Last week we talked about pre-interviewing; screening potential applicants, setting up the interview, and getting the Employment Application completed. This week, we tackle the interview itself.
We always try to have two of our staff members conducting interviews. The same two interviewers should interview all applicants for a particular position. Two interviewers provides a more balanced perspective and gives you two people taking notes during the interview instead of just one person trying to do everything.
Before the interview, you both should have been able to review the Pre-Interview Questions and note any areas that you will need clarified. Once the applicant has completed the Employment Application, take a few minutes to review it as well, and again note any areas that you may have questions about. You want to know as much as you can about the applicant before the interview begins so that you don't have to waste interview time learning the basics.
Having your Interview Questions prepared in advance, and sticking to those questions, will help you in two ways. It will ensure that you ask the same questions of each candidate. It will also help you to avoid the questions you cannot legally ask; religion, marital status, age, etc. Asking open-ended questions will provide you with much more information and give the applicant the opportunity to share other information with you that they feel you should know in making your decision. Asking specific questions like "Tell me about a time that you..." will encourage candidates to tell you about what they did in a situation rather than just how they feel about it. For example, I don't want to hear that a Center Director candidate believes that parents' concerns should be heard, that's too easy; I want to know when that candidate was in a difficult position with a parent and specifically how they handled it.
During the interview, document the applicant's responses as completely as you can, including making notes of any notable non-verbal responses. Once you have interviewed half a dozen people, it will be difficult to remember who said what if you don't have good notes.
Next week we'll talk about the hiring decision.