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Suffolk County Department of Civil Service Alan Schneider, County Personnel Director planning and conducting a job interview.

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1 Suffolk County Department of Civil Service Alan Schneider, County Personnel Director planning and conducting a job interview

2 2 SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL- PLANNING AND CONDUCTING A JOB INTERVIEW CONTENTS THE INTERVIEW IS A VALUABLE TOOL-TAKE IS SERIOUSLY page 2 BEFORE THE INTERVIEW page 3 sample questions page 8 questions that you can and cannot ask page 12 CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW page 39 non-verbal communication Page 45 AFTER THE INTERVIEW page 51 sample evaluation forms page 53 reference check- sample questions Page 58

3 3 The Interview is an important and valuable tool; take it seriously Candidates for competitive class positions are required to take and pass examinations to measure some critical knowledges and aptitudes. However, the interview provides an opportunity to evaluate traits beyond what can be measured in a written examination or gleaned from a review of qualifications. Zone scoring of examinations creates a significant number of tie scores providing you with more choices of candidates from which to select. A properly planned and conducted interview should increase the likelihood of selecting the best candidate; that is the candidate who best fits the job and the organization. You want to avoid trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It’s much more difficult to get a square peg out than it was to get it in in the first place. The interview is a critical part of the selection process and should be used to the greatest advantage. It is an opportunity for you and the candidates to exchange information and assess compatibility. It is as critical for the candidate to be able to assess the job and the organization as it is for you to assess the candidate.

4 4 BEFORE THE INTERVIEW...  Identify required and desirable characteristics.  Develop questions and a general interview plan.  Develop standardized forms to be used for recording interview data and an objective method of evaluation.  Schedule the interviews.  Review available candidate information.

5 5 KNOW WHAT'S IMPORTANT FOR A SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE Before any interviews are conducted, it is essential to plan. If you conduct interviews without a plan, it is unlikely that you will achieve the desired result, i.e. to consistently hire the best candidates. Some interviewers have implicit faith in their own ability to tell if candidates are suitable “ as soon as they walk through the door” and don’t believe that they are influenced by any interviewer biases. Most would have to admit to the possibility of biases including a halo effect (rater allows one character or performance trait to influence the entire evaluation). However, while the interview process is not infallible, proper planning and execution can significantly increase objectivity and the quality of your hiring decisions. DEVELOPMENT OF INTERVIEW CRITERIA How do you know what to look for in a candidate and what questions to ask? To do effective interviews, somebody needs to analyze the job(s) to determine exactly what skills, aptitudes, physical and psychological characteristics are important for success in the job, and any working conditions that need to be considered. You can’t evaluate whether candidates possess necessary or desirable characteristics unless these characteristics have been identified. Unfortunately, many times, supervisors don’t really know exactly what is necessary and they assume the importance of certain traits. You, as an interviewer, cannot predict future success or evaluate candidate/job compatibility in any meaningful way without knowing tasks being performed and the traits required.

6 6 JOB /EMPLOYEE TRAIT ANALYSIS How does someone do a job/ trait analysis?  Look at current successful employees and try to identify common traits. Such traits could be predictors of success.  Read any existing material about the job.  Ask someone who knows about the job. This can be accomplished through interviews or questionnaires/checklists.  Observe employees in the performance of the job tasks.

7 7 CANDIDATE TRAITS- TYPICAL CRITERIA (non-comprehensive list- illustrative only) Motivation- Do the job requirements coincide with the candidate’s expressed interests and abilities thereby providing intrinsic motivation? Standards- Does the candidate appear to set high standards for him/herself and others? Initiative- Does the candidate seem to be a “self-starter” or someone who needs to be pushed to achieve goals? Attention to Detail Integrity Ability to learn Interests Demeanor- ability to maintain composure. Compatibility with the organization and current employees. Good judgment. Analytical ability. Decision-making and problem solving ability. Leadership ability Communication skills- listening, in addition to written and oral communication. Creativity and innovation. Etc.

