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Legal and Effective Interviewing

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Audrey Dowell

on 7 June 2011

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Transcript of Legal and Effective Interviewing

Legal and Effective Interviewing CBI Rehabilitation Services, Inc. Know What You’re Looking For Instead of listing skills or competencies, write down the top five performance objectives of the position. Ask yourself:
What tasks does the person need to do to be successful in the position?
What is the biggest problem the person has to solve?
What is the biggest change or improvement the person needs to make?
What is the primary skill the person needs to have and how will she or he use it?
What do the top performers in the job do differently than the average or below-average performers? Decide what depth of experience you need. Give yourself a range, but be prepared to consider promising candidates from outside the range. Personality traits are often the difference between a candidate who can do a job and a candidate who will do it. It is critical to know what 3 to 5 personality traits are most important to the success of the position you are trying to fill. ALWAYS require a job application in addition to a resume. Resumes contain only positive information. Applications can be compared to resumes prior to an interview in order to gauge the truthfulness of an applicant's resume. Applications also display why applicants left their previous jobs. An application could have a clause such as, “I authorize the use of any information in the application to verify my statements, and except as indicated above, I authorize past employers, references, and other persons to answer all questions concerning my ability, character, reputation, and previous education or employment record. I release all such persons from any liability or damages on account of having furnished such information. I consent to such investigations as the company may make regarding driving records, law enforcement records, credit reports and my general background. I further understand that all applicable portions of this application must be completed or I will be ineligible for consideration for the position for which I am applying.” Don't Substitute Resumes
For Applications POP QUIZ Which of the following questions could get you in trouble if you asked the candidate?

A. Please list your available work hours.
B. What is your educational background?
C. Are you cleared to work in the United States?
D. What languages do you speak?
E. None of the above. ANSWER A. It is much better to list available work hours on an application and then ask the applicant if they can do this. Asking a person to list his or her work hours could interfere with religious choice, and denying a person of that right could be viewed as religious discrimination. Insight Don't assume "passive" candidates are better than active job hunters just because they have a job. The passive candidate might be a slug or a marginal employee who hasn't (yet) been fired. Avoid These Topics Location of Birthplace or Nationality
Country of Origin
Marital Status
Sexual Orientation
Race or Color Religion
Physical or Mental Disabilities
Heart or Medical History
Pregnancy Plans
Ages and Number of Children
Childcare Arrangements
Date and Type of Military Discharge Ask And You Might Be Sued How many days were you sick last year?
How much alcohol do you drink each week?
Do you have AIDS? Asthma? Are you diabetic?
Are you currently taking any prescription medications?
Have you ever been treated for an inability to handle stress?
Do you have a disability that would prevent you from performing the essential functions of a job with or without accommodation?
How did you become disabled?
Have you ever filed for Worker's Comp?
Have you ever been treated for alcohol problems?
Have you ever been treated for mental health problems? ADA-Approved Questions Please describe how you would perform these job-related functions.
Do you illegally use drugs? Have you used them in the past 2 years?
Do you have a cold?
How did you break your leg?
Can you meet the attendance requirement of the job?
How many days did you take leave last year?
Can you perform the functions of this job, with or without reasonable accommodation? Interviewing Disabled Applicants Questions cannot be asked about:
The nature of the disability
The severity of the disability
The condition causing the disability
Whether or not the person will need treatment or special leave because of a disability

What can be asked:
Whether the person knows of any reason that he or she cannot perform the essential functions of the job. Avoiding Loose Cannons A job candidate may be a potential hazard to your company if he or she seems to have any of the following characteristics:

is easily frustrated
is often disappointed or dissatisfied
willingly violates employer confidences
badmouths his present or former employer
harbors resentment or ill-will towards organizations or people with whom he/she has worked
is unduly suspicious
perceived him or herself as a victim
has an overly inflated view of him or herself Avoiding the Halo Effect Interviewers tend to hire people whom they like. Don't get caught by the "Halo" effect, judging the person by his or her first impression. When you begin to feel unhesitatingly positive toward a candidate, take a step back and ask for contrary information. For example, if all your interview questions have focused on situations that turned out well, ask a few questions that focus on things that didn't turn out too well. Another way to diminish the halo effect is to utilize multiple interviewers to gain additional perspectives on each candidate. HEADS UP Something suspicious about you candidate? Require at least two interviews and have two separate people ask the same interview questions. This might help catch inconsistencies or falsehoods in the candidate's stories.

