Top 5 Job Posting Tips:

1.    Create your job posting with an online audience in mind. Space is not a concern with an online job ad! Make sure to use your posting as an opportunity to tell a complete story. Include relevant keywords in your job description. Use familiar job titles and never abbreviate the job title or important elements of your description. With the increase in job seekers using search engines as a tool in their job search, abbreviations will have a negative impact on SEO.
2.    Describe your open position in detail. A great posting should include a brief company overview-including what sets your organization apart from others, complete description of the position and requirements, and information on salary & benefits. Also, if your company has a hiring strategy around diversity or military personnel mention those initiatives.
3.    Make sure that your posting is easy to read. Break up lengthy ad copy with bullet points and paragraph breaks. Highlight the important elements of your post by bolding, underlining or italicizing key points.
4.    Maximize exposure to your open position by selecting multiple relevant industries. For example if you are looking to fill a Director of Marketing position for a healthcare organization link your job posting to the following industries: marketing, medical/healthcare and healthcare administration. This will ensure that you position is seen by candidates that search for jobs by industry.
5.    Use your job posting as an opportunity to extend your company’s brand. Consider adding your logo or a company profile to your posting. Branding helps your posting standout in the minds of jobseekers.


12 steps in a First Class Selection Process

  1. Job Description
  2. Sourcing Strategy to locate qualified applicants
  3. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to qualify and manage each applicant.
  4. Review a Resume to gather good information
  5. Conduct a Telephone Screen to identify qualifications and how well they speak
  6. Organizational Readiness Assessment to check for organizational fit
  7. A behaviorally structured interview to get to meet the applicant personally
  8. Job Fit assessment to check if the candidate is the right behavioral fit for the job.
  9. Conduct a second level interview to get another perspective of the applicant
  10. Negotiation of Position – Salary and Responsibilities – Make an offer.
  11. Background Check & Drug Screening
  12. Complete Paperwork for the new hire and conduct On-Boarding process.

The Process

1.  Job description

The foundation of a good hiring and selection process starts with a good job description. If you don’t know what you are looking for how can you find the right person for your job? Organizations tend to hire for skill and fire for behavior. Make sure your job description describes the entire job; not just the tasks assigned.

Every well written job descriptions should contain these elements: A simple summary; Minimum requirements; The specific tasks and standards for accomplishing the job; The essential behaviors required for success; Tools required; Knowledge necessary; An outline of the customers of position

  1. Review for accuracy – Is the job description current and a reflection of the position’s responsibilities, authority, and accountability?
  2. Does it fit with the organization’s strategic direction?
  3. Does it accurately describe both the tasks or what they do as well as the behaviors or how they do it?
  4. Prepare to use both the full Job Description (JD) as well as a Job Description Summary (JDS) in the process. You will also have to create a “job ad” description specifically designed to attract candidates to your job. Use HR Out of the Box for the most accurate way to record your job descriptions. It also creates all the other critical components of your human system such as a learning checklist and a performance plan.    

2.  sourcing strategy

How to get applicants to apply for your job.

  1. Open a job posting site
  2. Create a job posting media plan
  3. Select the job boards that are most appropriate for your position.
  4. Place your job ad in your site under the TalentValue Recruiting system.
  5. Then the TalentValue system will automatically place your job advertisement in all the Job Boards you selected and the company’s web site if you choose.
  6. Applicant uses the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to apply for the job.

You will create a series of pre-qualification questions to screen each candidate. These are the technical questions you need asked to determine if they have the specific job knowledge and other criteria needed to do the job.

  1. You will weight each question to assist in ranking each person most qualified to least qualified based on their answers.
  2. Some questions will be automatic knock-out questions to eliminate those who are clearly not qualified for the job.
  3. When the applicant answers each technical question the system creates a score depending on how you have weighted the importance of each job.


