Human Resources

Continuing the Interview

Your Job As Interviewer

Ask questions that are:

  • broad, open-ended,
  • job-related, objective, meaningful,
  • direct, clear, understood,
  • related to the applicant's:
    1. education/training,
    2. work history in chronological order,
    3. attitudes toward work, people, working conditions,
    4. goals, motivation and self-evaluation,
    5. possible reaction to specific situations with the job e.g., pressure, peak loads, supervision.
Listen -- the more you talk, the less you learn about the applicant. Ask follow-up questions -- "how", "why". Maintain control of the process. If pace lags, or if the applicant talks too much or focuses on irrelevant subjects, say, "Let's go back to..." or "Tell me a little more about..."

 Provide honest information about the job:

  • provide a full job description,
  • explain the operation of the department/group,
  • describe working conditions, hours, special policies or procedures of the department/group,
  • be realistic -- don't undersell or oversell.

Types of Questions

Work History - Descriptive
To obtain specific information and to fill in gaps on the application:

  • Tell me a little more about the duties of your present/last job.
  • What are/were the major responsibilities in your present/last job?
  • What do/did you spend the most time doing and how much time is/was spent doing it?
  • What do/did you particularly enjoy doing in your job?
  • There are generally several reasons for leaving a job.What are/were some of your reasons?

Work History - Evaluative

To obtain information about attitudes and motivation toward work:
  • What are/were some of the aspects of your job that you feel particularly good about, and why do you feel that way about them?
  • What are/were some of the more rewarding aspects of your work/job?
  • How has your job prepared you to assume greater responsibilities?
  • What do you feel are/were the greatest frustrations in your present/last job? Why?
  • What is your general impression of the present/last organization/deparment for which you worked?
  • What do/did you particularly like or dislike about your job?
  • How do you feel your work history reflects your job objectives and your abilities?

Working Conditions and Work Relationships
To obtain information about personality characteristics in the work environment:
  • How do/did the people you worked with affect your job?
  • If there are/were negative interactions, how can/could they be/have been improved?
  • What is/was the working environment in your present/last job?
  • Describe your working relationship with your supervisor and co-workers.
  • In all jobs, there are heavy and light periods. What do/did you do in such cases?
  • If there are/were difficulties in your job/how was the situation handled?

Applicant's Goals and Job Objectives

To determine the appropriateness of your position for the applicant:
  • Why did you apply for this particular position?
  • How do you feel your qualifications can best contribute to getting the job done?
  • What is important to you in a job and why would those factors be important?
  • What are your career objectives and how are you preparing yourself to reach them?

Applicant's Self-Evaluation
  • What gives/gave you the most satisfaction in your present/last job? Why?
  • How do you feel you could make the best contribution to the Institution?
  • What do you feel are your outstanding strengths? Your primary weaknesses?

Last updated: April 12, 2010