8 8 DEVELOP QUESTIONS Once you have determined the essential and desirable characteristics of a successful candidate, you can develop questions for the interview. There are good general questions that can be used and you can also develop questions that are more specific to the job, working conditions, etc. Questions and trait criteria selected should be applicable to the job, based upon the analysis performed. Don’t assume the appropriateness of any trait(s). Intuitively, certain traits may seem advantageous, but may, in fact, be unnecessary or potentially undesirable. For example, a highly motivated employee who thrives on challenges may not be compatible with a job involving routine activities. The following pages provide sample questions, roughly organized by traits being evaluated. You will notice that many of the questions are open-ended. Remember, you are trying to elicit information, and open-ended questions are the best way to achieve this.

9 9 SAMPLE QUESTIONS Self Evaluation   Tell us a little about yourself.   How would you describe yourself?   If you have had any "enemies", how would they describe you?   What are your three greatest strengths?   How about one weakness and how you deal with it?   In what area(s) do you think you need to improve?   Tell us briefly about your career up until now. Career Goals   Where do you want to be 5 years from now? 10 years?   What prompted you to apply for this job?   What excited you most about the job?   How does this job fit in with your career plans?   Why did you leave your last job? What did you like/dislike about your last job?

10 10 SAMPLE QUESTIONS CONTINUED Decision-Making   What types of decisions do you make in your most recent job?   What types of decisions do you find to be the easiest? Most difficult?   What is the worst decision you ever made on the job? Judgment   Tell us about a situation on the job when you made a mistake and how you handled it.   You regularly overhear a coworker being rude on the phone. You realize that no one is aware of this. How do you handle the situation? Analytical Skills   What steps do you take in analyzing problems?   Tell us about a problem that you analyzed and describe your recommendation.

11 11 SAMPLE QUESTIONS continued Personal Qualities/Problem solving ability/Independence   How confident are you that you could perform the duties of this job? Why?   What aspects of your work do you get the most excited about?   You are given a new assignment, but not given any instructions. How would you go about completing the assignment?   Do you consider yourself to be creative? Can you give an example of a situation in which you came up with a creative solution to a problem?   What would your last supervisor say is your best quality? Worst?   How do you motivate yourself to complete mundane or unpleasant assignments?   Describe a situation in which your work was criticized. How did you respond?

12 12 MORE QUESTIONS Working with Others   Tell us about your interpersonal skills.   What types of situations dealing with other people do you find to be the most difficult?   How do you handle difficult people.   How do you deal with conflict.   Describe a confrontation with a previous supervisor or coworker. Who was wrong and who was right? Why?   Tell us about your worst supervisor. How did you deal with him/her? Tell us about your best supervisor. Conclusion   Tell us why we should hire you.   Do you have any questions or comments or is there anything you would like to add?

13 13 QUESTIONS THAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT ASK (From New York State Department of Civil Service Manual- How to Conduct a Job Interview) The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment because of the race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, genetic predisposition (at risk of having a disease or disability) or carrier status (at risk of having children with a disease or disability), marital status or arrest record of a candidate. Further, except for certain positions involving health or safety, or where the individual's presence on the job is essential, the Human Rights Law prohibits employers from disqualifying a candidate because of his or her religious observance requirements. The Human Rights Law also makes it unlawful to deny a candidate employment because he or she has been convicted of one or more criminal offenses or because he or she lacks "good moral character," when such denial is in violation of Article 23-a of the Correction Law. During the job interview, it is unlawful to ask questions that directly or indirectly seek to provide information about certain factors including age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status or arrest record, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification. If the candidate offers unsolicited information regarding any of the above factors, you should tactfully interrupt and refocus the interview.

14 14 questions regarding NAME Not Permissible  To inquire as to a candidate's preferred title, such as Miss, Ms. or Mrs.  To ask the prior name(s) of a candidate whose name has been changed by court order or otherwise.  To ask the maiden name of a married woman. Permissible  Questions about a change of name, use of an assumed name or nickname, in order to verify the qualifications stated by the candidate.  To ask whether the candidate is 18 years of age or older and, if the candidate is not, to require proof of age in the form of a work permit or certificate of age.

15 15 questions about ADDRESS OR RESIDENCY Not Permissible  To inquire about a foreign address, which may indicate national origin.  To ask the names of and the candidate's relationship to the person(s) with whom he or she resides. Permissible  To inquire as to the candidate's place of residence, and how long he or she has been a resident of New York State or a particular city,

16 16 questions regarding EDUCATION Not Permissible  To ask a candidate for years of school attendance or dates of graduation. Permissible  To inquire into a candidate's academic, vocational or professional education and the schools attended.

