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Successful interviewing strategies
  • Interviewers should follow the 80/20 rule when interviewing applicants.

To keep the interview process not only legal, but successful, interviewers should:

  • Use a pre-scripted list of questions designed to help judge applicants’ qualifications, skill levels, and overall competence;
  • Ask the same questions of each candidate to avoid discrimination issues, but prepare specific questions for individuals to explore their work history and education;
  • Verify the information provided on the application or resume and ask applicants to explain any gaps in employment history or excessive job hopping;
  • Thoroughly describe the company and the position. Stress the good points about the job, but don’t mislead. Explain any aspects that may have presented problems in the past.
    • Some people welcome a challenge or are not intimidated due to successfully handling such issues in the past.
    • For others, it won’t be a good fit, but it’s best to know that at the outset before making a bad hire; and
  • Let the applicant do most of the talking by follow the 80/20 rule, where the candidate does 80 percent of the talking and the interviewer does 20 percent.
    • Don’t feel the need to ask a question every time the candidate pauses. Silence will often encourage the candidate to offer more explanation.

It’s okay to take notes after each interview to remember who said what, but employers must be careful that what is written down won’t create liability for discrimination. For example, they shouldn’t write down a physical description based on race, national origin, or age to remember a candidate.