Define technical skills and performance skills required to successfully perform job functions
Review essential job functions (as identified in the job description)
Define criteria to be used for final selection
Be aware of legal implications
Always ask “Is this information really needed to judge an applicant’s competence for the job in questions?”
Remember to use a mix of technical and non-technical (emotional intelligence) questions
Design questions so that you gather measurable information (relative to the essential functions of the job) when possible.
Determine what will differentiate a good response from an average response. List them for each question!
Three rules of thumb
Ask only for information that will be used to make a hiring decision
Know how you will use the information to make the hiring decision
Remember, it is difficult to defend the practice of seeking information that is not used
Describe a time when someone asked you for assistance with a matter that was outside the parameters of your job description, what did you do?
Tell me about a time when your deadlines and priorities changed frequently and rapidly. How did you handle it? What were the outcomes?
Tell me about a time when you were a part of a great team. What was your part in making the team successful?
Tell me about a time during your previous employment when you suggested a better way to perform a process? What were the outcomes?
Tell me about a personal or career goal that you have accomplished and why that was important to you.
What strengths did you rely on in your last position to make you successful in your work?
Tell me about a project or challenge you were faced with that failed or was completed late or over budget. Describe the situation? What did you learn? What would you do differently next time when faced with a similar situation?
Describe your decision-making process.
Give me an example of a time when you had to go "above and beyond the call of duty" in order to get a job done.
Describe a time when you felt it was necessary to modify or change your actions in order to respond to the needs of another person.
Creative Thinking Questions
What's the best book you've read in the past year? Please take a minute and tell me what you liked about it.
What was the most creative thing you did in your last job?
How do you define “success”?
Describe an ideal work environment or “the perfect job.”
In what way(s) do you express your personality in the workplace?
Tell me about a problem/obstacle you faced in a previous job and how you used your creative skills to overcome it.
Functional Area Questions
Describe some recent projects you were involved in to improve Accounting’s efficiency/effectiveness. What did you do?
Describe for me a time when you have come across questionable accounting practices. How did you handle the situation?
Have you completed month end/year end closing? How much experience do you have with this?
Describe your most challenging encounter with month end/year end closing. How did you resolve the problem?
Describe your PL (profit/loss) experience.
What type of inventory audits have you been involved in? Describe challenges you've faced.
What experience have you had with tax accounting?
What do you like about being in Customer Service? What do you find is the most difficult part of being in Customer Service?
Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to give great service to a customer.
Describe a process or system that you improved so customers would be better served.
Tell me about a time when you asked for feedback on your customer service skills from your manager or co-worker and then used that response to improve your work.
Tell me about a time when you knew that your customer might not get what he or she needed on time. How did you handle this?
Tell me about a time when you had to say “No” to a customer because it was against company policy.
Tell me about a time when you had trouble working with a difficult or demanding customer. How did you handle this?
Tell me about a situation in which you “lost it” or did not do your best with a customer. What did you do about this?
How would you react if the following should occur: a person suddenly collapses on the floor? After a few minutes, a large crowd gathers around with loud voices, making demands.
If you had to read illegible handwriting, what would you do?
You have found patient belongings in the main hospital corridor. Describe how you would take care of the situation.
What would you say or do if upon entering a patient’s room the patient screamed, “Get out of my room”?
What would you do if a patient had used his/her call light, but upon entering the room, the curtain was drawn around the bed?
What would you do if you encountered a patient’s family member alone and crying in the hallway?
How would you react if upon entering a patient’s room, you were told that the family was upset over the care the patient was receiving?
How will your work performance enhance (name of company/organization) in the healthcare arena as it is today?
In your experience, what are the essential elements of an IT disaster recovery plan?
Describe the types of network security features you have implemented or maintained in the past.
When you have several users experiencing computer problems, how do you determine which users get help first?
Describe your decision-making process when selecting which IT certifications to pursue. Of your certifications, which one(s) have you found most helpful when you encounter technical problems on the job?
In your opinion, how does managing a staff of technical workers differ from managing other kinds of workers?
