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Candidate Scheduling & Interview Questions

Effective Interviewing Part II: Candidate Scheduling and Interview Questions

If you read part one of my effective interviewing series, you know that the next step is getting ready for the interview process. In part two, I want to focus on 2 major components:

  1. Candidate Scheduling
  2. Interview Questions

Scheduling your time

Let’s start here. Interviewing, when done effectively, can be time-consuming. It is not often we identify the ideal candidate during the first interview. Even if the first interview goes well, how do you know your second or third candidate is not equally as good or better? 

Once you identify your 2-4 candidates to interview, it is time to schedule. I don’t recommend scheduling more than four candidates. You can always schedule more if you don’t find the right fit in the first round. If you do a thorough resume/CV screen, with a little luck and a solid candidate pool, you will find your ideal candidate in the first round. 

My tips for scheduling interviews so you do not feel overwhelmed by all the work that is not getting done while you are interviewing. 

  1. Try to schedule all candidates within the same week.
  2. Do not schedule more than 2 (3 at the most) interviews in one day.
  3. Whenever possible, schedule one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  4. Do not schedule back-to-back interviews. 

In advance of scheduling interviews, make sure you have all of the information the candidate will need so they are prepared for the interview. 

  1. Location of interview
  2. Any special instructions – parking, entrance doors, etc.
  3. Name, title and contact information of the interviewer or an administrative assistant, just in case something happens and they are delayed or need to cancel. 

Interview Questions

Create your interview questions before the interview. Do not wing it! If you try to wing it, a few things may happen:

  1. You will not ask all candidates the same questions
  2. Your process will be disorganized
  3. If you are not asking well-thought-out questions, how do you know if you are finding the right person?

It is my recommendation to create three groups of questions:

  1. Behavioral-based questions
  2. Cultural fit questions
  3. Technical or skill set questions

You do not need too many questions. You can create 2 or 3 questions from each of these groups. If it is a professional-level position, you may want to include more than 3 skill set types of questions.

Behavioral-based questions

This type of question will help you understand your candidates’ prior experiences and how they performed in various situations.

Cultural fit questions 

This type of question will assist you in finding those that believe in you, your vision, and your organization. Does the candidate share your values? Do they “fit” within your organization?

Technical/Skill set fit questions

Technical questions are specific to the role you are filling. What skills does your new hire need to be successful in this role? 

You should become familiar with the questions you cannot ask your candidates. There are laws in place to protect you from asking questions and making hiring decisions based on protected classes. Please become familiar with those protected classes. If you are in the United States, you can find more information on protected classes at www.eeoc.gov and www.dol.gov. Your hiring decision should be based on the best overall fit within your organization and nothing more. 

When creating your questions, do not ask questions that result in a yes or no response. Ask open-ended questions causing your candidate to put a little thought into their response. Ask questions that will result in getting you the response you want to hear.

Remember, your whole goal is to hire the best person for the job. You want your new hire to have the right experience, attitude and behaviors that best fit within your organization. Organized candidate scheduling and prepared interview questions will help your interview process. 

If you want to learn how to effectively interview candidates, I can help. You can contact me at Kristin@HRCreativeConsulting.com

Finally, for more effective interviewing tips, tools and templates, check out my book: No More Hiring Regrets. You can find it here: https://tinyurl.com/29fxpw72

Stay tuned for Part III!

Thanks for reading.