17 17 questions regarding MARITAL STATUS Not Permissible  It is not permissible to inquire whether a candidate is single, engaged, married or divorced.

18 18 questions regarding AGE Not Permissible  For other than a minor, to ask the candidate his or her age, or to require proof of age or date of birth. If the candidate is 18 years of age or older, age cannot be a consideration in the decision to hire the candidate unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification for the position, or a maximum or minimum age is provided for in federal, State or local law. Permissible  To ask whether the candidate is 18 years of age or older and, if the candidate is not, to require proof of age in the form of a work permit or certificate of age

19 19 questions regarding CITIZENSHIP Not Permissible  Questions about the candidate's country of citizenship or the country from which the candidate's parents came.  To inquire as to whether the candidate is naturalized or was born in the United States and/or when the candidate acquired citizenship. Permissible  To ask the candidate if he or she is legally eligible to work in the United States.  To ask the candidate if he or she is a citizen where citizenship is a qualification for the position sought (e.g. probation officers, peace officers).  Note: The EEOC Guidelines on Discrimination because of National Origin indicate that consideration of an applicant's citizenship may constitute evidence of discrimination on the basis of national origin. The EEOC provides that, where consideration of citizenship has the purpose or effect of discriminating against persons of a particular nationality, a person who is a lawfully immigrated alien, legally eligible to work, may not be discriminated against on the basis of his or her citizenship.

20 20 questions regarding FAMILY or RELATIVES Not Permissible  To inquire as to the marital status, pregnancy, future child bearing plans, ability to reproduce, advocacy of any form of birth control or family planning, and number and age of children. (Information needed for health insurance and other purposes may be obtained if and when candidate is employed.) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, makes it unlawful to ask candidates about child care arrangements.  To inquire as to the number, names, addresses and ages of applicant's spouse, children or relatives. Permissible  To ask if any family members are employed by the agency.

21 21 questions regarding SEXUAL ORIENTATION Not Permissible  It is not permissible to make any inquiries regarding sexual orientation.

22 22 questions regarding MOBILITY, TRAVEL or ABILITY TO GET TO WORK  Inquiries as to a candidate's mobility or ability to travel should only be asked if they are essential to successful job performance. Such inquiries may tend to discriminate against older workers, people with disabilities and women. If the job requires travel or the ability to work at different locations, you may state the job requirements and ask the candidate if he or she is able to meet such requirements.

23 23 questions regarding RELIGION Not Permissible  To inquire into a candidate's religious denomination or affiliations, parish or church, or whether they observe certain religious holidays. Permissible  To state the requirements of the job in terms of work schedule, such as the days of the week, workday and overtime, and ask the candidate whether he or she is able to meet such requirements. The EEOC cautions against asking questions regarding a candidate's availability to work on Friday evenings, Saturdays or holidays.  Note: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Human Rights Law require employers and unions to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees and applicants, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship.

24 24 questions regarding ORGANIZATIONS Not Permissible  To request a candidate to list all clubs, organizations, societies and lodges to which he or she belongs. Permissible  To ask a candidate if he or she is a member of any organization that the candidate believes is relevant to his/her ability to perform the job.

25 25 questions regarding SUPERVISOR or COWORKER GENDER Not Permissible  It is not permissible to ask a candidate how he or she would feel working for or with men or women.

26 26 DISABILITY OR MEDICAL inquiries Not Permissible  The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it unlawful to ask a candidate about the existence, nature or severity of a disability. An employer may not ask a candidate with a disability how he or she became disabled.  Additionally, an employer may not make inquires which would tend to elicit such information from a candidate. For example, you should not ask about a candidate's use of sick leave, or whether he or she has ever filed for workers' compensation benefits or been injured on the job. You should not ask a candidate if he or she has a disability that would interfere with his or her ability to perform the job. Further, you may not ask a candidate if he or she has ever been treated for alcohol or mental health problems, drinks alcohol or takes prescription drugs.  An employer may not ask a candidate how often he or she will require leave for treatment or how often they will need leave as a result of incapacitation because of a disability.

