Interview Techniques for Savvy Human Resources Professionals

Interview Techniques for Savvy Human Resources Professionals
  • Opening Intro -

    Human Resources professionals have their work cut out for them especially when a critical new hire has to be found, vetted and hired.


It can be an especially lengthy and arduous journey when specialized and senior management candidates are involved, a task requiring that much legwork be successfully completed. You can find the right person for the right job by employing the following interview techniques.

Phone Screen First

With stacks of resumes to consider, you can whittle the list by making a few phone calls. Those calls are to the top candidates you have already identified, individuals that appear to have what it takes to handle the position.

A screening interview can reveal much about a candidate, no less than that person’s interest in the job. Arrange for a call when both you and the interviewee can talk for 15 to 20 minutes without interruption. Do not go past the allotted time; stick to a mutually understood timeframe.

What to Ask

Consider every phone interview part of a weeding process. You want to identify people that might be called in for an interview as well as to dismiss those that are not qualified for the job. Your basic questions should confirm the individual’s contact information, job history and skill sets. Once the basics are out of the way, then you can move on to weightier matters.

Questions or statements to put forth include the following: Tell me about yourself. This is a lead in question and a set up for what will come next. The next question should be: Why are you interested in the position? This question can help you identify the person’s qualifications and listen for the keywords that fit the job description.

Other questions to ask include, “Why do you want to leave your present position?” and “Where do you see yourself in three years?” You can also ask the person why they should be invited in for a face-to-face interview. From these five questions, invite the strongest candidates for an in-person interview.

Face-to-Face Interviews

The first round of in-person interviews will help you narrow your candidate list further. If your list now has six to eight candidates, you can will want to identify the three or four strongest candidates.

Frame your questions so that you can draw out thoughtful and intelligent responses for each candidate. Those questions should include:

  • What are your strengths, weaknesses and interests?
  • What motivates you to do your best?
  • How can you contribute to our company?
  • Describe a tough situation with a co-worker and how you handled it.
  • When the pressure builds, how do you respond?
  • Who in the business world do you admire the most?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Eliminate candidates that are evasive, give poor responses or demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm for the position. Other disqualifying factors include interview tardiness, improper attire and the way that these individuals comport themselves.

The Finalists

With two or three strong candidates identified the final leg of your interviewing will be a two-step process. The first step will be to arrange for an interview with the reporting manager or chief executive. Those interviews will gauge the person’s competency and interest in the job. Also, the person who will be working closest with this individual will be best suited to determine who he would like to work with.

The second step is to invite the strongest candidate to work a day on the job or to complete an assignment. This “day at the office” will help your team determine if this individual can handle the job. If so, make an offer as quickly as possible. If the offer is accepted, you have successfully completed the interview process.

See Also7 Job Interview Tips for Prospective Employees


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Categories: Small Business

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".