Recruitment & Selection
- Good interviews
- Good interviewers
- Developing the questions for the interview
- Overview of the interview process
Research has shown that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Whenever possible, candidates should be asked open-ended questions leading to answers that will demonstrate instances of past activities/incidents relevant to the selection criteria.
So that all candidates are treated equally, similar areas should be tested with each candidate. Different questions may be asked of each candidate and issues which are ambiguous, or arise in the interview or from the application, should be explored. Questions should be directly related to the selection criteria and the experience of the person.
The selection interview is a two-way process. While the Selection Committee is selecting the successful applicant, the candidates are also selecting the University. The interview is an opportunity for the Selection Committee to evaluate the specific job and employment related characteristics of each applicant and for the candidate to gain a realistic appreciation of the requirements of the position.
To accomplish this, the interview must be well designed, well structured, and well conducted to accomplish its intended purpose.
- allow sufficient time;
- are conducted in a private and comfortable environment;
- pose probing questions without creating undue stress;
- have questions framed around the selection criteria;
- have the candidates’ responses recorded;
- will clarify each candidate’s interpersonal skills;
- will explore gaps or discrepancies;
- probe reasons for leaving previous positions;
- where each panel member checks their assumptions and biases;
- clarify that the applicant can carry out all aspects of the job.
Good interviews are conducted by trained staff who:
- canvas core topics agreed upon and asked of all candidates;
- maintain control of the interview;
- apply criteria in an objective and neutral way in their evaluation of the candidates;
- have the ability to formulate probing questions that lead to a full, complete and accurate picture of the candidate;
- are objective and neutral in their evaluation of the candidates and their employment situations;
- have the ability to draw out examples of the individual?s attitudes, temperament, beliefs and experiences;
- know about legal issues concerning discriminatory inference and/or intrusive questions that infringe on privacy;
- are highly skilled at listening and evaluating what is being said and how it is expressed;
- are professional but friendly, helping the applicant feel relaxed and comfortable enough to present in the best possible way.
Developing the questions for the interview
To build open-ended questions leading to answers that will demonstrate instances of past activities/incidents relevant to the selection criteria we recommend using a STAR approach.
The following table is to assist selection panel members to develop a STAR question:
Questions are probing and aim to get the candidate to describe the Situation, Task, Action they took and the Result (STAR):
|Situation or Task Questions||
Gut feeling: It is important to test your gut feeling with specific questions relating to the job in question.
Weigh the significance of each STAR by considering its:
- Similarity - how closely does the situation relate to the target job?
- Impact - How important was the situation/result?
- Recency - When did the behaviour occur?
Rate each dimension, considering the most significant STARS.
Will your line of questioning treat all applicants equally?
- Put yourself in the position of the interviewee.
- Would you be comfortable answering the questions you propose to ask as the interviewer?
- Could you legally defend your questions if necessary?
- Are your questions directly related to the requirements of the position?
- Do you need to ask the question?
Questions which unlawfully discriminate may be asked out of habit or may reflect assumptions or biases about groups of people. Such questions may refer to:
- Marital situation
- Parental or childcare arrangements
- Religion (eg. religious holidays)
- Ethnic origin (where born / understanding of English)
- Political affiliation
- Previous medical history
The following Acts form the legislation in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace:
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 1995
- Federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986,
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and
- Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986.
The Right Questions
Are relevant to the published selection criteria and to the performance of inherent requirements of the position.
|The Wrong Question||The Right Question|
|What are your childcare arrangements?||The job requires international travel. How flexible are you with regard to this activity? Are you able to spend time away from home?|
|What would you do if your partner got a job overseas?||It is important to us, that the incumbent give a long term commitment to this position, are you in a position to do that?|
|Have you ever been treated for any serious disease/ workplace injury?||Is there anything in your personal circumstances that may affect your ability to carry out the requirements of the position?|
|The position demands a high degree of management responsibility. Do you think you are old enough to handle it?||You will work under a lot of pressure and deal with responsibility. Can you indicate times when you have acted with authority and dealt with pressure?|
|Convince me that you can do the job even though you are blind.||Are there special devices or equipment, or other adjustments you would need? Will your disability affect your job performance?|
If you are uncertain about your line of questioning or would like more information about the current legislative requirements, contact your Human Resources Consultant or the Equal Opportunity Unit.
Overview of the Interview Process
Before the Interview
- Check if the interviewees have any special requirements with regards to accessing the venue and room arrangements.
- Organise someone to show applicants around at end of interview if appropriate.
- Organise tea/coffee/water.
- Check room/organise seating in a non-threatening arrangement.
Prepare for the Interview
- Selection panel should convene 15 minutes early to discuss the meeting process.
- Review the selection criteria and the required technical skills and performance skills.
- Ensure that the list of questions to be asked relate directly to the selection criteria, and seek behavioural examples of past performance.
- Decide which questions each panel member will ask and the roles they will take.
- Nominate someone to stay in touch with the applicants during the selection process.
Opening the Interview
- Greet the applicant and ensure that they are comfortable and if possible relaxed.
- Introduce the panel members.
- Explain the overall process to be used in the interview.
- Ask them if they are familiar with the position description and whether they have any questions about the position.
- Tell the applicant a bit about the organisation, work place etc., (especially if the person is an external applicant).
- Explain that the panel will be taking notes.
- Ask a background question which relates to the applicants past work experience.?The purpose of this question is to get the person talking and determine, to some degree, the extent to which previous roles related to this position.
Body of the Interview
- Use rapport-building questions.
- Ask open ended questions.
- Allow silence.
- Seek contrary evidence.
- Retain control of the interview by tactfully asking the next question if it becomes necessary to refocus the candidate or move on to a new topic.
- Gain behavioural examples.
- Follow with probing questions to get the candidate to describe the Situation, Task, Action they took and the Result (STAR).
- Follow up on issues in the résumé which require clarification and/or verification.
- Ask a question relating to whether the applicant feels they have had an opportunity to fully describe their capabilities for the position.
- Ask the applicant if they have any questions which they would like to ask.
- Check whether the panel members have any other questions.
- Check information you have asked them to bring along eg. certificates.
- Explain what will happen after the interview including how they will be notified of the outcome, and the expected timeframe involved with decision making.
- Check context and availability of referees.