27 27 DISABILTIES OR MEDICAL inquiries- continued Permissible  To inquire about a candidate's ability to perform the functions of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation. You may ask a candidate to describe or demonstrate how he or she would perform the job functions only if all applicants for the job title are asked to do so. Also, you may ask a particular candidate to describe or demonstrate performance if he or she has a known disability that may interfere with or prevent the performance of a job-related function. In either case, if you request a candidate with a disability to demonstrate his or her ability to perform a job-related function, you must provide the reasonable accommodation, if one is needed, or allow the applicant to explain how, with the accommodation, he or she will perform the function.  You may inquire as to a candidate's ability to meet the attendance requirements of the job.

28 28 questions regarding MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS  The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from conducting medical examinations before an offer of employment has been made. Once a conditional offer of employment has been made, you can require an examination, provided all candidates offered employment in this job title are required to undergo a medical exam. Note: For further information regarding permissible and impermissible disability-related inquiries and medical examinations see EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Pre-employment Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

29 29 questions regarding CREDIT RECORD Not Permissible  The EEOC has found that, unless justified by business necessity, it is unlawful to reject candidates based on poor credit ratings because this has a disparate impact on minority groups.  Similarly, unless justified by business necessity, do not inquire into a candidate's financial status, such as bankruptcy, car ownership, rental or ownership of a house, length of residence at an address, or past garnishment of wages, for the purpose of making employment decisions, as this may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and as amended. Permissible  To inquire as to a candidate's credit or garnishment record, if bonding is a job requirement

30 30 questions regarding MILITARY SERVICE Not Permissible  To ask a candidate if he or she has received a discharge from the military in other than honorable circumstances.  To inquire into a candidate's military experience other than in the Armed Forces of the United States or in a State Militia. Permissible  To ask a candidate if he or she received a dishonorable discharge.  To ask about a candidate's military experience in the Armed Forces of the United States or in a State Militia, or into a candidate's service in a particular branch of the United States Army, Navy, etc.  Note: Inquiries regarding military service should be accompanied by a statement that a dishonorable discharge is not an absolute bar to employment and that other factors will be considered in making a final determination to hire or not to hire.

31 31 questions regarding CRIMINAL OFFENSES Not Permissible  The Human Rights Law prohibits inquiring about any prior arrests or criminal accusations not then pending against the candidate that were terminated in the candidate's favor.  Note: This prohibition does not apply to an application for employment as a police officer or peace officer. Permissible  To inquire as to whether the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime.  To inquire as to whether there are currently any arrests or criminal accusations pending against the candidate. Note: No application for employment may be denied on the basis of the candidate's having been convicted of one or more criminal offenses, or by reason of a lack of "good moral character" based upon one or more criminal convictions, unless:  there is a direct relationship between the criminal offense and the employment sought; or  employing the individual would involve an unreasonable risk to property, or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public. (Correction Law, section 752)

32 32 Continued questions regarding CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS In assessing whether to disqualify a candidate on the basis of one or more criminal convictions, consider the following:  The public policy of the State is to encourage the licensure and employment of people previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.  The specific duties and responsibilities of the position sought.  The nature and seriousness of the offense(s).  The age of the individual at the time of the criminal offense or offenses.  The extent of the individual's rehabilitation and good conduct.  The time that has elapsed since the conviction(s).  The legitimate interest of the agency in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.  The bearing, if any, the criminal offense(s) will have on the candidate's fitness or ability to perform the job duties and responsibilities. (Correction Law, section 753) Generally, only the Department of Civil Service has the authority to disqualify an applicant or eligible candidate who has been guilty of a crime pursuant to Civil Service Law, Section 50.4.

33 33 questions regarding LANGUAGE Not Permissible  To inquire as to a candidate's native tongue.  To inquire as to how a candidate acquired the ability to read, write or speak a foreign language. Permissible  To inquire whether a candidate speaks or writes a language fluently, when it is required to successfully perform the duties of the position sought.

34 34 REFERENCES Not Permissible  To ask for a reference from a member of the clergy. Permissible  To ask for the names of people willing to provide professional references for the candidate.

35 35 LICENSES Permissible  To inquire whether a candidate has a valid professional or driver's license, if the license is required for the position sought, and to require that a candidate produce such license.

36 36 EVALUATION FORMS For each candidate, after conducting the interview, you should take the time to record all observations using a standardized evaluation form. Also on a standardized form, you should record information obtained from reference checks. A sample Evaluation Worksheet is provided on page 53 of this manual. Also included is a sample History and Reference form. Both forms are taken from the NYS Department of Civil Service manual “How to Conduct a Job Interview”.