  1. Applicants flow into the TalentValue
  2. Each candidate for the job completes the application and answers the questions.
  3. Each question is rated based on the scoring system when you set up the job earlier. A total score is given so you can compare one applicant’s scores to another applicant’s scores.
  4. The applicant posts their resume in the system. You will review the applicant’s resume and background to further qualify the candidate that have the highest scores. You save time when you only focus on the most qualified candidates for your job opening.
  5. You can also see the source where the applicant found you. In other words which job board the applicant used to apply to your job. This is great to determine where you get your most qualified candidates for future postings.

4. how to review a resume

  1. Resumes screened and culled out by immediate Manager
  2. Best applicants identified using resume and score on technical and company questions
  3. Examine the resume:
    1. Review for completeness
    2. Review for unique or special skills and knowledge
    3. Review the format – A person sending you their resume should have a format that will allow you to quickly understand what they have done and what they can do.
    4. Review the writing style – Can they speak in short sentences. Is it sloppy? Are their grammatical or spelling errors?
    5. Review the key words – Look for the key items or words that are critical for a person to be successful in this job.
    6. Review for gaps in employment
    7. Review for patterns and inconsistencies – time lines; job hopping; significant changes in responsibilities.
  4. Make notes on separate piece of paper or on a Post-it note if there are any questions that you have. Do not write on the resume itself. The ATS system does provide you a place to put notes with the candidate. Be careful how you use this tool. Do not use discriminatory language or comments.
  5. Schedule a telephone interview with the applicant at a mutually convenient time

5. the Telephone screen.

  1. Call each potential applicant personally to further qualify potential candidates for the job.
  2. Qualify and screen potential candidates in terms of general interest in the job
  3. Use “Telephone Interview” procedure
  4. Ask the same questions, in the same order, to everyone you talk to on the phone. Write down what they say to each question.
  5. Use a telephone interview form. Write their responses down. Do not write an editorial. Write only the facts. Listen not only to the words but how they sound and react to your questions.
  6. Do evaluate how they responded on each question as well as an overall judgment if they should continue the process at the end of the telephone discussion.
  7. Establish the range of Salary expectations.
  8. Convey the next step in the process and gain consent to schedule a behavioral assessment.
  9. Schedule a time to conduct an in-person interview based on the outcome of the assessment.
  10. Conduct an Organizational Readiness Assessment before the face-to-face interview.


Most managers hire for skill and fire for behavior. You have just done a preliminary review of the candidate for their technical qualifications. Now we need to examine their behavioral fit to the job and the organization.

The first is an on-line Organizational Readiness Assessment that looks at the candidate’s attitudes on topics such as: how dependable they are; how aggressive they might be; their attitudes toward drugs and alcohol; their honesty; tendency for computer abuse; and sexual harassment or how they treat others in the workplace.

Building an organization that is based on respect and courtesy can start with your employee’s core behaviors. Assessments such as these generate questions that can be used in subsequent interviews at the appropriate time.

For those applicants that seem to qualify technically, you should provide them with an Organizational Readiness Assessment to get a preliminary feel for their behaviors and general attitudes. You can use this information as you go through the rest of the interviewing and hiring process.

7. conduct a face-to-face Interview

The most critical aspect of a good interview is to ask exactly the same questions; in precisely the same order; to every person you interview. While a combination of technical and behavioral questions are important, the behavioral questions will separate the best individuals who will be right for your company.

There are 3 purposes to conducting a face-to-face interview

  1. To determine if they have the technical experience and skills to do the job as required.
  2. To determine if they have the behaviors that will fit into the job you need done.
  3. To determine if they will fit into the culture of your organization.

Use the “Applicant Interview” form when questioning the applicant. – It should be constructed from the job description based on the tasks they will be expected to perform, and the behaviors required for success.

Ask the questions and record any pertinent comments to the right in the comment box provided.  The purpose of this comment box is to record a summary of the applicant’s responses… a phrase or two to illustrate what the person said. It is not to record your impression of the comments – whether they were good or bad.

Place a check mark in the upper right, upper left, bottom left, or bottom right of the comment box. This indicates your qualitative judgment as to the applicant’s answers compared to the answers we were looking for.  Did you think the candidate answered the question well?  Use the definitions on the bottom as indicated.

Put a small check mark at the Top Left if the applicant’s response is a “Very High Quality Response” You are pleased with the answer and it fits the requirements of the job extremely well.

