Interviewer Tips

October 2, 2015 by Sheila Denny-Andrews
Copeland Buhl

If you are in the workforce today, it is likely that you have been involved in recruiting top talent for your organization. A critical piece of recruitment is the interview process. Ensuring your interview questions are relevant to the position you are seeking to fill is crucial. By formulating strong, position related inquiries, you will be able to weed out weaker candidates yielding you the ability to focus your resources on the most viable candidates for your position.

With that, it is important to think about questions that will yield the best results in your efforts to identify strong talent. First, you should have a current position description on file as candidates should be provided with accurate position duties in order to avoid unwanted surprises down the road in the recruitment process. As the interviewer, it is your responsibility to be professionally transparent with candidates as it relates to the duties of the position and what is needed to be successful. When thinking about position related inquiries, it is important to try and maintain question consistency when meeting with multiple candidates. If you ask the same or similar questions to candidates, you will better equip yourself with the tools necessary to gage the quality of candidate responses. As part of this process, I recommend creating an interview form or evaluation sheet which tracks candidates’ responses to your inquiries. Having a documentation tool such as this can be helpful in comparing candidates’ responses to your position related inquiries which is especially useful when interviewing multiple candidates for your position.

As I have mentioned above, tailoring your interview questions to the position requirements is very important. Conversation with one candidate may flow more smoothly than conversation with another candidate. Either way, sticking to the script is usually your best bet as there are questions that you should avoid altogether due to potential legal ramifications to you, as the employer, resulting from several laws pertaining to the interview process. In general, you should avoid any questions relating to candidates’ race, sex, color, nation of origin and religion. Additionally, you should avoid age related questions altogether including questions pertaining to when they graduated and/or when they plan to retire. Individuals with a disability are considered a protected class under the law, therefore, you are not permitted to ask a candidate whether they have a disability. It is important to note that if a candidate does have a disability, the employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation to the candidate as long as they are able to perform the duties denoted in the position description.  Lastly, you should avoid questions relating to marital status including questions relating to whether or not they plan to marry and/or whether they have children. Again, I stress the importance of keeping interview questions focused on the responsibilities of the position in order to avoid interview question mishaps.

Finally, ensuring you have carefully selected the interview questions for your position and applied them consistently across your candidate pool is critical in ensuring that you obtain the information you need to make quality hires while avoiding interview questions that could imply discriminatory intent. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me directly at 952.476.7103.

Thank you.

Rachael Myers