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Hiring Right the First Time...And Every Time

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 3/17/2010
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It is essential to build the right workforce to implement your organization’s business strategies. Doing the job of employee selection well can show bottom line benefits. A selection system which fits the right person to the right job improves productivity and reduces turnover. The selection interview is the most important step in the hiring process, with managers and supervisors playing a critical role in effective, successful, and legal interviewing.

Many people think that the ability to interview is an innate talent. Just because someone is personable and likes to talk is no guarantee that the person will be a good interviewer.

Although there are many types of interviews that can be applied in the applicant screening process, such as structured, situational, behavioral description, nondirective, and stress interviews, one of the most recommended types is the structured interview.

The structured interview uses a set of standardized questions that are asked of all applicants. Every applicant is asked the same basic job-related questions so comparisons among applicants can more easily be made. The structured interview is especially useful in the initial screening because it offers greater consistency and accuracy than some other kinds of interviews when evaluating the candidates.

Sample open-ended questions (ones that cannot be answered yes or no) that might be asked of all applicants are:

  • What skills do you think you bring to this job?
  • How were you able to demonstrate teamwork in your last position?
  • What goals did you set for yourself during your last position?
  • Why did you decide to handle the situation in that way?
  • What does service mean to you?

Here are some ground rules for employment interviews that are commonly accepted and supported by research findings:

  • Establish the objectives and scope of each interview - purpose, specific questions, job requirements.
  • Establish and maintain rapport - pleasant greeting, sincere interest, listen carefully.
  • Be an active listener - understand, comprehend, gain insight.
  • Pay attention to body language - what is being communicated nonverbally.
  • Provide information as freely and honestly as possible - answer applicant’s questions fully and frankly.
  • Use questions effectively - objective phrasing, non-leading questions.
  • Separate facts from inferences - record facts, inferences, interpretations; keep notes.
  • Recognize biases and stereotypes - don’t try to “clone” yourself or form generalized opinions about people.
  • Avoid the influence of “beautyism” - do not discriminate against unattractive persons.
  • Avoid the halo error - don’t judge an individual on the basis of one strong point (or weak point) on which you place high value.
  • Control the course of the interview - give applicant opportunity to talk, but maintain control so that interview objectives are reached.
  • Standardize the types of questions asked - ask the same questions of all applicants for a particular job.

As you can see, sound interviewing for effective hiring decisions can be challenging. Doing the job of applicant selection well can show bottom line benefits and avoid legal problems. Federal and state Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws and regulations prohibit discrimination against applicants on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, disability or national origin. And we haven’t even begun to talk about employment application forms, background investigations, negligent hiring, and medical examinations, to name a few!

To learn more about hiring right the first time, click here.

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Categories: 2010

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