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During the 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 do you stop an applicant from giving run-on, rambling answers that don't answer the question?

Many applicants give rambling answers because they don't have a clue as to the level of detail you are looking for.  A second reason may be that your questions are not focused on gaining information about a single skill but on a constellation of skills.  A third possibility is that you are not asking behavior-based questions that require the candidate to describe in detail a single work experience.  Finally, you need to tactfully interrupt a rambling candidate in order to maintain control of the interview.  You might say something like, "That's interesting, but let's get back to the main point," or "You seem to be confused about what I'm asking. Let me clarify..."

How can I tell if a applicant is lying in the job interview?

There is a tried and true way to determine if an applicant is lying.   Ask the applicant to describe a work experience they have had that is related to a specific job related skill you are attempting to evaluate.  As the candidate responds, probe for detailed information.  Be sure to take notes as the candidate responds.  Then say, "Who can I talk to in order to verify the information you have just given me?"  Be sure to contact this person as part of your reference checking process.

We have  high turnover due to high level of "nasty" customers we have to handle.  What type of questions would be good in determining what candidates are good at handling these people?

Before you begin to deal with the issue of "questions," you should ask yourself (and anyone who has in-depth knowledge of this position) -- "What personal characteristics (we call these Work Habits) are required of the jobholder in order to be successful?"

Your list might look something like this:

  • Tolerant

  • Slow to Anger

  • Tactful

  • Empathic

  • Caring

  • Friendly

  • Confident

With the Work Habits identified, you now can develop a series of open-ended questions that will enable you to evaluate the match between a candidate's qualifications and the requirements of the job.  Here are a few sample questions:

  1. Tell me about a time a customer was rude or obnoxious on the telephone.

  2. Describe a situation where you were close to losing your temper with an unhappy customer.

  3. Now tell me about a time when a customer "pushed you over-the-edge" and you lost your temper.

  4. Describe a situation where you where you found it necessary to refuse an unreasonable customer request.

  5. Tell me about a time when you where successful in dealing with a very "nasty" customer.

  6. Describe a situation where you went out of your way to accommodate a demanding customer.

  7. Tell me about a time when you were able to become a friend to a customer who needed to feel that you cared about their problem.

Get the idea?  Remember, these questions will get you information about a candidate's Work Habits, but not much information about their Technical Skills.  You'll need to develop a list of these skills and create some questions that focus on the technical requirements of the job in order to build a more complete interview.

What non-verbal signs do you look for while interviewing?

I'm not too concerned about nonverbal signs unless I see a definite conflict between what a person is saying and what their body language is telling me.  If I see a large contrast, it's a signal for me to get more detail about the experience the candidate is describing to me.  I also might ask the candidate for a reference in order for me to verify the facts I am being presented with.  I do pay attention to body posture, tone of voice, and verbal pace. I like to mirror my candidates posture, tone, and pace in order to more effectively communicate with her/him.

You recommend in your book (High Impact Hiring) informing the candidate they can look at the notes after the interview.  I was wondering if you could just give me a few pointers on what notes to take?

All you need to include in your notes are description of the experiences that the candidate describes to you. I just list enough information in order to recall the experience when it comes time to evaluate the candidate's skills.  For each example the candidate gives me, I like to know who was involved, where the event took place, when it took place, and what led up to this situation. I also want to know what steps the candidate took and what actions other's took in order to clearly understand the candidate's role. Finally, I ask about the outcome.

It's not necessary to include descriptions of the candidate's actions during the interview. That's not very helpful in evaluating their skills. Also, don't record evaluation or judgments in your notes. The time to judge comes after the interview is over. 

One final point. Be sure to let the candidate know you will be taking notes so that you can remember the important details that the candidate shares with you during the interview.


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