Avoid words like "probationary, permanent, security, career, long-term, and guaranteed" in your job offer. They can easily be interpreted as a verbal employment contract. ERROR 1: Hiring people who are competent, but not motivated.

This is attributed to hiring people based on their resumes and how well they present themselves during an interview. When you hire on skills and presentation, you hire lots of people who are motivated to get the job, but not to do the work. Not surprisingly, their motivation stops the day they get hired. Instead, you need to determine what types of work motivated people to excel on the job. ERROR 2: Hiring people who are partially competent.

This is due to the fact that managers globalize strengths and weaknesses. If someone is smart or creative or insightful, we never check to see if they are good at managing, good at executing, good at designing, or good at dealing with pressures. Intuitive interviewers incorrectly assume that strength in one area correlates with strength in everything. INSIGHT Over 80 percent of employment terminations are a result of behavior, attitude, and value mismatches. However, the only patterns most managers assess are work experience patterns. Behavioral Interviewing Behavioral interview questions focus on knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics that are job-related. Past actions are only reliable predictors when they are examples of predominant actions. Hence, it is important to get at least two examples of past actions related to each behavioral competency. Examples of actions that are exceptions from normal, everyday actions can be deceiving. Hiring decisions based on infrequent actions increases the chances of a bad hire. Behavioral interviewing asks the candidate about a specific example of something they have done, not what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Examining the candidate's past behavior not only helps you assess whether or not the candidate CAN do the job, but also WILL she or he do it. Evaluate Ability First: Can They Do It? Start with questions that are easy both to ask and answer-it helps the interviewee relax and helps you to hit your stride. Here are some basic questions that you can ask to evaluate ability:

What were the three most important responsibilities at your previous job?
What special skills or knowledge did you need to perform these duties?
What achievement are you most proud of?
What was the most important project that you worked on at that job?
What have you learned from the jobs you've held?
In what way has your job prepared you to take on greater responsibility? Evaluate Stick-To-It-Iveness:
Are They Willing To Do It? Potential questions to ask:

Tell me about a project that excited you.
What do you do to keep your energy up?
How would you define a productive work environment?
Describe a project that required a high amount of energy over an extended time period. Can They Be Managed? Potential questions to ask:

Define a good manager.
How did you get the best out of your boss?
How did she or he get the best out of you?
Would you like to have the job your boss has?
Tell me about an occasion when your work or an idea was criticized.
In what ways did your manager contribute to you decision to leave the job? Pinning Down the Illusive Candidate How to Handle Silence
Don't rush in and rescue. Allow at least five seconds to lapse before you say anything.
Sympathize and encourage the candidate to take his or her time.
Restate the question. How to Handle the Bluff
Don't let them off the hook. Use sypathetic persistence. (For example, you ask the person an example of a time she of he had to deal with an irate customer and the interviewer says it happens all time.)
Restate the question (Tell me about the last time?)
Pause at least five seconds and then move on. Assessing Emotional Stability Ask questions that require the candidate to relate past stories of handling adversity, stress, and frustration at work.
Ask questions about past relationships with coworkers and supervisors.
Ask about specific instances where the person had to deal with the shortcomings of others.
Most importantly, know the stressors inherent in the position your candidate is interviewing for, and look for a candidate who has handled these successfully in the past.
Assess not only the candidate's behavior in those situations, but ask about their thoughts, feelings, how others responded, how the situation was resolved, and what the candidate learned from it.
When interviewing the candidate, listen for explanations she or he gives for past job experiences, both positive and negative. Does she or he take responsibility for mistakes? Does he or she take credit for success? You want an employee to do both. Avoiding Bad Hires Consider asking candidates to provide copies of their last two performance evaluations and to make available references a condition of employment. These things deserve more probing in the interview:
Significant gaps in the employment history.
An emphasis on past jobs rather than the most recent employment.
Any applicant's willingness to accept a drastic pay cut. These behaviors should raise a red flag:

