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Interview

Interview

Interview questions

Many interviewers and candidates are keenly interested in ‘tough’ questions. However, from the interviewer’s perspective asking ‘tough’ questions is not usually helpful. It is advisable not to place undue pressure on candidates because people tend to withdraw and become defensive when they are under pressure.  We learn more about people when they relax.

It’s better therefore to focus on ‘good’ interview questions rather than ‘tough’ ones. These questions encourage candidates to think about themselves and to give the interview clear revealing information as to their needs, capabilities, experience, personality and suitability for the job. The best interview questions can therefore be the ones which most help candidates to reveal their past experience, skills, knowledge and attitudes.

It is beneficial to highlight to the candidate that the interview is about them and their chance to sell themselves, it is not what their team or department has achieved.

Interview questions not to ask

Asking questions about the following subjects is a breach of one or more legislative Acts that are in place to safeguard against discrimination.

  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital and family status
  • Health and physical disability

Avoid questions such as:

  • What is your native language?
  • Where were you born?
  • How would you dress to meet a client?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you plan to have a family?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you have a disability or chronic illness?
  • Do you observe religious holidays that may not be national holidays?
  • Do you smoke/drink?

Types of interviews

Telephone

Occasionally interviews are carried out over the telephone, before inviting candidates to a face to face meeting. This process can be used to screen and make sure applicants meet the requirements.  A telephone interview can be a cost effective way to screen candidates.

One-on-one

Often called a personal interview, this will enable the employer to ask questions about the candidates experience, skills, work history and availability.

Panel

These interviews involve a number of people sitting on a panel with one acting as Chairperson.

Attitude/Competency

Designed to enable the interviewer to elicit meaningful and compete answers to questions asking for examples. Using the acronym STAR:  Situation, Task, Action, Result

Task Oriented or Testing

Problem-solving or short test interview, will evaluate a candidates technical knowledge and skill.  Sometimes a presentation to a group is necessary to determine communications ability.