  1. Top Right is a “Reasonably Good Answer or Response”
  2. Bottom Left for a “Response that leaves something to be desired.”
  3. Bottom Right for a “Poor Answer” – one that you consider to be weak and not matching the requirements of the job.
  4. This evaluation of a candidate’s answer is strictly a subjective judgment on your part. Did you like the way he or she responded?
  5. Probe applicant’s answers when appropriate.
  6. Make the probe an open-ended question that forces the applicant to elaborate and clarify their response.
  7. Don’t dwell on the answer but continue on to the other questions.
  8. Use the questions as a guideline for a general discussion of the topic and note how the applicant responds.
  9. All the questions should be asked.
  10. The applicant’s response may lead you to probe further as to why they answered as they did. You may wish to ask other probing questions for further clarification. Do not spend too much time exploring any one question or answer. There are many questions that need to be asked and we want to gather all the information possible. Dwelling on one set of questions may not allow you the time to ask the other questions required.
  11. Choose the few candidates that seem to fit your requirements. Schedule a Job Fit Assessment in preparation for further face-to-face interviews.

8. the Job Fit Behavioral Assessment.

  1. The Organizational Readiness Assessment looks at how the applicant will fit within the company. The Job Fit Behavioral Assessment looks at how the applicant will fit with the job they will be doing.
  2. Establish a benchmark based on the success patterns of your most successful performers.
  3. Select those individuals based on actual verifiable performance indicators; those people who are the most successful achievers in that position in your organization.
  4. Allow the applicant to take the appropriate Job Fit assessment. Contact your TalentValue advisor for full details, information, and how to select the best assessment for your position.
  5. Examine the distortion, validity or candidness score to determine if this candidate’s assessment is an accurate reflection of their core behaviors. It may be appropriate to discount their responses and results because of inconsistencies, inaccuracies and omissions. The assessment will identify where that is appropriate to do.
  6. Besides the actual numerical scores, also look to the explanations around each category to see if there are particular areas that cause you to be especially pleased or concerned. It may be that they may be a good fit for this job but not your organization.
  7. An assessment should be only 1 part out of 3 parts in your consideration whether or not to hire. (1) Interview looks at both technical and behavioral impressions. (2) A technical assessment of the candidate’s skills confirms their skill level. (3) A behavioral assessment examines the behaviors and attitudes that drive success on the job. Hire for both skill AND behavior. These are all management tools to help you select the best person you can for your company. These assessments are intended to provide you with more objective data to make what is essentially a subjective judgment. Is this person the right fit for the job?

9. conduct a second level interview

  1. Have the applicant continue with a second level interview if you believe that the person should be considered.
  2. The second person interviewing the applicant should be using the interviewing form as well. Have him or her ask the next set of questions in the interviewing process.
  3. Each interviewer should record in the appropriate comment space for future evaluations of the applicant.
  4. Examine for technical/task competence and behavioral competence; Look for match with overall culture of organization and the department in which the person will work.
  5. They should record the candidate’s comments in the appropriate comment box as well as their qualitative evaluation of the candidate’s responses.

Compare all answers and comments along with the results from the appropriate technical and behavioral assessments.

Come to a conclusion whether to extend a formal job offer to the applicant using ALL the tools available to you. An informed decision is usually a good decision.   


10. negotiate salary and job position

Make sure the compensation program is both internally and externally equitable. If you want a review of your entire compensation processes see your local TalentValue advisor.

11. conduct background check and drug screen

When you decide to proceed with extending an offer, make it conditional on a successful outcome of a comprehensive reference, criminal background check and clear drug screen. On approval of the offer, order the appropriate services; we recommend using our trusted affiliate Veriproved Screening.        Note: You must have the applicant fill out and sign a background release consent form.  This is a legal requirement before you can proceed. The background company will not proceed without the authorization from the applicant.

Our recommendation for basic employee positions is as follows, we advise you to use a professional, accredited CRA (Credit Reporting Agency) to conduct background and drug screening service to assure compliance with EEO.

