applicant at ease by making some non-threatening small talk, and
not jumping right into the question/answer phase. They are going to be nervous and blow the interview if they feel
threatened or intimidated. You goal is
to find the best in this person, and watch out for the worse.
Here are 14 questions
you can ask during the live interview.
You may have already covered the basics if you did a pre-screening
interview over the phone:
- Ask about their experience. You are looking for what they did, time spent at jobs
related to the position you are trying to fill, and how well that
experience qualifies them for the job.
- Ask about their education.
Related college courses or certificates are highly valued and shows
that they are taking this career choice seriously.
- Ask about their skills.
You are looking for their top job related strengths.
- Look at the application and
review the salary range
at their previous or current employment.
This will give you an idea if they are in or out of your pay range,
and the opportunity for them to give a desired amount. They should not ask up front what the
pay is for the job. It shows
impatience. You should provide the
- Ask a couple of questions to see if there
might be some potential conflict or attitude issues down the road.
Ask, “Who was their favorite manager and why?” then ask, “who was
their least favorite manager and why?”
The second question is the trick question. You can get some valuable information from
a person who you might suspect as dubious. Listen for the negatives that could end up haunting you, if
you hired the person.
- Ask what they liked the most about their
last job. The type of answers you want,
relates to learning, growth, respect, and loyalty. If you get answers pertaining to
non-job related duties, such as making a lot of friends, or got to go home
early when it was slow, you might have more of a social butterfly who is
not focused on the true meaning of a job.
- Ask what they least liked about their
last job. If you get complaints that are related
to the day-to-day running of a business, you might have someone who
doesn’t like structure. You
want comments that are more justifiable like, "A lack of structure or
direction." You might not get a negative comment at
all, which is ok.
- Ask about the best praise or recognition
they’ve received and
what made it so good.
- Ask about their greatest strengths and
weaknesses. To help determine strengths, ask them
about their best day in the past year and what were they doing and why
they liked it so much. To help
determine weakness, the same applies for their worst day and why they
disliked it so much. This is a bit
of an uncomfortable question to answer, but it can determine the overly
confident from the sheepish person.
There might be some great value for you to learn in both the
strengths and weaknesses on how they answer this question.
- Ask what is the best way they learn and when in their career did they learn
the most and why. This can help
you determine how best to train this person if you hire them.
- Can they multitask and perform well under
pressure? Give a few different scenarios related
to the position. For example,
there is an outage that is affecting customers, and the lines are ringing
off the hook. Customers are on
hold for a long period of time even adding to their frustration, and you
still need to enter the notes from the previous call. Should you quickly take care of the
customer to get to the next call?
Should you let the customer know that you have been inundated with
calls and that you are doing the best that you can? The answers to these types of
questions can give you insight on how well they handle stress. You should also ask the interviewee
about a couple of stressful times they’ve had in previous jobs. If they answer that they have never had
any type of work related stress, then they are most likely lying or never
had that type of position.
- Are they a team player and will they fit
in? You have to think about the rest of the
team and determine if this person will benefit or hurt the team spirit and
- What makes them feel they are more
qualified than the next person? This is a hard question to
answer. They will worry if they
come off as too confident or too humble.
But you can still get some valuable insight from the answer to the
question. If they say something
like, “I’m the right person because I know the type of idiots who are out
there,” then you know you’ve got trouble.
If they come across as unsure about themselves, you’ve also got
trouble. You want someone who
feels comfortable enough to answer the question with a simple but clear
statement like, “The best way I can answer this question is to tell you
that I really love doing this type of work and will not disappoint you.” The answer might be rehearsed, but it
is still worth a try.
you have a company website with your product line, you can ask them if
they went to the website before the interview. If they did and answered some questions based on information
from the website, you know you have someone who is ready to take the
initiative to learn. If they
didn’t go to the website, it shows that they weren’t even willing to take
the time to do their homework for the job they are seeking. Unless they state that they do not have
an Internet connection or are not computer savvy, there is no reason why
they couldn’t have visited the website.
If applicable, also
have them perform a quick typing test to show speed, spelling and use of
Be sure to find out
what shifts and possible hours they can work.
Also, if they are going to be working a swing or graveyard shift, make
sure you have them on a normal shift for the first few months so they can get
all of the training and support they need.
You do not want to throw them into the deep end with little to no
Don’t be surprised
if you get questions asked from the interviewee.
Depending on the question, this is not a bad thing and it shows they
have a true interest in the company and where it is going. Be careful not to mislead, or give job
security type of comments or commitments.
Tell them that a decision will not be made until all applicants have
been interviewed. When in doubt, have
them talk to HR for all benefit, and salary type of questions. This includes how and when they will be
notified if they got the job.
If they ask questions
that show more interest in not working than working, you should be
concerned. Here are a couple of
questions that if asked, should be considered dubious:
- When can they take a vacation and for how
- Will they get paid if they take off the
day before or day after a holiday?
- Is working overtime mandatory?
- Is working on the weekends
- Can they only work the hours that are
- If it is slow, can they leave early?
- When will they be promoted?
- How long do they have to work in your
department before they can transfer to another department?
- When will they get a raise?
- How late can they be before it is
considered a tardy?
If they are asking
these types of questions now, who knows what they will be asking in the
Use your time wisely,
however, try and ask questions that give the applicant a chance to talk about
their experience and skills, rather than asking only yes or no type of
questions. You want to ask as many open
ended questions as you can. It gives
you a chance to see how well they know the subject at hand, and gives them a
chance to relax a bit.
Let them do most of
the talking during the interview. Many
managers talk too much and come across as intimidating or bragging. You can also learn a lot about someone on
how they react during uncomfortable silence.
Do not jump in and try to finish their sentence. You should also find some common interests
to break the ice, just make sure you do not cross any possible discriminatory