Hiring for the Best:
The Value of a Well-Conducted Interview

                   Glenda Owen, PHR

                       ...
Why is Interviewing so Crucial?

Answer:
Both the organization and the
candidate have a lot to lose if an
interview leads ...
The Cost

             Salary and Training Cost
             Spent on Unsuccessful
Separation   Employee.
  Cost
         ...
Worker and Workplace
Author, Leigh Branham,
“The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave”
3. The job or workplace was not as ...
How & Why Interviews Go Wrong
• Interviews that are not based on a proper job
  analysis won’t elicit meaningful informati...
The RIGHT people are
  your greatest asset!




                         6
A Great Hire?
• Performs effectively.
• Stays beyond the average employee tenure.
• Demonstrates a commitment to your orga...
Make Better Interviews
• Make them structured.
  – Eliminates haphazard interviewing.
  – Standardization allows you to co...
Steps to the Process
• Know what you want.
   – Best hiring practice you’ll ever need! What 10
     qualities you want the...
Employment Interviews
Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection
Procedures (1978) and Principles for the
Validation and Use...
The Job Description
• Start with an accurate and up-to-date job
  description.
   – Need help in writing?
      • http://o...
Candidate Profile
• Use a formal, up-to-date job description.
• Ask supervisors, peers, and subordinates for input
  for c...
Job Analysis
• Can be done by having job profiled through profiling
  software such as WorkKeys® or JobFit®
• Can involve ...
The Worker
• Is there an expectation that the worker is a “self-
  starter”?
   – Does the individual require a lot of gui...
Candidate Profile: Capability
Capability
   – Technical Knowledge & Skills Needed
Factors to Consider:
   – Skills profici...
Candidate Profile: Commitment
Commitment
  – Personal Attitude & Motivation Needed

Factors and Attributes for success inc...
Candidate Profile: Chemistry
Chemistry
 – Key Values & Work Style Needed

They must also have the chemistry that ensures a...
Organizational Culture
• Leadership Style?
   – Formal, informal, “top down” approach, etc.
• Behavioral Style?
   – Colla...
The Interview Itself
• Which type of interview will you use to select the
  right candidate?
   – One-on-one
   – Panel
  ...
Prepare for the Interview
• Determine the order in which questions will be
  asked.
• Review candidate applications and re...
Conducting the Interview
• Set the Stage
   – Ensure that the candidate is expected and
     given a warm welcome—making t...
Characteristics of Questions
• Realistic
• To the point, brief and unambiguous
• Complex enough to allow adequate demonstr...
Types of Interview Questions


           Behavioral

           Knowledge


          Hypothetical

         Closed-ended...
Interview Questions
• Job Knowledge
   – Demonstrate specific job knowledge or
     documentation of job knowledge.
• Past...
Interview Questions
• How many will you need?
   – Rule of thumb: 15-20 per one-hour interview.
• One way—construct simple...
Asking Questions
• Seek complete answers. A complete answer
  provides the following information:
   – Background “What Oc...
Situational Question
“Suppose you were going to miss an important business
meeting due to unforeseen circumstances (illnes...
Interview Question Worksheet
             Essential Functions
Function #1:_________________________
Question 1: __________...
Controlling the Interview
Accomplished in three ways:
2. Ask follow-up questions to gain more information
   or clarify a ...
Documenting the Interview Process
• Retain questions, scores & notes taken during the
  interview.
   – Recommended to rec...
Never ignore a gut feeling, but also never
believe that it’s enough.

                                   Robert Heller
   ...
Evaluating the Candidate
• The candidate’s match with the capability,
  commitment and chemistry needed to succeed.
  Use ...
Rating Scale
The most critical element of the rating scale is not
how many levels it has, but rather how those
levels are ...
Five-level Rating Scale
 What would one expect or want an outstanding
 candidate to give as the best possible answer?
(5 p...
Example of Rating Scale:
                Executive Director
Question:
   “Describe some projects or developments that you ...
Assessing Organizational Fit
Assess a candidate’s organizational fit before
making an offer, preferable in a manner that w...
“I’m continually amazed at the number of
business people I meet who complain about
spending “so much time” selecting a new...
Train Interviewers
• Average length of training programs for
  interviewers is 1-2 days. At minimum, it should be
  2-3 ho...
Problematic Questions
First rule in Interviewing:

“Innocent questions can lead to trouble.”