37 37 SCHEDULE THE INTERVIEWS   Interviews should be conducted in the shortest period possible. Do not spend weeks or months to complete the interviewing process if it can be done in less time. However...   Do not schedule too many interviews in one day and...   Allow enough time for each interview. A rushed interview will not yield consistently desirable results.   Do not allow unnecessary interruptions during an interview.   Select a comfortable, quiet location and arrange for any reasonable accommodations. Consider any religious observances, distances a candidate must travel, physical accommodations, etc.   Notify the candidates. Include all pertinent information about the job and the interview- - continued on next page-

38 38 CONTACTING THE CANDIDATES When scheduling interviews and notifying the candidates, all relevant information should be provided. Candidates should be made aware of:  Time of the interview.  Location- directions should be provided. Directions should include not only the building, but also where the candidates should go when they arrive.  Title of the position.  Starting salary.  Position status e.g. permanent, contingent, etc.  Name of the interviewer.  Procedures, phone numbers, etc. for cancellation or rescheduling.  Information regarding policy to provide reasonable accommodation for candidates with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Candidates should be notified of the procedure for requesting such accommodation.  Consequences of not responding or failure to appear.  Any information that you want the candidate to bring including resumes, writing samples, etc.

39 39 REVIEW AVAILABLE CANDIDATE INFORMATION Avail yourself of all information provided by candidates. Before the interview, review all documentation including applications, resumes, writing samples, etc. This will help you to develop specific questions, plan the interview process, provide you with valuable information to discuss during the interview, and show the candidate that you have reviewed the information that was supplied. When reviewing documentation look for:  Anything that indicates potential job compatibility or incompatibility (prior experience, education, goals, personality, etc.)  Vagueness, inconsistencies or gaps in employment history or education.  Grammar or spelling problems (poor grammar or spelling should not automatically disqualify a candidate. Consider the requirements of the job, conditions under which the written material was prepared, etc.)  Misinterpretation of written or verbal instructions. If the candidate can’t follow instructions during the selection process, this is an indication of a potential similar problem on the job.

40 40 CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW Prior to the interview, a significant amount of time has already been spent in the selection process. For competitive class positions, an examination was written, the test was administered and scored, a list was established, a Certification of Eligibles was provided to you, interviews were scheduled and you’ve planned for the interviews by evaluating interview criteria, writing questions and reviewing candidate information. After spending all this time and effort, you want to make the most of the interview to assure success. The pre-interview effort could be wasted if the interview is not conducted properly. The following are guidelines for conducting the interview.

41 41 INTERVIEW GUIDELINES  Be aware of your own attire and overall appearance. You are representing your agency.  Conduct the interview in a private, quiet, comfortable setting. Avoid unnecessary interruptions.  Don’t keep the applicant waiting.  Greet the applicant courteously, calling him/her by name, and ensure that he/she knows your name.  Put the candidate at ease. If you are well prepared, it will help you to relax; if you relax, the applicant will relax. Initiate the interview with friendly opening comments while trying to avoid irrelevant small talk. Don’t appear nervous our harried or be at a loss for words when opening the conversation.  Establish an informal but business-like atmosphere. Make the applicant feel important and that you are glad that he/she is interested in the position.  Explain the importance of an honest, open interview and how the interview is for his/her edification as well as yours. Assure the candidate of confidentiality. You and the candidate must ultimately agree on compatibility.

42 42 MORE INTERVIEW GUIDELINES  Give an overview of what will be covered in the interview. Inform the candidate that time will be allotted for questions.  The candidate’s time is important, as is yours. Don’t seek information that you already have or conduct a long interview if you are convinced that the candidate is not right for the job.  Ask questions and listen for answers. Good listening skills are essential (discussed further in section “Questioning, Listening, Observing & Note Taking”).  Discuss any questions that arose from your review of candidate information (see page 38).  Describe the job and the organization including functions of the agency, job duties, growth potential, salary and benefits, methods of appraisal, any required training, etc. Always keep all of these factors in mind when conducting the interview.  Ask the candidate if there are any questions. Answer all questions honestly.  Conclude by summarizing the interview, informing the applicant of the next step in the selection process and thanking the candidate for coming.  Do not make a job offer even if you are in a position to do so. All candidates should be considered prior to making any offer.

