Choose structured interviews to make better hires

Extensive research on job interviews shows that structured interviews are more accurate than unstructured ones in predicting which applicants will make good employees. By “structured,” researchers mean that the interviewer uses a consistent format with all candidates, asking the same questions in the same order.

Extensive research on job interviews shows that structured interviews are more accurate than unstructured ones in predicting which applicants will make good employees. By “structured,” researchers mean that the interviewer uses a consistent format with all candidates, asking the same questions in the same order.

In contrast, an unstructured interview would be more like a free-flowing conversation that does not follow a script or attempt to treat all interviewees the same.

When you are hiring to fill positions in your store, are your interviews structured? If not, you may be passing up opportunities to make better hires.  In planning structured interviews, design questions that emphasize past experience (“How have you handled such a situation in the past?”) rather than hypothetical cases (“How would you handle such a situation?”)

These so-called behavioural or behaviour-based interview questions can help you avoid certain pitfalls. Behavioural questions are open-ended. They can’t be answered with simply a yes or no. Rather, they encourage the candidate to expound upon her experience. They don’t force answers into an either/or mode or beg for a certain answer.

Behavioural questions start like this:

• Tell me about a time when you . . .

• Can you give me an example of . . .

• Describe a past job where you . . .

Then you can ask follow-up questions:

• What needed to be done about that situation?

• What was the result?

• What did you learn?

Here are some behavioural questions I’ve found particularly valuable in assessing whether a candidate would flourish in the job:

• Tell me about a time in a past job when you got really excited about something you were working on.

• Tell me about a time when you had to help a dissatisfied or angry customer.  How did you handle the situation?

• Has there ever been a time in a past job where you saw a co-worker doing something the wrong way?  If so, what did you do about it?

• Have you had a job where it was important to come to work on time?  Were you ever late?  What did your supervisor do about it?  What did you do about it?

• Tell me about a time when you didn’t agree with a supervisor’s decision.  How did you handle the situation?

Non-behavioural Questions

• How would you handle a situation like that? (hypothetical question)

• You don’t mind working with the public, do you? (leading question)

• Do you prefer working in a team or by yourself? (either/or question)

Behavioural Questions

• How did you handle that situation when you were in your previous job?

• Tell me about a past job where you were in contact with customers all day long.  What did you like about it? What were the challenges?

• Describe a past job where your work depended closely on the work of others.

• What was enjoyable about that and what was frustrating?

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By |September 8th, 2015|Categories: Articles, Develop Your Talent, External Articles|Tags: , |

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