Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Interviewing: Business or Psychology

Kathleen Dodaro & Cynthia Counterman

The success of an organization depends upon the skills and dedication of its employees. Since the selection process for new employees relies primarily on the interview, it is imperative that managers/interviewers become proficient at interviewing. The industry of recruiting and interviewing must change drastically to address the issues businesses face when they do not properly match an individual to the position. These issues include turnover, poor morale, burnout, and employee relations issues. Current trends in interviewing do not address the psychosocial factors that are essential to make a good match. It is imperative to evaluate the emotional fortitude of an applicant and determine if the job is compatible with the applicant’s character. If the job conflicts with the applicant’s individual needs and responsibilities the union will not be successful.

Critical Practices Necessary for Successful Staffing and Retention

Understand the changing work force: In the new work force employees are seeking a job that allows them to build a balanced lifestyle that is synergistic with their self-identity. Employers need to understand that the job is only one part of the employee’s life. Psychosocial interviewing gives an employer the tools for measuring the value of a job in an employee’s life.

Establish the Person-Organization Fit: Individuals and organizations are most effective when their respective values, goals, and interests are aligned. Similar attributes between individuals tend to improve communication and cooperation, which affects an employee’s morale and organizational outcomes. Behavioral interviewing surveys help to detect candidates that will be successful in various cultures.

Develop Realistic Goals and Manage the Interview Process: First, the employer needs to accurately measure whether the candidate has the skills, education, and technical experience to perform the job. Second, it is important to sell the positive features of the job and the organization. Third, to help the candidate make an appropriate choice, it is necessary to provide a balanced view of the challenges and the rewards of the job. Fourth, the employer needs to focus on everything from interpersonal skills and social appropriateness to motivation and common sense. This can be done by utilizing an interview process that goes beyond traditional evaluation. Psychosocial interviewing gives the employer the opportunity to create a profile for a job vacancy and applicant and evaluate the commonalities between the two.

Use a Structured Approach: Select and document the answers to interview questions that evaluate an applicant on a variety of factors. Interview questions can be used to evaluate the communication style, enthusiasm, decision making, detail orientation, flexibility, and professionalism of an applicant.

Sample questions:


At one time or another, all of us are misunderstood by others. Give an example of when this happened to you. How did you respond?
What was the most exciting aspect of your current or last position? Give a specific example and describe how that affects your work.
Describe a situation where you failed to reach a goal and how your future work on the project was affected.
Describe a situation in which attention to detail was very important. What did you do to focus your attention and minimize errors?
When it comes to the structure of your typical workday, do you prefer continuity or frequent change? Explain why.
What personal skill or work habit have you struggled to improve?

Interviewing can be complex and difficult. A behavioral approach to interviewing can help eliminate the many problems that are prevalent in the selection process. The hiring decision can have negative and positive consequences. A good decision can provide an employee that will uphold the standards of the organization and become a motivated and productive team member. A poor hiring decision can be very costly to an organization by reducing productivity and forcing managers to spend more time training and counseling. In order to ensure a higher percentage of successful hires, it is essential to use an interviewing process that accurately matches the candidate to the job.


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