43 43 INTERVIEW GUIDELINES CONTINUED Civil Service Issues When interviewing candidates on an eligible list, you may not act in any manner that is deceptive, elusive, misleading or otherwise unfair in an attempt to obtain a declination from a candidate or candidates for the purpose of “breaking the list” or “reaching” a candidate with lower standing on the eligible list. For competitive class positions, candidates on the eligible list have been certified as qualified for all positions in the title; you may not require any additional qualifications or skills during the interview process. If, during the interview, a candidate indicates that he or she would not be interested in a job offer, you should determine and document the reason. You may have the candidate complete and sign a declination form. The form should include the title and location of the position and the reason(s) for the declination. If this form is not completed, your personnel office should send written confirmation of the declination to to the candidate (see page 62). Declinations must be noted when returning Certifications of Eligibles to the Department of Civil Service.

44 44 QUESTIONING, LISTENING, OBSERVING & NOTE TAKING  Ask as many open-ended questions as possible. For example, use who, what, why, when, where, how in posing questions. Such questions tend to elicit more information from the candidate. When asking an open-ended question, listening is crucial. Don’t be afraid of silence while the candidate is trying to formulate a thoughtful answer. It may be tempting to try to prompt an answer, and that could limit the information provided by giving away the desired response or eliciting a simple yes or no answer. At times, it may be necessary to interrupt the conversation to keep the interview focused. Don’t let the candidate evade or talk around an important question.  Ask closed, direct questions when trying to elicit precise, factual information.  Don’t dominate the interview. Let the candidate do most of the talking.  Speak at the language level appropriate for the position for which you are interviewing. Avoid jargon.  Don’t “cross examine” the candidate or pry into personal matters.

45 45 QUESTIONING, LISTENING, OBSERVING & NOTE TAKING continued  Try to encourage the applicant to discuss attitudes, experiences, opinions, abilities, interests and motivations.  Stay focused on the conversation. Never let your mind wander; don’t think ahead to the next question, or appear to lose interest. Occasionally restating, in your own words, the candidate’s response is helpful.  When conducting the interview, observe and note the candidate’s appearance, facial expressions, gestures, pauses and vocal inflections, and other behaviors in reaction to questions posed. Be aware of your own non-verbal signals. See “ Non-Verbal Communication ”.  Take notes unobtrusively. You need to record information for future reference, but you don’t want your note taking to create a distraction or unnerve the candidate. Tell the candidate at the onset of the interview that you will be taking notes. After the interview, you can expand on the notes and complete interview forms (discussed in later section “After the Interview”).

46 46 NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION Non-verbal communication, or “body language”, is an important source of information. People are often unaware of how much information they are providing through indicators such as eye contact, hand gestures, limb movements, etc. Observation of body language may provide valuable information so it is important, as an interviewer, to be aware of your own body language, in addition to observing the behaviors of the candidate. However, while observation is a potential source of accurate information, it can be very easy to misinterpret the behaviors that we are observing.

47 47 NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION continued Facial expressions and other non- verbal communication are indicators of some kind of emotion but, as an interviewer, you still must interpret the emotion. It is a common belief that people who can’t look you in the eye are probably lying. Inversely, more eye contact is considered a sign of honesty, sincerity and interest. This may or may not be the case. “Shifty” eyes may be an indication of deception or may simply reflect nervousness for any number of other reasons. Alternatively, someone making good eye contact may be a well-practiced or pathological liar.

48 48 NON-VERBAL INDICATORS Hand Gestures- there are a number of gestures including finger “steepling”, stroking or touching the chin or cheek that are generally seen as indicators that the communicator is thinking, thereby giving an impression of intellectualism. The problem is that these gestures can be learned as a technique specifically to give this impression and may, therefore, indicate pretentiousness or that the individual is trying to appear intellectual.

49 49 VERBAL INDICATORS Verbal Pauses While pauses may simply be an indication that the candidate is thinking and trying to formulate a response, pauses that are too frequent or too long are a clue of deception. The pauses could indicate that the candidate is lying and did not expect that particular question or did not work out a lie in advance. Other related indicators include stuttering, using “um” or “uh” too frequently etc. Fast Talking If someone speaks at a pace that is too fast, it becomes difficult for the listener to maintain interest and absorb the information. There may also be resistance on the part of some listeners who see fast talking as a sign of deception. Fast talking may be a sign of nervousness and is not a reliable indicator of deception.

