Read more articles by Richard Alaniz.
For a employee selection process to be effective, it must consistently identify the candidates with the skills and attributes that are critical for the job at issue. Asking the right questions in a job interview can go a long way in achieving this goal. Following, are seven areas where a company can easily help improve the outcome of their interview process:
- Ask consistent questions of each candidate. Ask each candidate the same basic questions derived from the analysis of the skills, knowledge, and ability needed in the job.
- Use simple rating scales. The more complicated the rating scale, the more likely it is be unreliable. Consider rating answers to each interview question on a scale of 1 – 3 or 1 – 5. Be clear in how the rating scale is supposed to apply.
- Know the purpose of each question. Each question should have a purpose and be tied to a specific job skill or attribute of the job. If it is difficult to articulate why a question is included, or what a good response to that question would be, don’t use the question.
- Ensure all interviewers are trained. It is extremely important that all interviewers know the criteria and attributes being looked for. Provide each interviewer with proper interview training, and provide each interviewer with clear guidelines for scoring answers. Instruct candidates to break down subjective ratings into objective components (e.g., don’t write “would make a good ________”; instead, write “has experience doing _________”).
- Use panel interviews. Having multiple people interview a potential employee at once provides a number of benefits. Using panel interviews provides multiple perspectives to the candidate’s answers to specific questions. In addition, it forces individual interviewers to defend the logic of their questions and conclusions. Finally, it discourages inappropriate questions from being asked. All interviewers should score the candidates answers to each question prior to discussing the candidates among themselves.
- Pay close attention to the candidate. Effective interviewing requires concentration and good listening skills. Instruct interviewers to encourage the candidate to speak by being attentive and maintaining concentration. This also helps make sure that interviewers do not miss relevant answers.
- Avoid math errors. This may seem common-sense, but make sure that the math is done correctly when tallying up the scores. Checking computations twice can help avoid errors.
Finding good employees is the most important step in retaining employees and reducing costly turnover. Although smaller employers may not have the resources available to perform a professional validation of their hiring process, there are a number of steps employers can take to improve their hiring and thus limit turnover and liability—at the same time. By reviewing their hiring process and following the tips laid out, employers will place themselves in a better position to identify, acquire, and retain quality employees.
About Richard Alaniz
Richard D. Alaniz is senior partner at Alaniz and Schraeder, a national labor and employment firm based in Houston. He has been at the forefront of labor and employment law for over thirty years, including stints with the US Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. Rick is a prolific writer on labor and employment law and conducts frequent seminars to client companies and trade associations across the country.