These are some of the recommended background checks you may wish to examine based on your company policy related to job specific requirements. Ask for a complete list of background checks from our certified affiliate Veriproved Background and Drug Screening services.  You must be very careful about ordering these checks. Each check must have a specific job related reason why they are ordered.

Note: your company’s policy should be clearly stated in your employee handbook.

12. proceed with paperwork and on-boarding.

  • I-9- Must be filed within 3 days of hire date or EEO penalties may apply
  • W2 Federal & W-4 State
  • Payroll parameters
  • Sign up for your company benefits.
  • Conduct Orientation of Company Rules and Handbook. See the complete Orientation Checklist.
  • Train and introduce new hire to the requirements of the job using the Learning Checklist and Worker Training Programs..



The TalentValue Recruiting System is a structured approach that you can use for all your staffing requirements. It is legally critical to use the same process for every hire. Any deviation may result in legal exposure to you and your company as well as a potential charge of discrimination. Most importantly it will provide you with a powerful engine to find the right people; put them on the right bus; in the right seat; at the right time.


If you have questions contact your TalentValue advisor for clarification and advice.

Thank you.


TalentValue                                www.talentvalue.com                          954-356-2132

95 Mashuena Drive

Warwick, R.I. 02888                  support@talentvalue.com

The 5 worst interview questions & what to ask instead

The interview remains a hiring manager’s most effective tool for evaluating job candidates. Unfortunately, managers too often rely on a list of standard interview questions for which most applicants have canned responses.

The message: Ask generic questions and you’ll get generic answers.

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Here are five common questions to avoid, according to an OfficeTeam report, as well as suggestions for more productive queries that will help you make the correct hiring choice:

  1. Don’t ask:Can you tell me about yourself?

This question will simply encourage job applicants to summarize their résumés, wasting precious time and preventing you from finding out any new information.

Instead, ask:What professional accomplishments are you most proud of and why?

Instead of asking for a laundry list, this question forces candidates to elaborate on the most pertinent aspects of their work history.

  1. Don’t ask:What are your strengths?

This is such a common question posed by hiring managers that candidates usually trot out a prepared, vanilla response that teaches you nothing.

Instead, ask:What is your greatest professional strength, and how have you used it to overcome a challenge in your career?

This question compels candidates not only to describe a strength they possess but also to expand on how they’ve applied it in a real situation. It can be especially revealing when interviewing candidates for technical positions because it allows you to gauge whether they can explain their successes in terms anyone can understand.

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  1. Don’t ask:What are your weaknesses?

Candidates typically come prepared with weakness-turned-positives—“I work too hard” or “I’m sometimes too detail-oriented”—that disclose nothing about their true shortcomings.

Instead, ask: Can you describe a time when you didn’t accomplish a goal and how you rectified the situation?

Your goal is to find out how the candidate has dealt with adversity in the past. Did they solicit help from co-workers? Did they act right away? Did they take responsibility? This question can be especially helpful when interviewing management-level candidates.

  1. Don’t ask:Why do you want to work here?

While this could help you find out how much the applicant knows about your organization, chances are you’ll also receive praise about the organization that borders on insincerity.

Instead, ask: What specifically attracted you to our organization?

This question forces applicants to articulate why they view your organization as “unique” and “a good place to work.” It allows you to assess not only their depth of knowledge about your organization, but also whether they truly want to work for the company.

  1. Don’t ask:Do you prefer to work alone or with a team?

These days, employers need workers who can excel in team and individual roles, rendering this question obsolete.

Instead, ask: Can you describe an example of when you worked with a colleague or group to solve a problem?

Ideal candidates will be able to demonstrate that they can work effectively with people from different departments and at various levels in the organization.

Selecting the right people in good times and tough times

“If you happen to be a business fortunate enough to be hiring these days, how are you going about it? It seems that the first challenge in finding your next great hire is to find a way to screen the flood of applicants you’re sure to receive; to find the cream amidst all that milk. But how do you do this?

If you want the best, hire the best. First class employees deliver a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. Do not settle for any person who just shows up. Go after the people who can take your business to the next level of productivity and effectiveness.