50 50 OTHER INDICATORS Posture Behavior: Shoulders hunched forward Potential Meanings: lacking interest or feeling inferior Behavior: Rigid Body Posture Potential Meanings: anxious or uptight Behavior: Crossed arms Potential Meanings: closed off or possibly just cold, protecting the body Behavior: Tapping fingers, leg activity Potential Meanings: agitated, anxious, bored Behavior: Fidgeting with hands or objects Potential Meanings: bored or has something to say Behavior: Leaning forward Potential Meanings: interested Behavior: Still Potential Meanings: more interested in what you are saying than anything Behavior: Mirroring Potential Meanings: likes you and wants to be friendly. Trying to increase your comfort level. From “Reading Body Language for Sales Professionals” by Dennis Kyle

51 51 MORE NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION Mirroring – this is a simple technique to increase the comfort level of another person, especially one who may be closed off to what you are saying. You observe the person’s behavior, and subtly copy the behavior. This will make you appear more friendly and appealing to the listener. Remember, it is essential to interpret all of the verbal and non-verbal indicators and observe the candidates and the situations in their entirety. Experience and practice can increase the accuracy of your interpretations and hiring decisions.

52 52 AFTER THE INTERVIEW...   Expand on your notes and record observations and information obtained during the interview.   Eliminate candidates who you have no interest in hiring.   Check references of candidates that you are considering.   Select a candidate.   Notify all candidates of your decision.

53 53 DOCUMENTING YOUR OBSERVATIONS During the interview you should have taken notes. However, because it was necessary to do so in an unobtrusive manner, the notes will not be detailed. Therefore, after the interview, you should expand on the notes while the interview is fresh in your mind. Be careful about what you write. The interview should have been limited to job-related issues, avoiding impermissible questions (pages 14-35). Notes should follow the same guidelines. Do not make comments that can be construed as discriminatory, such as comments about appearance or any other factor that is not job related. Such comments can be used against you by candidates who are not selected (see page 61). You should also complete a standardized Evaluation Worksheet (sample provided) to record information obtained. A standardized form encourages objectivity and provides for comparisons by forcing you to consider and rate the same criteria for all candidates.

54 To Evaluation Worksheet Notes To Next Section To Table of Contents

55 To History and Worksheet Notes To Next Section To Table of Contents

56 56 WHO WOULD YOU CONSIDER HIRING? After interviewing all candidates, documenting information obtained from the interviews and evaluating this information, you should determine which candidates you would consider hiring. There may be one outstanding candidate who is clearly your top choice. However, remember that the candidate may not accept the job if it is offered, plus, you have not yet checked references. It is, therefore, important to have other qualified candidates in mind and not exclude them from consideration.

57 57 CHECK & EVALUATE REFERENCES You’ve requested references from your candidates; for the candidates that you would consider hiring, you should check them, starting with the most recent employer if possible. Reference checks could provide valuable information and protect your organization. There have been successful lawsuits against companies that hired employees with criminal records who later committed crimes while employed by the new company. While reference checks are clearly valuable to you, former employers may not be willing to provide information. Many employers are reluctant to answer questions about former employees. They may be unwilling to say anything negative and may only verify the past employment of your candidate, or they may provide information that is overly positive. As an interviewer, you need to evaluate the information for credibility, inconsistencies etc. If possible, in an effort to increase the likelihood that former employers will be forthcoming, get written consent from your candidates to check references. At the very least, candidates should be informed that you will be contacting the references that were provided. Negative information obtained from a former employer should not necessarily disqualify a candidate. Consider the circumstances. Consider when the problems existed- people can change. However, patterns of employment problems are definitely a warning signal.

58 58 REFERENCE CHECK BASIC SAMPLE QUESTIONS   What were the beginning and ending employment dates for this individual?   What was this individual's beginning and ending salary?   What positions did the individual hold?   Did this individual earn promotions?   What were the individual's most-recent job duties?   Why did the individual leave your company?   Would you rehire this individual?   Would you recommend this individual for a position at another company? Why or why not?   How did this individual's performance compare to other employees with similar job duties?

