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Subject:interviewing and spotting "fibs" From:Cyndy Davis <kivrin -at- ZDNETMAIL -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 21 Sep 1998 11:16:46 -0700
As a former manager and graduate of an education program, I am interested in this thread.
There have been some wonderful ideas (testing) and I would like to point out a few tips and pointer to keep anyone out of legal hot water.
When you are interviewing for a position, have a job description handy. Create a list of REQUIRED, WOULD LIKE TO SEE, OPTIONAL, and REALLY DON'T WANT abilites. For example, REQUIRED: know how to turn a computer on LIKE TO SEE: working ability of MS Word DONT WANT: person who always thinks they're right.
Wait a day, then take your list, revise anything, add to the job description if necessary and create a questionaire. Have 10-15 standard questions that you are going to ask EVERY applicant. If you want some examples, call up any school district and ask for an application. You will get something called the SRI questionaire. Take it any modify the questions for your job. An example question on the SRI might be: How would you develop a lesson to teach multicultural literature to a class with 3 students from varied ethnic groups. Reword to TW: How would you approach writing a manual for users with varied experience. Could you explain to me your method of chapter organization for this type of manual?
The main point to this: BE SPECIFIC. The "what are you doing x years from now" has a point. Interviewers want to know if the applicant wants to be surfing in Hawaii or plans to be around. Companies don't want to hire fly-by-nites. The caveat: you still need to ask some personal questions for each applicant. i.e. the "what are your strengths" or "what should I know about you as a person"
If you want to test people, find a copyediting test or "rewrite this paragraph" test from an old college textbook. Run off 50 copies and include them with the application form. Don't make the test over long or you might turn good applicants off (about 10-20 minutes). Don't interview anyone that doesn't turn it in. You can even give the test to the receptionist for the person to do while they wait for the interview.
If you, the interviewer, walks into the interview with a clear idea of what you need/want, you have a much better chance of getting what you need/want. If you have a standard interview, you will have a better chance of making an honest opinion of each canidate. Also, you won't be distracted by trying to plan the next question and actually listen to the answers, observe body language and formulate good questions based on their answers.