How to Interview Someone (Part II)

II. Conducting the Interview

1. Start with a few general questions.

After introducing yourself and exchanging a few pleasantries, ask general questions geared toward verifying

information on the candidate's resume and cover letter. This helps both you and the candidate ease into the

interview before diving into deeper and more complicated questions. Make sure the candidate's answers match

what you learned in your research.

- Ask the person how many years he or she worked at the last company, and why he or she is leaving.

- Ask the candidate to describe his or her former position.

- Ask the candidate to talk about how his or her prior experience is relevant to the position in question.

2. Ask behavioral questions.

Learn more about how the candidate handles professional situations by asking him or her to provide you with

examples of times they displayed some of the skills and traits you're looking for. The answers to these types of

questions will reveal a lot about the employee's work style and abilities. In addition, behavioral questions have

been shown to elicit truthful answers from candidates, since the answers are based on concrete past


- Make your questions skill-specific. For example, say "Tell me about a time when you used creativity to come up

  with a solution to a puzzling marketing problem." If you just said, "Are you creative?" You might not end up with

  an answer that reveals the information you need.

- Behavioral questions can also tell you a lot about the candidate's personality. Asking the candidate to tell you 

  about a time when he or she was faced with an ethical dilemma, for example, could lead to some interesting


3. Put the candidate on the spot.

Some interviewers like to ask a few questions that make the candidate uncomfortable, to see how the person

handles stress. If this kind of situation is going to be encountered on the job, you might as well know now if the

candidate is going to crumble.

- "Why should we hire you?" Is a classic stressful question. Many candidates prepare for this one beforehand,

  though, so you might want to make it a bit trickier by saying something like, "I see you don't have any

  experience writing press releases. What makes you think you're the right person for a PR position?"

- Asking the candidate probing questions about why he or she is no longer with the previous company also gives

  the person the chance to either shine or buckle under a little pressure.

- Uncomfortable hypotheticals such as "What would you do if you witnessed a colleague demonstrating unethical

  behavior?" can also be useful.

4. Give the candidate a chance to ask questions.

Most people prepare a list of intelligent questions to ask the interviewer, so be prepared to give some answers of

your own. If your candidate says "I don't have any questions," that is in itself revealing; you might question how

engaged the person is with the prospect of working for your company.

- Have specific details ready to relay to the candidate. Hours, benefits, salary, specific job duties, and other

  information may come up, so make sure you have answers ready, even if the answer is "we'll discuss that later."

- If the candidate asks something like "what are my chances?" don't give an answer that will lead him or her on

  unless you're 99% sure you're going to offer the person the job.

5. Tell the candidate what the next steps will be.

Let him or her know that you'll be in touch within the next few days or weeks, whatever the case may be. Thank

the candidate for coming in for an interview, stand up, and shake hands. This will be the interviewee's cue to


*** Click Here:  How to Interview Someone (Part III)

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