59 59 REFERENCE CHECK MORE BASIC SAMPLE QUESTIONS   In your opinion, what are the individual's strengths? Weaknesses?   Did this individual get along well with management and peers?   Was this individual a team player?   Was this individual a motivated self-starter?   Did any personal problems affect this individual's work performance?   Do you think this individual will perform well as a [job title]?   What kind of job is best suited for this individual's abilities?   How would you describe the individual's overall performance?   Is there anything of significance you'd like to add?

60 60 REFERENCE CHECK SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS Sample supplementary questions that you may ask for professionals, managers and executives.   How would you describe the individual's leadership, managerial or supervisory skills?   How do you rate the individual's ability to plan short- term? Long-term?   Did the individual make sound and timely decisions?   Did the individual get along well with management, subordinates and peers?   How would you describe the individual's technical skills?   Did the individual demonstrate honesty and integrity?   How well did the individual manage crises, pressure or stress?

61 61 REFERENCE CHECK CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS Criminal background checks may be required for certain positions. Applicants must be notified if a background check is required, and they must be informed of the procedures for the background check. Our Examination Announcements will contain a statement notifying candidates that a criminal background check may be required. This statement will also be included on our standard application. If a background check is required, candidates should also be notified during the interview process, and the procedure should be explained. *Note to appear on announcements and applications: Background Investigation: Applicants may be required to undergo a State and national criminal history background investigation, which will include a fingerprint check, to determine suitability for appointment. Failure to meet the standards for the background investigation may result in disqualification.

62 62 SELECT A CANDIDATE  After you have reviewed all information that has been gathered through the interview, applications, resumes, writing samples, reference checks, etc, it is time to make your hiring decision, choosing the candidate who best fits the position. You should have at least one backup choice for the eventuality that your top candidate does not accept the position.  Prepare a report justifying your selection decision. The purpose of this report is to document why the individual selected was the best candidate. This report could be important in the event that an unselected candidate challenges your choice based on Human Rights Law or the Civil Rights Act.  Retain all information gathered during the interview process including applications, resumes, writing samples, names, addresses, interview times, questions and responses, interview formats, rating scales, etc. Candidates or employees have a right to see much of this information under article 6A of the Public Officers Law. This law prohibits disclosure of references or of advice and recommendations of interviewers.

63 63 NOTIFY ALL CANDIDATES Notifying the selected candidate. Notification should be done in accordance with the procedures of your agency. In most cases, the personnel office will notify the candidate to make the job offer. Initially, they will phone the candidate and get a verbal acceptance or declination. Upon acceptance, they should follow up with written confirmation of the job offer. The candidate should be provided with all important information including title, status, probation periods, required training, grade and salary, hours, location- including where specifically to report, any special working conditions, etc. If there is any documentation required from the candidate when he/she reports to work, e.g. copies of licenses, transcripts, documentation of employment eligibility, etc, this should be indicated in the written job offer. Declinations. If the candidate declines the offer, the personnel office should determine the reason, indicate the reason in the file, and send, to the candidate, a confirming letter that includes the title and location of the position,and the reason for declination. In the letter, the candidate should be asked to respond if there are any inaccuracies. If, during the interview, a candidate indicates that he or she would not be interested in a job offer, the interviewer should determine and document the reason. Again, written confirmation should be sent to the candidate (page 42).

64 64 NOTIFY ALL CANDIDATES CONTINUED Notifying candidates who were not selected. As a requirement of Civil Service Law, upon selection of a candidate, all other candidates who were considered must be given written notification that the position has been filled, and that they were not selected. In addition to being a legal requirement, such notification is good and courteous personnel practice.

65 Check Sheet Before the interview   Know the job.   Identify the information you will need from each candidate.   Outline the interview as you would like it to proceed and consider the following topics to be covered during the interview: work experience education outside interests   Develop and use a form or standardized format to use during the interview.   Schedule the interviews.   Send written notification to the candidates.   Review all available information, e.g. resumes, applications. Conducting the Interview   Introduce yourself and try to make the candidate feel at ease.   Review the candidate's application/resume with the candidate.   Describe the job/position.   Ask questions including self evaluation questions.   Answer all candidate questions honestly.   Explain to candidate what happens next and then close the interviews. Post-interview   Record your observations.   Determine which candidates you would consider hiring.   Check references of these candidates.   Select a candidate- have an alternate.   Notify the selected candidate and then the unselected candidates.


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