8 Steps to a First-Class Selection Process

  1. Write a Job Description

This is important because it outlines exactly what you want in an individual and provides the foundation for setting the appropriate expectations and accountability. A job has essentially two parts – the technical competency – or what you do and the behavioral competence or how you do it. It is the behaviors that separate the successful from the mediocre.

    1. Task – (What you do) defined by looking at the best in the position. Identifying what the right process and steps are to do the job correctly. Also, for each task you should clearly define the measurements and precisely what it means to do that task well. So, answering the phone is not just “what’s up!” but a step-by-step guideline as to what is expected on the job.
    2. Behaviors – Define the behaviors. (How you do it) Make sure that you are clear about the culture and the manner in which the job should be done. These are identified by what the customers and clients of the company are expecting. For example – – they listen, they are organized, they are adaptable, they follow through and they have a positive mental attitude. Choose the behaviors to support the way you want your company to run.
  1. Develop a good sourcing strategy.
    1. Identify the 5 most important technical skills and competencies you need to do this job and the 5 most important behavioral competencies you.
    2. Decide where you can place your advertisement so that the best qualified applicants apply. Despite the large number of people who are now available, sometimes the best people are still working. They may be the person who you truly want for your company. Write the ad from the perspective of your potential employee to make it the most attractive for the best in your industry. And say thank you at the end of each ad. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
    3. Some ads should be in print media, some on the Internet and some through good networking contacts.
    4. Screening candidates is now a straight-forward process of choosing those people who best fit the criteria or are at least close. Look for results not just activities on a resume. What did they accomplish or did they just “take up space.” Review the resume for completeness, spelling and grammatical errors. If they do not have the discipline to get it right here, what are the chances they will get it right on the job?  Review for unique or special skills and knowledge that will bring a new perspective to the company. Review for people who can get things done.
    5. Make notes on separate pieces of paper for any questions that you have. Do not write on the resume itself.
  1. Set up an applicant tracking process.
    1. Keep track of those who you select for interviewing and those who you do not choose to interview.
    2. Identify when you made contact and when you are to talk with them again.
  2. Conduct behaviorally structured interviews.

The purpose of an interview:

  • Evaluate the candidate
    1. Attempt to predict whether the candidate will be successful on the job.
    2. Gain information on the candidates:
      1. Skills and knowledge of the technical tasks to be accomplished.
      2. Behaviors – how they will handle the relationships with other people and how the candidate fits into your company.
  • Attitudes – towards work and people
  1. Values – whether they have the same values as the company.
  • Sell the company.
    1. Does the candidate want to work here?
    2. The candidate has options as well – should they apply their talents with you?

The crucial element of a solid interview is to

  1. Ask the same questions.
  2. In the same order
  • To everyone you meet.
  • Choose the questions based on the 5 core technical requirements and the 5 core behavioral criteria directly from the job description.
  • Conduct a preliminary telephone interview to qualify those who should go to the next level with a face-to-face interview.
  • Assess the candidates.
    1. Do a technical assessment.
      1. Be sure they can do the work they are being asked to do.
      2. If they are a painter, have them paint a window. If they are an architect have them do a drawing. If they are an accountant, have them analyze a P&L statement. If they have to lift, make them lift.
    2. Do a behavioral assessment.
      1. Benchmark the most successful employees and compare applicants to those that are already successful on the job.
      2. Be sure the assessment is validated and reliable.
  • These tests should identify the learning capabilities of the applicant, the behavioral traits that will make them successful in the company and on the job and their overall interests in doing the job
  1. Be sure the assessment can provide an indication if they are candid when taking the test.
  2. These behavioral assessments should never be the sole criteria for choosing a successful candidate. They are useful if they provide up to 1/3 of the information you need to decide. Do not use assessments that provide a “yes” or “no” answer on whether to hire or not hire an applicant. It is not fair, and it is not legal.
  • Do a background check on all new hires. Be sure the company providing the information uses current data when providing you information. Each candidate must sign off that they will allow this kind of review of their past including credit, education, criminal and other criteria. Whether the report is favorable or unfavorable, the information should only be used as another part of the total decision process. A person with a bad track record may still be able to perform the job.
  • Build a linked compensation process to be sure the rewards and pay are appropriate. Deciding what a person should earn should be linked to the job description that you wrote earlier. A good pay program should be both internally fair and equitable and be market competitive. The new federal law for equal pay requires this kind of due diligence on your part. There can be severe financial consequences for your negligence of this part of the hiring process.
  • Complete the proper paperwork and prepare for your new employee to enter your company. Establish a “Great First Day”. There are many things you can do to help your new employee get “up to speed” quickly. Your encouragement and guidance in this assimilation process are critical to his or her success.
  • Send a welcome letter and new hire paperwork packet to the new employee.
  • Circulate/ post/ publish the announcement of your new employee’s appointment.
  • Prepare new employee’s work area.
  • Conduct tour of facility
  • Introduce new employee to co-workers and key players (people whose work involves the new employee)
  • Schedule and conduct an initial meeting with your new employee.
  • Review organization charts with your new employee
  • Review policies and procedures with your new employee
  • Schedule and conduct follow-up meetings with your new employee