                         ...
9 Legal Landmines for Interviewers
(Untrained or Maybe Even Trained)
• Problematic interview questions tend to fall into
 ...
Training Prevents Legal Problems
Steps to Take:
2. Educate all interviewers.
3. Don’t get too conversational.
4. Check app...
Training
• How to evaluate answers and use rating scales.
• How to avoid rating errors.
• The importance of note taking fo...
Effective Training
  Provide extensive training for interviewers

Effective training for panel members will increase
the v...
Questions?
Glenda Owen
Chief, Workforce Services
Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
PO Box 52003
Oklahoma City, OK 73...
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Interviewing For The Best

  1. 1. Hiring for the Best: The Value of a Well-Conducted Interview Glenda Owen, PHR 1
  2. 2. Why is Interviewing so Crucial? Answer: Both the organization and the candidate have a lot to lose if an interview leads to an improper match. 2
  3. 3. The Cost Salary and Training Cost Spent on Unsuccessful Separation Employee. Cost + (1/3 of Cost of Recruiting New Hires annual + salary of employee) Costs of Training and Inefficiency of New Employee 3
  4. 4. Worker and Workplace Author, Leigh Branham, “The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave” 3. The job or workplace was not as expected. 4. Mismatch between job and person. 5. Too little coaching and feedback given. 6. Too few growth and advancement opportunities. 7. Feeling devalued and unrecognized. 8. Stress from overwork and work-life balance. 9. Loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders. “After the fact” evidence of an unsuccessful hire 4
  5. 5. How & Why Interviews Go Wrong • Interviews that are not based on a proper job analysis won’t elicit meaningful information. • Subjection to personal bias and other sources of error. • Some candidates are very practiced at interviewing. • Interview questions may reveal too much about the job. • Interview questions may be too closed-ended. • Poor listening skills. 5
  6. 6. The RIGHT people are your greatest asset! 6
  7. 7. A Great Hire? • Performs effectively. • Stays beyond the average employee tenure. • Demonstrates a commitment to your organization and its mission. • Accepts, supports, and contributes to your business culture. Put it simply, a great hire meets ALL of your needs and expectations. 7
  8. 8. Make Better Interviews • Make them structured. – Eliminates haphazard interviewing. – Standardization allows you to compare apples to apples. – Decreases legal liability • Aids in documentation • Provides equal treatment to all candidates • Make them competency based. • Make them behaviorally focused. 8
  9. 9. Steps to the Process • Know what you want. – Best hiring practice you’ll ever need! What 10 qualities you want the top 10% to possess? • Design for consistency. – Design your interviewing process. It is a critical step that often interviewers have no or little training in doing. 9
  10. 10. Employment Interviews Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978) and Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures (1987) consider employment interviews to be a selection device just as a written test is a selection device. Knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) should be covered in the structured interview questions. The interview should have a direct link to the critical and necessary-at-entry KSAs required in the job. This establishes content validity. 10
  11. 11. The Job Description • Start with an accurate and up-to-date job description. – Need help in writing? • http://online.onetcenter.org/ – Determine essential functions necessary in performing the position. – Establish the qualifications and experience necessary for entry-level employee to perform the job. – Define the reporting structure and hours. 11
  12. 12. Candidate Profile • Use a formal, up-to-date job description. • Ask supervisors, peers, and subordinates for input for characteristics of an ideal candidate. • Customers and vendors • Assess organizational culture. – Feel of the organization? Resemble extended family, watch out for each other? Structured and controlled environment—do things by the book? Results focused or process driven? 12
  13. 13. Job Analysis • Can be done by having job profiled through profiling software such as WorkKeys® or JobFit® • Can involve meeting with subject matter experts (incumbent workers) share critical incidents they’ve witnessed that showed necessary knowledge, skill or ability that an incumbent needs for the job. • Using standardized data collection – http://www.onetcenter.org/questionnaires.html • Download in English & Spanish • Can be customized for your use. • Your incumbent workers supply data for the collection. • Provided by U.S. Department of Labor (public domain) 13
  14. 14. The Worker • Is there an expectation that the worker is a “self- starter”? – Does the individual require a lot of guidance and attention? • Does organization make continual, rapid changes and pride itself on flexibility? – Does the individual work best in calm and stable surroundings? • Is this a competitive environment with an expectation of “do whatever it takes”? – Does the individual have a young family and desires a work-life balance? 14
