Conducting Effective Interviews

Job Interviews are stressful for interviewees and candidates.  To help turn a short period of time into an effective evaluation tool, it is best to have a plan for the interview.  There are different types of interviews for selecting candidates.  The University of Florida, HR Department – Recruitment/Staffing, has some good examples of behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral interview – This interview type asks candidates to describe how they have handled specific situations in previous jobs.  Candidates are expected to describe a situation or problem, the actions they took, and what outcome was the result.  Interview questions (when structured), and notes by interviewers, can be combined to create a consistent, repetitive process for various applicants.
Non-directive interviews use very broad questions, and allows the interviewee to focus and guide the conversation.  This allows for a great deal of information, but it is hard to have standard consistent interviews among candidates.
Non-permissible interview questions. Equal Employment Opportunity law requires that candidates not be asked questions that do not have any relationship to the functions of the position.  The following is a list of questions that should not be asked about during an interview:
  • Questions of applicants because you think your clients or customers may have certain prejudices.  Customer preference is not a bona fide occupational qualification.
  • Questions about age, race, color, place of birth, national and family origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry.
  • Questions about the date a candidate graduated from high school or college. You may ask number of years attended and if a degree(s) was obtained.
  • Questions about past, present, or future marital status, pregnancy, plans for a family or childcare issues. You may ask if the applicant has any commitments that would preclude the applicant from satisfying job schedules or performing job-related travel. If such questions are asked, they must be asked of both genders.
  • Questions about the candidate’s state of health or handicap/disability (physical or mental).
  • Questions about family health.
  • Questions about the workers’ compensation history of a candidate.
  • Questions on the basis of sexual preference.
  • Questions that pertain to a candidate’s appearance (height and weight).
  • Questions about financial status or a candidate’s credit rating.
  • Questions about whether a candidate has filed or threatened to file discrimination charges.
  • Questions that would reveal arrests without convictions. You may ask about convictions (but not arrests) for crimes that relate to the candidate’s qualifications for a position.
  • Questions about what type of military discharge they received.
  • Questions about citizenship.

The Uniformed Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures were developed,in part, by the EEOC to assist employers in complying with the requirements of Title VII and other federal EEO laws.

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