Interview questions and structured interviewing
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What Do Interviewers Need to Know to be Effective?

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

There are very few (if any) natural interviewers that can make accurate predictions of a candidate’s potential without the benefit of additional guidance and training. While approaches to the preparation of interviewers may take different forms, the learning objectives for professional interviewers have a consistent framework. The following areas of focus are critical for becoming a professional interviewer.

How to Use Structured Interview Guides

Structured interview guides are the start for interviewing success. Structured interview guides provide a roadmap for ensuring that all critical requirements are covered and relevant aspects of a candidate’s background are thoroughly explored. Professional interviewers need to know:
How to use common competencies to define job requirements.
How to write and use effective pre-planned behavioral questions that link to those competency requirements
How to evaluate resumes and generate appropriate educational, work history, and key interest/preference questions
How to structure interviews to make efficient use of time and provide ideal competency coverage
How to Obtain Good Interview Data

After planning and structuring the interview, professional interviewers need to be able to help candidates provide good information that reflects their true potential. Professional interviewers need to know:
How to listen for information that is critical in properly evaluating candidate responses
How to ask effective follow-up questions to gather useful data
How to ask difficult or sensitive questions
How to take effective notes
How to Manage the Interview Process

In addition to obtaining quality information, a professional interview needs to maintain control over the interview to ensure that both the interviewer’s and the candidate’s objectives are met. Professional interviewers need to know:
How to effectively plan and organize the interview time with a candidate
How to keep the interview on track to meet your objectives
How to manage the pace of an interview to ensure full and proper coverage of each assigned competency
How to Evaluate Candidate Responses Accurately

After obtaining good interview data, the interviewer’s task is to make an objective evaluation of the quality of the responses and make an accurate prediction about the candidate’s likelihood of being successful in the job. Different interviewers reviewing the same data should come to the same conclusions. Professional interviewers need to know:
How to recognize and avoid common rating errors
How to evaluate the three critical components of a candidate’s response (circumstances, approach, and impact)
Learn how to accurately provide question and competency ratings
How to effectively combine information from multiple interviewers
How to Adhere to Legal Requirements

In every locality, there are typically legal do’s and don’ts that need to be understood and followed. Within the US, professional interviewers need to know:
How to conduct legally defensible interviews
How to ensure fairness
How to interview Americans with disabilities


Finding Candidates

Interviewing Basics

Interviewing Best Practices

Laws & Documentation

Line Manager / Recruiting Partnership


Pre-Planning & Retention

Reading the Candidate

Recruiting Basics

Recruiting Best Practices

Useful Links