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______ Interview & Select
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There are three steps to the Screening process:

  1. Write Effective Job Criteria
  2. Design Interview Questions
  3. Design Evaluation Tools

STEP 1: Write Effective Job Criteria
In order to hit a target, you need to have a target. That's the purpose of the job criteria: to clarify what (or rather, who) you're looking for.

Review The Job Description

Use this as an opportunity to take a good look at the job for any changes you may wish to make. Often a job will evolve with the person who works in it until the job description no longer truly describes the job that is being done. Ask yourself:

  • Did the last person in the job do any tasks not mentioned in the job description?
  • Are there tasks mentioned in the job description that the last person in the job didn't do?
  • Have the job qualifications, tasks and responsibilities changed?
  • How does this position fit into the department's long-term strategy?
  • Should the position be divided, eliminated or substantially changed?

List Key Competencies The Hire Should Have

Competencies are skills, abilities, behaviors, characteristics, attitudes or qualifications that cause and predict superior performance.

Look at the job description and make a list of key competencies that the hire should have. Here are only a few examples of competencies you may want your hire to posses:

  • Action-orientation
  • Approachability
  • Communication skills
  • Comfort around top management
  • Conflict management
  • Creativity
  • Customer service skills
  • Decision making skills
  • Delegation
  • Directing others
  • Flexibility
  • Management/Leadership skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Organized
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Planning skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Process Management
  • Relationship skills
  • Teambuilding
  • Technical expertise

(More examples of competencies.)

Be specific about the level of competency you want. If you want someone who knows MS Access:

  • How strong an expertise do you need them to have?
  • Do you only need them to know how to enter data and run canned reports?
  • Do you need them to know how to create reports?
  • Do you need them to know how to create a database?

STEP 2: Design Interview Questions

Design Behavioral Questions

Behavioral Interview questions are questions that focus on a person's actual past behavior instead of on hypothetical future behavior.

Instead of:
"How would you handle a difficult co-worker?"
"Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult co-worker? What did you do? What was the result?"

The reason for this is that what people say they would do hypothetically isn't always what they would really do. Remember:

The best predictor of FUTURE PERFORMANCE

For example, if one of the key competencies your candidate needs is "initiative," you might ask:

  • What new ideas or suggestions have you initiated that led to greater success for you or for your organization?
  • Tell me about a time that you, acting on your own, took steps to improve or adapt your job skills or performance.
  • Please share some examples of times when you took on extra work or volunteered for work beyond what was required. Describe one.

This website, from the Kansas Department of Administration, contains a behavioral interviewing tool which will generate questions for you based on the competencies you identify for the job.

Design Open Questions

"Open" questions invite a detailed response, while "closed" questions only invite a yes/no response.
Instead of:
"Do you have any experience in animal research?"
"Tell me about a specific project you worked on involving animals."

Design Follow-Up Questions

Even though you may ask detailed questions, you may not get detailed responses. To make sure you do, design follow-up questions to flesh out the SAR (Situation, Action, Result):
Situation - What was the Situation? What happened?
Action - What Action did you take?
Result - What was the Result?

Design Questions That Flesh-Out the Resume

Look at the candidate's resume for potential questions on issues such as:

  • Gaps in employment
  • Career changes
  • Over qualification

Design Legal Questions

"The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of
race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran."
-University of Pennsylvania Nondiscrimination Statement

The basic guideline to remember is that it is illegal to base a hiring decision on anything other than "Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications." So stick with questions that focus solely on the competencies you've decided that the position needs.

If you need someone who can speak Spanish:
Instead of:
"Is Spanish your native language?" OR "Are you Hispanic?"
"Do you speak Spanish fluently?"

If you need someone who can lift 50 lbs. and notice that the job candidate is walking with a cane:
Instead of:
"Is your injury permanent?" OR "Will your injury prevent you from lifting?"
"The job requires that you be able to lift 50 lbs. Is there any reason why you could not do so?"

Examples of illegal vs. legal questions.

STEP 3: Design Evaluation Tools

Design a Candidate Evaluation Form

A Candidate Evaluation Form will help you do a qualitative and quantitative analysis of each candidate.

Click below to view a sample Candidate Evaluation Form. Use this as a template to customize to your particular position:
Candidate Evaluation Form - pdf version
Candidate Evaluation Form - MS Word version

During the interview take detailed notes. Immediately afterwards, use these notes as the basis for filling out a Candidate Evaluation Form. Don't put it off; it's very easy for candidates to start mixing together in our memory.

Design a Criteria Matrix

Use a Criteria Matrix to compare potential candidates. Click below to get a sample completed matrix along with a blank matrix for you to use:
Criteria Matrix - pdf version
Criteria Matrix - MS Word version

Immediately after every interview, along with filling out the Candidate Evaluation Form, take the time to numerically rate the candidates on the Criteria Matrix. Again, don't put it off; it's very easy for candidates to start mixing together in our memory.


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