What brands of hardware do you feel most comfortable dealing with?
What software have you had the most success supporting?
What characteristics do you feel are necessary for success as a technical support worker?
Describe a past situation in which you provided excellent customer service to a user.
Could you share with us a recent accomplishment of which you are most proud?
What would you have liked to do more of in your last position? What held you back?
What are your qualifications in your area of expertise, i.e., what skills do you have that make you the best candidate for this position? Include any special training you have had (on-the-job, college, continuing education, seminars, reading, etc.) and related work experience.
What skill set do you bring that is really key to being successful in this position?
Tell me about your present or last job. Why did you choose it? Why did you/do you want to leave?
Tell me about the best job you ever had. Why was it the best?
Tell me about the worst job you ever had. Why was it the worst?
What was your primary contribution/achievement in your last job? What was your biggest challenge in achieving it?
In what areas would you like to develop further? What are your plans to do that?
What are some positive aspects of your last employment/employer? What are some negative aspects?
Emotional Intelligence Questions
What would your last boss say about you?
Describe how you like to be managed, and the best relationship you've had with a previous boss.
If I asked your previous/current co-workers about you what would they say
Describe what you see as your strengths related to this job/position. Describe what you see as your weaknesses related to this job/position.
What kind of people do you find most difficult to work with? For example, assume you are in a situation where you have to deal with a person very different from yourself and you are finding it difficult. What would you do?
Describe a difficult time you have had dealing with an employee, customer, or co-worker. Why was it difficult? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
What do you do when others resist or reject your ideas or actions?
What do you think are the best and worst aspects of working in a team environment?
What really motivates you?
If I asked several of your co-workers about your greatest strength as a team member, what would they tell me?
How would the last group of people you supervised describe your leadership values?
Why do you think some teams are more successful than others?
Tell us about your management style - people, teamwork, direction?
Describe your ideal supervisor.
What was the most challenging personnel issue you've had to deal with and how did you handle it?
A new policy is to be implemented organization-wide. You do not agree with this new policy. How do you discuss this policy with your staff?
Explain, step by step, how you have handled an employee who had performance problems.
Management requires both good writing and verbal skills for good communication. When it comes to giving information to employees that can be done either way, do you prefer to write a memo OR talk to the employee?
Managers need good information and managers need to make good decisions. Do you tend to gather information up to a deadline in order to make a better-informed decision OR gather just enough information to make a good decision quickly?
Are you best at dealing with details and day-to-day operations OR with concepts, envisioning and future planning? Give me an example.
Preparing for the Interview
Review the job description and specific needs and/or preferences
Determine what your objectives are (e.g. what you want to learn, share, etc.)
Make sure you have completed the list of questions you will ask each candidate
Write down and organize the questions in the order you will be asking them
Be prepared to capture candidate responses to your questions
Review the candidates application/resume
Make sure you can answer general questions about the company, department, position, etc.
Conducting the Interview
Encourage open discussion
Put the candidate at ease (so that he/she will be more comfortable sharing information with you)
Greet the candidate in a friendly, courteous manner
Use a private setting for the interview (with no interruptions)
Break the ice using a non-threatening question (e.g. the weather, sports, etc.)
Describe the interview process (and how the interview will be conducted)
Describe the organization, the dept. (and its goals), and the job. Use this time to really sell the position!
Avoid questions relating directly or indirectly to age, race, color, national origin, religion, or disabilities
If a candidate “freezes” on a particular question, go on to the next question and come back to it later
Don’t ask leading questions
Ask only job-related questions
Ask probing questions when you want to get a fuller explanation
Listen actively. Let the candidate speak without being interrupted (the candidate should be speaking about 80% of the time during the interview)
Observe the candidate while they are speaking (body language, facial expressions, etc.)
Give the candidate the opportunity to ask questions
Concluding the Interview
Ask if the candidate has any final questions
Thank him/her for their interest
Inform the candidate what will happen next (remember to leave them with clear, realistic expectations)