Going to an Interview
I expect many of you will be going for an interview soon so you might be interested in the sort of advice and training that is given to Appointments Teams. Basically, once short-listing is competed the Appointments Team must prepare for the interview by constructing appropriate questions. As a rule the panel must ask every candidate the same questions, with questions shared amongst panel members, though differing answers can be followed up. Here are some general guidelines for best practice.
– brief questions of a factual nature, not requiring elaboration though such question should normally have been dealt with at candidate selection stage and asking them here implies weak selection procedures. If you must ask such questions restrict their number as it can be frustrating for the candidate as it gives them little opportunity to express themselves.
– which invite a candidate to open up to the panel and typically this type of question starts with: why, how, what, where, when who and which in order of usefulness.
– similar to open questions but in these cases you are mainly looking for information not discussion from the candidate.
– this allows the panel to delve deeper into aspects of any answers given to the agreed set of questions.
– used when you want to gather information that a candidate may not want to divulge.
– these are used to ensure that the panel has been listening and so they are a kind of check that the right information has been gained.
– are an option but it is usually best to let the candidate draw on their own real experiences or perhaps experiences they know about and so the panel may well lean more that way.
– the chair of the panel will usually deal with these and they are a signal that the interview is drawing to a close.
Things to Avoid
– it is essential that all panel members are briefed and/or trained in asking questions and listening to answers prior to the interviews taking place so that all of the following can be avoided – however, the chair must always step in when the questioning takes a wrong turning.
Leading questions (when you in effect tell the candidate what you want the answer to be)
Multiple questions – asking more than one question at a time
Questions that impinge on a candidate’s personal privacy or confidential matters
Using jargon unless it relates to a specific skill
Using ridicule or sarcasm in questions or responding to an answer
Misleading or lying in questions
Accusing the candidate of misdeeds, impure motives or lying
Engaging is fallacious reasoning