Lack of interest/preparation.
Poor personal hygiene.
Lack of career plans.
Lack of interest or enthusiasm.
Doesn't ask questions about the job.
Lack of preparation for the interview.
Inappropriate interview behavior.
Condemnation of past employers.
Reveals too much personal information.
Persistent attitude of "what can you do for me?"
Overbearing or aggressive attitude.
Inability to express thoughts clearly.
Exclusive focus on salary/money.
Lack of tact or maturity.
Failure to look interviewer in the eye. Providing as much accurate and balanced information as possible so the candidate can make an informed decision.
Providing a realistic job preview can cut turnover 10-15%
Give your final candidates a work assignment that is typical of what he/she would actually do on the job. This will help you better assess his or her caliber of work. Reference Checking Tell the candidate that you will be checking his or her references. Also, you might ask them what you are likely to hear from the reference giver. Get organized before you call references. List everything you need to know about the candidate beforehand in terms of their strengths, weaknesses, interpersonal skills, trouble spots, job skills and problem-solving ability. List them in order of importance and create specific questions. When checking references, ask about events the employee was involved in rather than about the employee. This might encourage a reluctant referrer to open up. Get the most from references!
Ask if the person is eligible for re-hire? This says a lot.
Give the reference source a range from 1-5 as to the 'value' of the candidate in a particular area, i.e. "Using a range of 1-5 with 1 being a fail-what would you say about X's computer skills?"
If you are having trouble getting a reference to call you back, leave a message saying, "Please call me back if candidate A is an excellent candidate." Always keep the results of your reference checks to yourself. Libel suits filed by discharged employees and job applicants account for 1/3 of all defamation actions. Selecting the Candidate Revisit the job duties the open position will require on a daily basis.
Compare your candidates' interview answers, resumes, and references against real job needs.
Make sure you have completed background and reference checks before making a job offer. Documenting Hiring Decisions Records should be kept showing why applicants were either hired or rejected. Reasons for rejecting applicants should be objective and based on the ability to perform the job. They should spell out the factual basis for not hiring a person and should be clearly written to avoid possible misinterpretation. Remember to keep all of your notes--from noting red flags on resumes, to preparing interview notes, to writing comments about why a candidate is accepted or rejected. Keep your hiring documentation:
factual and
specific. Hiring Errors Question 10:
Most “illegal” interview questions are asked:

A) At the end of the interview when the interviewer is getting serious about a good candidate.
B) At the beginning of the interview, when the two are engaged in casual conversation.
C) By managers who are intentionally trying to weed out certain groups. Question 1:
Which of these is an example of a behavior type interview question?

A) Have you ever had any problems working with a lot of different people?
B) How would you describe your interpersonal skills and related experience?
C) This job requires constant customer contacts. How do you like this kind of work?
D) Describe a time when you resolved a conflict with a customer or coworker. Question 2:

During an interview, you should avoid words like "probationary, permanent, security, career, long-term, and guaranteed," in your job offer.

B) FALSE Question 3:
Interviewer: "How many days of work have you missed over the past year?" Under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is this a legal question?

A) Yes, this is legal since it addresses general absences.
B) No, may require disclosure of disability information. Question 4:
During a typical interview, the interviewer and candidate should both speak an equal amount of time.

B) FALSE Question 5:
How far back should you check a prospective employee’s work history?

A) 1 – 3 years
B) 5 – 7 years
C) Since she or he turned 16 Question 6:

In general, candidates who are already employed are better candidates than those who are actively looking for a job.

A) True
B) False Question 7:
To make the right hiring decision, you should compare the candidate to:

A) Other candidates
B) Coworkers in the same department
C) The job profile
D) The last person on the job Question 8:
Which of the following is most likely to be an effective interview question?

A) Do you consider yourself to be detail-oriented?
B) Tell me about yourself.
C) How many sick days did you take at your last job?
D) Tell me about a time you had to delegate an assignment. Question 9:
Which of the following is a legally acceptable test question?

A) Are you a U.S. citizen?
B) Where were your parents born?
C) How did you learn to speak a second language?
D) Are you an American?
E) Are you authorized to work in the U.S.? PRE-TEST HEADS UP Never tell an older person he or she is "overqualified" for a job. According to recent legal rulings, being "overqualified," does not mean being unqualified. Thank you! Don't dwell on any one question too long. Move through your questions at a reasonable pace and try to set time limits on your interviews. If your job candidate isn't talking at least 70% of the time, you need to be quiet and listen. INSIGHT POP QUIZ Which of these is a behavioral interview question?

A. Tell me about your past experience with data processing.
B. What would you do if one of your coworkers lost his temper with you on a regular basis?
C. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.
D. How many people did you supervise in yo ur last job? C. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. ANSWER Develop a list of probing questions you can use as follow-up questions when you feel like the candidate's answers are inadequate or possibly evasive.
Tell me more about that.
Can you elaborate?
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