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This is not a comprehensive guide to interviewing, but is intended to get you thinking about some basic principles of good interviews.

An important element of interviewing is use of fresh, unexpected questions for which the candidate will not have prepared a response that they think you will want to hear!

Past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior.

  • incorporate the candidate's resume into the interview
  • pose scenarios: "What would you do...?" or "Tell me about a time when. . . . "
    - closed questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no provide you with little information
  • ask for examples
  • listen to what's being said and not said; pick up on that and probe for more detail.
  • ask to see their most recent performance reviews (this cannot be required but may be requested: "Are you able to show me some of your past performance reviews?")

Interviewing mistakes can interfere with an accurate forecast.
Some common mistakes are:

  • Using leading questions
  • not probing an area where the candidate is having trouble responding
  • interpreting or assuming
  • agreeing or disagreeing with the candidate's statements (instead of simply acknowledging)
  • reading the resume back to the candidate
  • interjecting your views; you are not the one being interviewed!
  • using unintentional non-verbal cues to guide the candidate - frowning, tapping your pencil, etc., that signal wrong responses
  • using inconsistent body language from one candidate to the next
    - consistency permits better comparability between candidates, such as posture, friendliness

Probing the candidates for information can keep them talking and revealing things that will help you predict better

  • probe the history of something you are unsure of, such as: "Do you remember when that happened?" "How did (your boss, your associate, etc.,) react when you decided to leave? "
  • sequence questions to get specific details. For example, if the topic is how the candidate works under deadlines, sequence your questions like this:
       "Tell me about a time when you worked under a tight deadline."
       "How did this time-crunch come about?"
       "Who was responsible for the time-crunch?"
       "How did you respond?"
       "How could it have been prevented?"
       "How did you feel about it afterwards?"
  • an encouraging, friendly "uh-huh" or "yes?" is a very effective probe - just be patient and wait for the answer. Use direct eye contact while you remain completely silent.
  • don't be afraid of silence. Most candidates will fill a silence with the first thing they can think of - which often is the very thing that they are intending to keep from you!

Statements can be used strategically

  • wrap-up statements to close one topic and move on to the next: "With our time getting short, I think we should move forward to discussing your educational background, don't you?"
    - this is especially useful if the candidate rambles!
  • mirror statements that confirm your understanding and get more detail about the candidate's statement. Paraphrase the statement and then be silent, and wait for the candidate to elaborate.