  15. 15. Candidate Profile: Capability Capability – Technical Knowledge & Skills Needed Factors to Consider: – Skills proficiency & level of experience – Relevancy of knowledge & subject matter expertise – Education, training, & certification – Demonstrated ability to learn, adapt & grow. Communication & Organizational Skills Bread-n-butter of hiring 15
  16. 16. Candidate Profile: Commitment Commitment – Personal Attitude & Motivation Needed Factors and Attributes for success include such as: – Initiative and self-motivation – Cooperation and teamwork – Results orientation and focus – Strong work ethic Requires little direction 16
  17. 17. Candidate Profile: Chemistry Chemistry – Key Values & Work Style Needed They must also have the chemistry that ensures a good fit with the organization—the way you manage and do business. Collaborative; team player 17
  18. 18. Organizational Culture • Leadership Style? – Formal, informal, “top down” approach, etc. • Behavioral Style? – Collaborative, competitive, non-confrontational • Operating Priorities? – Rules/policies, goals/achievements, loyalty, trust, innovation/creativity, communication, etc. • Success Criteria? – High quality, profit, efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, etc. 18
  19. 19. The Interview Itself • Which type of interview will you use to select the right candidate? – One-on-one – Panel – Observational – Situational One size doesn’t fit all! 19
  20. 20. Prepare for the Interview • Determine the order in which questions will be asked. • Review candidate applications and resumes. • Prepare the interview room. – Schedule adequate time without interruptions and private setting. – Encourage relaxed and open conversation by sitting next to or facing the candidate—without a desk or table in between you. 20
  21. 21. Conducting the Interview • Set the Stage – Ensure that the candidate is expected and given a warm welcome—making them feel important and comfortable. – Maintain eye contact and give the candidate your total attention. – Inform the candidate that notes will be taken during the interview. – Reduce the person’s stress so they will open up and give you reliable information. – Be sure and let candidate know he/she will have an opportunity to ask question near the close of the session. 21
  22. 22. Characteristics of Questions • Realistic • To the point, brief and unambiguous • Complex enough to allow adequate demonstration of the ability being rated. • Formulated at the language level of the candidate, not laced with jargon. • Tried out on job incumbents to check for clarity, precision of wording and appropriateness. • Not dependent upon skills or policy that will be learned on the job. 22
  23. 23. Types of Interview Questions Behavioral Knowledge Hypothetical Closed-ended 23
  24. 24. Interview Questions • Job Knowledge – Demonstrate specific job knowledge or documentation of job knowledge. • Past Behavior – Describe activity of past jobs that relates to the job. • Background – Focus on work experience, education and other qualifications of the candidates. • Situational – Hypothetical situations that may occur on the job and how candidates respond to situation. 24
  25. 25. Interview Questions • How many will you need? – Rule of thumb: 15-20 per one-hour interview. • One way—construct simple table identifying factors to be evaluated. Add questions for each topic area. • Develop rating scale and benchmarks for each question. – Can be simple as “acceptable” “unacceptable” – 3, 4, or 5-level point-based scale. 25
  26. 26. Asking Questions • Seek complete answers. A complete answer provides the following information: – Background “What Occurred” • Circumstances, situation, task, problem, challenge, obstacle or issue dealt with – Action “What I Did” • The specific performance or steps taken by the candidate – Outcome “What Resulted” • The impact, consequences, or results of the candidate’s actions 26
  27. 27. Situational Question “Suppose you were going to miss an important business meeting due to unforeseen circumstances (illness or family emergency). What would you do?” I would contact the person in charge of the meeting to forewarn of my absence, and I would arrange for a responsible person to attend in my place. (Superior—5 points) I would send someone in my place. (Satisfactory—3 points) Afterwards, I would try to find out what went on in the meeting. (Unsatisfactory—1 point) 27
  28. 28. Interview Question Worksheet Essential Functions Function #1:_________________________ Question 1: _________________________ Potential Follow-up Question:_________ Function #2:________________________ Question 1: ________________________ Potential Follow-up Question:________ 28
  29. 29. Controlling the Interview Accomplished in three ways: 2. Ask follow-up questions to gain more information or clarify a response. 3. Interrupt a candidate who has gotten off track and bring him back to relevant topics. 4. Interrupt candidates who have trouble getting to a point and help them come to a conclusion. 29
