HR and the Small Business: Prescriptions like ‘know the job’ know the skills you’re looking for and structure the job interview can be easier said than done, even if you’re working at a Fortune 500 company and certainly if you’re on your own as an entrepreneur. All the corporate resources will not do you much good if the company has not made provisions to provide employment interview training and support for its managers. There you sit with a candidate about to arrive for the job interview. What should you do?
Following these guidelines is probably the preferred approach, but perhaps you don’t have the time to create, say, a structured situational interview. What follows is a streamlined procedure for crafting job relevant questions and interviews.
Preparing for the Interview:
Even a busy entrepreneur or manager can quickly specify the kind of person who would be best for the job. One way to do so is to focus on four basic required factors – knowledge and experience, motivation, intellectual capacity and personality and to ask the following questions:
Knowledge and experience: What must the candidate know to perform the job? What experience is absolutely necessary to perform the job?
Motivation: What should the person likes doing to enjoy this job? Is there anything the person should not dislike? At there any essential goals or aspirations the person should have? Are there any unusual energy demands on the job?
Intellectual capacity: Are there any specific intellectual aptitudes required mathematical, mechanical, and so on? How complex are the problems the person must solve? What must a person be able to demonstrate he or she can do intellectually? How should the person solve problems cautiously, deductively, and so on?
Personality factor: What are the critical personality qualities needed for success on the job (ability to withstand boredom, decisiveness, stability, and so on)? How must the job incumbent handle stress, pressure and criticism? What kind of interpersonal behavior is required in the job up the line, at peer level, down the line, and outside the firm with customers?
Specific Factors to Probe in the Interview: For example: Intellectual factor: Here, assess such things as complexity of tasks the person has performed, grades in school, test results (including scholastic aptitude tests, and so on) and how the person organizes his or her thoughts and communicates.
Motivation factor: Probe such areas as: The person’s likes and dislikes (for each thing done, what he or she liked or disliked about it); aspirations (including the validity of each goal in terms of the person’s reasoning about why he or she chose it); and energy level, perhaps by asking what he or she does on, say, a typical day.
Personality factor: Probe by looking for self defeating behaviors (aggressiveness, compulsive fidgeting, and so on) and by exploring the person’s past interpersonal relationships. Ask questions about the person’s past interactions (working in a group at school, working with fraternity brothers or sorority sisters, leading the work team on the last job, and so on). Also, try to judge the person’s behavior in the interview itself – is the candidate personable? Shy? Outgoing?
Knowledge and experience factor: Probe with situational questions such as – How would you organize such a sales effort? How would you design that kind of Web sites?
Conducting the Interview: Have a plan: You should also devise and use a plan to guide the interview. Significant areas to cover include the candidate’s:
1. College experiences
2. Work experiences – summer, part time
3. Work experience – full time (one by one)
4. Goals and ambitious
5. Actions to the job you are interviewing for
6. Self assessments by the candidates of his or her strengths d weaknesses.
7. Military experiences
8. Present outside activities
Follow Your Plan: Perhaps start with an open ended question for each topic, such as Could you tell me about what you did when you were in high school? Keep in mind that you are trying to elicit information about four main traits – intelligence, motivation, personality, and Knowledge and experience. You can then accumulate the information in each of these four areas as the person answers. Follow up on particular areas that you want to pursue by asking questions like, Could you elaborate on that please?
Match the candidate to the job: After following the interview plan and probing for the four factors, you should be able to draw conclusions about the person’s intellectual capacity, knowledge and experience, motivation, and personality and to summarize the candidate’s general strengths and limitations. You should them compare your conclusions to both the job description and the list of behavioral specifications you developed when preparing for the interview. This should provide a rational basis for matching the candidate to the job – one based on an analysis of the traits and aptitudes the job actually requires.
You might use an interview evaluation form compile your impressions.