Hiring 101 Part 5 – Conducting Legal Interviews

In this video, Recruiting Daily Advisor Editor Stephen Bruce talks about conducting a meaningful, legal interview. It is important to spend time planning for your interview. Steve Bruce covers important questions to keep in mind.

This is Steve Bruce for the HR Daily Advisor.

This video is the fifth in our series Hiring 101. It—and the next three—are about conducting a meaningful, legal interview.

It’s important to spend some time preparing for your interviews. Unplanned interviews are generally a waste of time. They encourage judgments based on whether you had a pleasant chat rather than whether the candidate can do the job.

Start by developing a series of general questions that will help you determine whether candidates can meet your requirements. Plan to ask each candidate all of these questions.
This consistent approach is important for three reasons:

First, it is fair and legal. If you ask certain questions only of specific candidates, you may be illegally discriminating.

Second, it lets you compare candidates. If you converse about technical aspects of the job with one candidate, and future trends with another, how will you compare the two?
Third, it helps you remember all questions. It is all too easy to forget important questions.

Then, in addition to the questions that you will ask all candidates, prepare special questions for each individual candidate. These special questions usually arise out of your reading of the resumé or application. Use the questions to help clarify particular aspects of each candidate’s background.

Many interviewers find it helpful to prepare a worksheet to use as a guide during the interview. Such a worksheet might contain:

  • Name of candidate
  • Date of interview
  • Position title
  • Testing or other evaluative techniques planned
  • Standard questions for all candidates
  • Specific questions for this candidate

With this sheet at hand, you won’t forget important questions, and you’ll have a handy place to take notes.

One common interview problem is being so busy worrying about what you are going to ask next that you forget to listen to the answer to the current question. Having an interview worksheet eliminates most of this problem. Don’t be afraid to listen, then pause to frame your next question.

Also, remember to listen to what’s behind the answer. This will often be revealing. Ask yourself:

  • What is important to this person?
  • Does he or she talk about people or process?
  • Is this person a team player or a single contributor?
  • Does the person mention colleagues? Shareholders? Customers?
  • What motivates this person? Challenge? Teamwork? Concrete goals? Money and other rewards?
  • How does this person present information? Are thoughts organized? Are ideas clearly presented? Is this person persuasive? Is this person organized? A careful planner?
  • Does this person offer creative solutions?
  • Does this person dictate, or operate by consensus?
  • How does this person handle job challenges?

It’s also mundane, but important, to take care of arrangements. Don’t let careless logistics result in an embarrassing situation. Be sure that all necessary arrangements have been made so that nothing will interfere with having a productive interview. Consider the following:

  • Date, time, and place are confirmed with candidate
  • Location is reserved
  • Plans are made to prevent interruptions (for example, send phone calls to voice mail)
  • Plans for beverage or food are made
  • You are clear where the candidate will go after the interview?

Be sure to view the next video in our Hiring 101 series—about how to be sure your interview questions are not setting you up for a lawsuit.

For detailed guidance on hiring and all your HR challenges, we recommend This is Steve Bruce for the HR Daily Advisor.