Sales Interview Questions

  • Sell me this pen.
  • How do you handle objections?
  • How do you handle rejection?
  • What do you consider the most important skills in sales?
  • What do you dislike about sales?
  • Is there any aspect of the sales process that you are particularly uncomfortable with?
  • How comfortable are you making phone calls?
  • Is there anyone you struggle to sell to?
  • What are some examples of your sales experience?
  • Describe the most difficult sales call you have made?
  • Describe what your sales cycle was like in your last job?
  • How often did you achieve your sales objectives?
  • Describe a time that you had to change your sales approach.
  • How do you handle the negotiation phase?
  • When do you decide that it is time to let a potential client go?
  • So describe aSituation you were in or the Task that you needed to accomplish in your job, then demonstrate what steps or Action you took to address the situation, remembering to supply plenty of detail and keep the focus on you, finally describe the outcome or Result.
  • How much time do you spend directly with a customer or prospect on an average day?
    2. How many appointments would you generally have in a typical week?
    3. What percentage of your targets did you achieve?
    4. Detail a typical sales cycle in your last position?
    5. What do you like and dislike about presentations and why?
    6. Describe a time you led a group of people, the primary challenges you faced and how you handled them?
    7. What would you say your one or two biggest failures or mistakes were? What did you learn from them?
    8.What are some of the challenges you see that are facing this industry?
    9. What do you see as the key issues in negotiating?
    10. What do you see as the key skills in closing?
    11. What sales skills do you think are most important to having success in sales? What are top 3 skills for Sales in your opinion?
    12. What are some examples of your sales experience?
    13. Sell me this pen!
    14. Tell me how you developed your largest account!
    15. How often did you achieve your sales objectives?
    16. Describe a time that you had to change your sales approach.
    17. Tell me about a time that you worked hard for a sale but didn’t get it in the end, how did you handle the situation?
    18. What do you think are the most important skills in succeeding in sales?
    19. Why do you think you would do Sales well?
    20. What motivates you to do your best on the Sales?
    21. How would you know you were successful on this Sales?
    22. How flexible are you with your work hours?
    23. Describe a recent situation where you negotiated terms with a tough customer?
    24. Tell me about an important negotiation that failed, what went wrong and why?
    25. Tell me about a successful formal presentation you have done recently?
    26. Give an example of when you had to make a presentation to an unresponsive audience, how did you handle it?
    27. What do you regard as the biggest challenge regarding sales?

Sales questions

  • do you know people have understood what you are trying to communicate?


  • Tell me about a time when you were successful in challenging others’ ideas. What does this say about your ability to be assertive?


  • Describe a situation in which you had the opportunity to bring the team together to accomplish a common goal. How did you do it?


  • How have you handled surprises or sudden crises on the job?


  • Give me an example of a time when another person really tried your patience. Specifically, talk about a time when you were angry or frustrated.


  • Just about anybody can give a routine, standard answer to common problems; however, the payoff is often in the development of unique solutions to common problems. Give me an example of one of your unique and novel problem solutions.


