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Interviewing employees

Why Do We Interview?

A job interview gives both you and a potential candidate the chance to get to know each other better and help you decide if they have the skills, qualifications, and personality to match the position and company. Unlike reading a resume, which only provides a brief summary of a person’s ‘hard skills’ (e.g. experience, qualifications and skills),  interviewing gives you a much better idea of a person’s ‘soft skills’ such as their communication skills, personality, and ability to cope under pressure.

By having a rigorous selection and recruitment process, you will not waste time and money hiring the wrong person.

Types of Job Interviews

There are many ways to conduct an interview. The approach you take depends entirely on your preferred style and the recruitment process.

Here are some of the most common types of interview formats:

Structured Interview

A structured interview is where you ask each candidate a list of prepared questions exactly as they are worded.

By asking each candidate the same set of questions in the exact same order, this ensures the interview process is consistent across the board. And by not deviating from a fixed schedule, you can conduct multiple interviews in a short amount of time.

Unstructured Interview

An unstructured interview is a more informal type of interview. While you can still have a set list of questions to ask, you also have the freedom to deviate from the script and ask more open-ended questions, which can potentially yield higher quality answers.

This approach is an effective way to help candidates feel calm and relaxed during the interview. But there are other benefits too. For instance, you may adopt this casual approach to intentionally make a candidate ‘slip up’ and reveal something they would not have otherwise said in a formal interview.

Stress Interview

The purpose of a stress interview is to intentionally put the candidate into a ‘stressful situation’ to find out if they really have what it takes.

You will still ask the same questions you would in a structured interview, but your approach and behaviour would alter. For example, you may act bored or disinterested during the interview, or you may ask a totally unrelated question to test their problem-solving ability.

Keep in mind that you must not ask any questions that could put you at risk of a discrimination claim. And you must ensure the candidate does not feel threatened or intimidated at any point.

Job Interviewing – Questions to Ask

It is important that you are just as prepared for the interview as the candidates. This means you have to come up with good questions to ask, regardless of the type of interview you plan to conduct.

You have the freedom to ask as many or as few questions as you like. But make sure the questions focus solely on the employee’s ability to do the job and whether they match your company culture.

To help you prepare for the job interview, here are some basic questions to ask and why they are effective:

  • What can you tell me about yourself?
    This is an easy ‘ice breaker’ question to get the ball rolling.
  • What are your strengths?
    Find out if the strengths they mention match what you are looking for.
  • What are your weaknesses?
    Alongside determining if they’re a good candidate for the role, this question also ascertains the candidate’s level of self-awareness.
  • Can you give an example of when you went above and beyond to do your job?
    Learn about their past achievements and how willing they are to go the extra mile for you.
  • Can you recount a situation where you had to handle conflict in the workplace?
    Learn about their ability to work with others.

Job Interviewing Skills and Techniques

First impressions count. Even for the person who is conducting the interview. If you are not prepared or you lack confidence, candidates may view you as an undesirable person to work for.

Here are some useful tips to help you effortlessly carry the interview from start to end:

  • Review each resume before the interview: This will help you avoid asking questions that may already be answered in the resume. You may also uncover some crucial information you missed when you first skimmed through the resume.
  • Listen carefully: Avoid focusing just on what to say next. Listen to each answer the candidate gives and take note of any crucial details. Also, look out for subtle changes in each candidate’s tone and delivery. This can help you decide if their answers are rehearsed or spontaneous.
  • Correct posture: Good posture will make you appear confident and engaged in the conversation. Keep your back straight and lean forward slightly to show that you are listening attentively.

How to Avoid Discrimination in Recruitment and Selection

The rules against discrimination and interviewing biases apply to job advertising, interviewing and the rest of the recruitment process. So make sure your basis of selection is entirely on the applicant’s ability to do the job.

You are not allowed to discriminate against a potential employee over their:

  • Race or skin colour
  • Sex or sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Marital status
  • Family or carer’s responsibilities
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion or political opinion
  • National extraction or social origin

Keep interview questions related to the person’s ability to do the job. If you ask a question that relates to any of the above characteristics, and the question has no relation to the job itself, you could be liable for a discrimination claim.

Need Help?

Employsure regularly produces resources to support employers and small business growth. You can download our Hiring Toolkit which provides advice and practical tips for the recruitment process.  

Alternatively, if you require immediate advice around the legalities of recruitment, you can reach Employsure on our 24 hour Advice Line on 1300 651 415.

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