  30. 30. Documenting the Interview Process • Retain questions, scores & notes taken during the interview. – Recommended to record and retain: • Date/time/place/length of the interview. • Credentials and experience qualifies each panel member to serve on interview panel. • Distribution of interview scores among candidates. • Training provided to interviewers as well as their background in personnel selection process. 30
  31. 31. Never ignore a gut feeling, but also never believe that it’s enough. Robert Heller (adaptation) 31
  32. 32. Evaluating the Candidate • The candidate’s match with the capability, commitment and chemistry needed to succeed. Use same criteria for all. • Alignment of the job with the candidate’s expressed career path and goals. • Major concerns or red flags that came up in the interview and how they may impact ranking/recommendations. This is important in making final hiring decisions! • On-boarding considerations: necessary training or other supplemental steps needed to assimilate the candidate to the job and/or organization. 32
  33. 33. Rating Scale The most critical element of the rating scale is not how many levels it has, but rather how those levels are defined. Use a rating scale anchored to benchmarks (example answers, descriptions, or definitions of answers). Use Subject Matter Experts to develop the scale and benchmarks. 33
  34. 34. Five-level Rating Scale What would one expect or want an outstanding candidate to give as the best possible answer? (5 point) What is an acceptable answer that one would expect a qualified candidate to give? (3 point) What would one expect as a poor answer from a candidate who has little or no knowledge or skill on this job requirement? (1 point) 34
  35. 35. Example of Rating Scale: Executive Director Question: “Describe some projects or developments that you have been largely responsible for initiating and/or completing in your previous work experiences?” Superior Responsible for initiating AND completing several major projects or developments. Candidate describes how projects were accomplished and the results. Satisfactory Responsible for initiating or completing several major projects or developments. Unsatisfactory Worked on projects, but had no part in their initiation or responsibility for their completion. 35
  36. 36. Assessing Organizational Fit Assess a candidate’s organizational fit before making an offer, preferable in a manner that will not influence the interviewers’ ratings of the structured interview questions. This may be a second interview to assess organizational fit “hiring interview”. 36
  37. 37. “I’m continually amazed at the number of business people I meet who complain about spending “so much time” selecting a new employee, yet are often willing to spend twice that time researching a new copy machine.” Barbara “BJ” Gallagher 37
  38. 38. Train Interviewers • Average length of training programs for interviewers is 1-2 days. At minimum, it should be 2-3 hours of training. • Principles Commonly Taught: – Background and purpose of the interview. – How to write interview questions & use questions already written. – Job requirements and how questions are related to the job. – Rapport-building techniques – How to ask questions and how to probe 38
  39. 39. Problematic Questions First rule in Interviewing: “Innocent questions can lead to trouble.” 39
  40. 40. 9 Legal Landmines for Interviewers (Untrained or Maybe Even Trained) • Problematic interview questions tend to fall into nine categories: – Marital Status – Family Obligations – National Origin or race – Age – Religion – Disability – Arrest or convictions – Financial Condition – Off-duty Activities 40
  41. 41. Training Prevents Legal Problems Steps to Take: 2. Educate all interviewers. 3. Don’t get too conversational. 4. Check applicable state laws. 1. You know the federal laws but some states prohibit employment decisions based on arrest or conviction records or on applicants’ “off-duty activities”. Know what the state’s laws are governing these issues. HR Daily Advisor Newsletter October 2008 41
  42. 42. Training • How to evaluate answers and use rating scales. • How to avoid rating errors. • The importance of note taking for rating and documentation. • EEO and ADA laws and requirements. • How to weight questions and use rating or cut-off scores. – Adapted from Campion, Palmer & Campion 42
  43. 43. Effective Training Provide extensive training for interviewers Effective training for panel members will increase the validity and reliability of the interview. Following specific procedures taught in training will allow the interviewers to evaluate candidates from a common reference point. 43
  44. 44. Questions? Glenda Owen Chief, Workforce Services Oklahoma Employment Security Commission PO Box 52003 Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2003 Telephone: (405) 962-4603 Cellular: (405) 203-2727 E-mail: glenda.owen@oesc.state.ok.us 44

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