  • How have you changed over the last few years?
  • What is the riskiest decision you have made? What was the situation? What happened?
  • On occasion we are confronted by dishonesty in the workplace. Tell about such an occurrence and how you handled it.
  • Have you ever met resistance when implementing a new idea or policy to a work group? How did you deal with it? What happened?
  • Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you had to bargain with someone? How did you feel about this? What did you do? Give an example.
  • Tell us about a recent job or experience that you would describe as a real learning experience? What did you learn from the job or experience?
  • Tell us about a time when you were able to successfully influence another person.
  • Have you ever dealt with a situation where communications were poor? Where there was a lack of cooperation? Lack of trust? How did you handle these situations?
  • Describe how you prepare for a sales call for a new client.
  • What was the most stressful situation you have faced? How did you deal with it?
  • How many projects do you work on at once? Please describe.

Interview Do’s and Don’ts

  • Once the list of job-related interview questions is created, use it consistently for all applicants for the same position.
  • Try to first put the applicant at ease with introductory and welcoming remarks.
  • Ask open-ended questions which focus on behavioral descriptions rather than simply “yes or no” questions (i.e. have them describe a work situation in which they handled stress well rather than just asking if they can “handle stress well”).
  • Listen; don’t do all the talking.
  • Stay away from questions that have more to do with personal lifestyles than job experience – phrase the question so that the answer will describe on-the-job qualities instead of personal qualities – if the question is not related to performance on the job, it should not be asked.

In almost all instances, the following topics should be avoided in an interview:

  • Age – is irrelevant unless you are concerned about child labor violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, in which case you can ask for proof that he/she is old enough to work.
  • Arrest record – do not ask at all – you may ask about convictions, but even then it would have to be relevant to the position in order to lead to immediate rejection.
  • Association with present employees – this information is not relevant to an applicant’s ability to perform successfully in a particular job, and the tendency to either encourage or prohibit the employment of friends or relatives of existing employees may create an adverse impact on members of protected classes.
  • Bankruptcy and credit affairs – never ask about bankruptcy since it is illegal to discriminate on this basis under the Federal Bankruptcy Law – all credit inquiries must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Citizenship – unless required by law or regulation, you may not ask applicants if they are U.S. citizens since it is considered discriminatory under the Immigration Reform and Control Act. You may ask if candidates are authorized to work in the United States.
  • Disability – the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal to ask questions about an applicant’s disability or perceived disability – it is crucial to focus on the job, not on the disability.
  • Driver’s license – avoid asking about it unless the job requires one since it could statistically screen out females, minorities and/or individuals with disabilities.
  • Educational attainment – relevant if it is directly related to successful job performance – if not, avoid it because it could potentially screen out minorities.
  • Emergency contact information – unnecessary at the application stage – and it can be discriminatory if it reveals information about the applicant’s membership in a protected class.
  • English language skills – only ask if it is a requirement of the job (i.e. an English teacher) – otherwise it could be construed as national origin discrimination.
  • Height and weight – can be discriminatory against females, Hispanics, and/or Asians – it is important to focus on what the job requires, not the person’s physical characteristics.
  • Marital status/name changes/spouse/children – any questions relating to these issues may be construed as discriminatory, especially against women – – none are job-related.
  • Organization or club membership – this might reveal protected class information and it is irrelevant (i.e. Knights of Columbus, NAACP or Diabetes Association)
  • Race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – EEOC guidelines prohibit asking questions that may reveal this information; rejected applicants could have grounds for a discrimination suit if any of these questions were part of the application process.
  • Union affiliation – could be considered an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act if the applicant claims he or she was not hired because of the union affiliation.
  • Veteran status/military records – general questions about a person’s background in the military should only be asked if based on business necessity or job-related reasons. If requested, such information should include a statement that general or dishonorable discharge will not be an absolute bar to employment but that other factors will be taken into consideration.
  • Weekend work/shift changes – unless required for the job, the applicant should not have to state whether or not they can work on the weekends – this could screen out applicants who cannot work on some weekend days because of their religious beliefs.