The One Interview Technique that Gets Real Answers

In real estate it’s location, location, location, and in interviewing it’s probe, probe, probe. Typically the candidate’s first answer to your interview questions will be reasoned and impressive—and well rehearsed. It’s by probing deeper that you’ll get real insight.

Asking probing questions is the key to eliciting meaningful information from well-prepared applicants. Here’s an example of how your probing can reveal the real story.

You: Well, I’m looking for a stellar project manager, so tell me about an important project that you managed.
Applicant: I recently managed the computerization of our entire vendor/purchasing/inventory management program. 

(Great. Sounds like a winner—that’s just what we need someone for.)

You: How did you do as far as bringing it in on time and on budget?
Applicant: I’m very proud of that.  With a year-long project, we were up and running and fully trained two weeks early.  The overall budget was $3.5 million and we brought her in at $3.34. 

(Is this a qualified candidate or what?  Seems great so far. Should we move on to some other topics? Let’s probe a little bit.)

You: How many were on the team?
Applicant: 18.

You: Were you the team leader?
Applicant: Yes

(Wow, this candidate’s going to be great, but maybe we should probe a little more.)

You: Who selected the software?
Applicant: Oh, the consultant did.  She was very sharp.

(Hmmm. The consultant?)

You: How were the team members selected?
Applicant: Well, my boss picked the internal members, and the consultant picked the technical people.

(Maybe this candidate’s involvement was not as great as I first thought. Let’s probe more.)

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You: Who directed the day-to-day activities of the team?
Applicant: Oh, the consultant did that.  Very technical project, very technical.

(Wait a minute. What did the applicant do?)

You:  So how often did you meet with the team?
Applicant: I attended all the meetings to be sure that everything was going well. I sent out the reminder notices for the meetings and I printed up the agenda after the consultant worked it up.

You can see where this going. This candidate, who initially appeared to be a successful high-level project manager, was in reality a low-level coordinator. The candidate was never lying, but it took considerable probing to bring out a complete picture of his efforts.

Bottom line, especially when it comes to key responsibilities and accomplishments, probe, probe, probe.

Of course, once you’ve completed the interviewing and selected a candidate, the real fun begins. Starting with sorting out immigration and I-9 requirements. How should you verify eligibility to work? What list of documents are you supposed to use this week for completing out I-9s? Should you keep copies even though you’re not required to? And if you do, where should you keep them?

Good news. BLR’s September 21 Webinar I-9 Compliance: The Shift in Focus to Employer’s Recordkeeping, Documentation and Employment Practices, will answer all those questions and more.

As the immigration debate heats up, employers need to pay special attention to their employment documentation and recordkeeping. Already the Obama administration has put into place worksite enforcement policies that have shifted liability away from undocumented workers onto the employer. Squarely on the shoulders of companies—not employees—is the responsibility, and the feds and their fines await if you fail.

With a renewed focus and funding, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be doing more investigations than ever. And most businesses aren’t entirely sure they are doing the right thing. What documents are acceptable? When do you need two documents? Should you photocopy? Just one reporting oversight of even the most well-intentioned company can draw the attention of the ICE. Once they are on your doorstep, it’s too late.

Join us on September 21 for an in-depth webinar with an expert speaker on the topic of immigration—including I-9 compliance and audits. Be sure to include your supervisors and managers so they are up to speed with your I-9 enforcement policies.

Immigration reform? All well and good, but help us with our I-9s! September 21 webinar gets you (and everyone you can fit around the phone) up to speed on I-9s and immigration issues—without leaving the building. Click here for details.

The date is Tuesday, September 21, 2010. The time, 1:30 pm to 3 pm (Eastern Time—adjust for your time zone). As with all BLR webinars, one fee trains all the staff you can fit around a conference phone, you can get your (and their) specific phoned-in or emailed questions answered in an extensive Q&A that follows the presentation, and your satisfaction is assured or you get a full refund.

What if you can’t attend on that date? Pre-order the conference CD.  For more information on the conference and the experts presenting it, to register, or to pre-order the CD, click here. We’ll be happy to make the arrangements.

How Does a Webinar Work?

A webinar is remarkably cost-effective and convenient. You participate from your office, using a regular telephone and a computer with an Internet connection. You have no travel costs and no out-of-office time.

Plus, for one low price you can get as many people in your office to participate as you can fit around a speakerphone and a computer screen.

Because the conference is live, you can ask the speakers questions—about your specific issues—either on the phone or via e-mail.

As with all BLR webinars, your satisfaction is assured or you get a full refund.

Please join us September 21 for I-9 Compliance: The Shift in Focus to Employer’s Recordkeeping, Documentation and Employment Practices. Get more information.

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