The Manager's Book of Questions [Secure eReader]
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eBook by John Kador
eBook Category: Business
eBook Description: The Manager's Book of Questions is the first of its kind tool for recruitment managers and executives ... a powerhouse of terrific interview questions for hiring top-notch talent for any job. Is the applicant a team player? How does the applicant handle stress? Can the applicant think on his or her feet? How do you determine aggressiveness in sales people or creativity in a product designer? You find hundreds of questions on these and many more topics to make your interviews more productive and give you the ammunition you need to make a smart decision. For anyone who does any hiring, regardless, of level, this is the "must-have" guide.
eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, Published: 2001
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2002
Interviewing Is Serious Business
Have you ever faced a stack of résumés and wondered just how you would be able to identify the best candidate for a job? If you've ever been at a loss for what to ask in an upcoming interview, now you'll be able to pull out this handy quick reference tool and find the best questions to ask in each and every interview. The interview process is designed to answer three basic questions:
- Does the candidate have the skills or experience to do the job?
- Does the candidate want the job?
- Will the candidate fit in?
All the questions in this book speak to one of these three concerns. If you stick to the listed questions and apply them consistently and professionally across interviews, there can be no basis for charges of discrimination or bias.
How This Book Is Organized
The questions in this book are organized by function and skill sets. For example, ice-breaking questions can be found in Chapter 1 (Getting Things Started). General background questions are in Chapter 5 (So Tell Me About Yourself). To judge whether a candidate is experienced in such areas as administration, finance, sales management, customer service, project management, or information technology, see Chapter 10 (Assessing Specific Skill Sets). Money questions are addressed in Chapter 9. Questions for closing the interview are in Chapter 12.
With workplace violence at an all-time high, anything a company can do to screen out disgruntled or potentially violent candidates becomes critical. See Chapter 12 (Do You Have a Problem with That?) for a list of questions that may help identify candidates with histories or inclinations toward violence.
A job interview has just begun when the interviewer has finished asking questions. Now it's the candidate's turn to ask questions. The interviewer must be prepared to answer these questions as accurately and completely as possible. Fortunately, experience has shown that the types of questions candidates can be expected to ask are fairly predictable. Chapter 13 (Now, Do You Have Any Questions?) offers interviewers an opportunity to prepare for these queries.
What Personal Questions Are Acceptable?
What personal questions are you entitled to ask a candidate? While advice on this critical issue is beyond the scope of this book, Appendix D includes a discussion of the principles of asking fair and effective questions as well as a list of acceptable personal questions. Appendix E lists a number of unacceptable personal questions to avoid at all costs. The bottom line? If you can't make an obvious case for why the question is related to the job at hand, avoid asking it.
For example, it's unacceptable to ask a candidate if he or she has any disabilities. However, if the job requires the ability to lift up to 50 packages per day, each of which weighs up to 30 pounds, you can ask each applicant you interview: "This job requires the ability to lift up to fifty 30-pound packages per day. Would this requirement be a problem for you?"
Just be sure to ask everyone the same question in the same way. Similarly, you can't ask if an applicant's responsibility for small children will keep them from meeting the job's travel requirements. You can, however, ask each applicant something like this: "As you know, the job involves 30 percent overnight travel, often on short notice. Would this be a problem for you?"
The bottom line is that the question must be job-related and asked of each applicant in the same way.
Favorite Questions of Top Recruiters
Do you have a favorite interviewing question? If you are like most experienced interviewers, you find that you ask the same question of virtually every person you are interviewing. There is something about the question that gives you important insights about the candidate and the more you use it the more powerful it seems. This book gives you an opportunity to read the favorite interviewing questions of some of your counterparts. Peppered throughout the book are the favorite questions of senior human resource executives at Fortune 500 organizations.
Included with the questions are the executives' ruminations about what kinds of responses they look for.
Asking Questions Is Good: Listening Is Better
A set of good questions -- even great ones -- does not a good interview make. A good interview is a function of the interviewer's capacity for listening, for paying attention, for maintaining an attitude of complete respect. The most effective interviewers act on the basis that it is a privilege to ask questions and an honor to listen to another human being.
Nevertheless, all things being equal, the questions in this book can make the process of hiring the right person for your job or team more effective. Many of the questions in the book are new in content or wording. Asking questions a candidate has not considered before minimizes the role-playing quality of many interviews. Any question that requires a candidate to do original thinking gives interviewers a chance to assess how he or she thinks and communicates.
Still, there is no substitute for listening and lots of time. Theoretically, an interviewer with world-class listening skills and a couple of hours should be able to get by with a single question, the so-called "killer" question: "So, tell me a little about yourself." Complemented by appropriate follow-up probes and a lot of time, a good listener using this one question should be able to get everything he or she needs to make a sound decision.
One problem is that most candidates have rehearsed their answers to this popular question. The result is a higher level of pretense than desirable. Another problem is that the interviewer's attention span and total time available to interviewers must be divided among multiple candidates. 751 Questions solves this problem by offering perceptive questions that will elicit the frank unrehearsed answers you as a manager are looking for.
Questions Yes; Answers No
Don't look in these pages for answers to any of the questions listed. Few of the questions have responses that can be deemed right or wrong, correct or incorrect. The questions are better regarded as jumping off points for the interviewer to listen carefully -- with one's eyes as well as ears -- and ask pointed follow-up questions: "Why? Can you give me an example? Is that what you still think?"
Keep an open mind. The specific content of the answer is rarely the key element you should be listening for. Resist the temptation to favor a candidate whose answer happens to agree with your own. Observe body language. Pay attention not only to what is being said but to how it is being said. Does the person maintain eye contact? Does his or her voice drop with insecurity? Does he or she fidget? Does the person project confidence? Is there a level of enthusiasm? These attributes of a candidate speak just as loudly as content.
Be Consistent and Take Notes
The best defense against a charge of discrimination or bias is to consistently ask nondiscriminatory questions. When interviewing, make sure you ask the same set of questions in a similar manner.
Finally, write the questions down, leaving room to make notes. Documenting all the interviews protects you in a variety of ways. Make sure, however, to note only objective facts -- dates, skills, education, etc. Stay away from impressions or physical descriptions. These notes will be necessary to refer to when you make a hiring decision. Then, just to be safe, retain those notes for a minimum of a year, or whatever amount of time exceeds the statute of limitations for filing discrimination claims in your state.
How to Use This Book
This book gives managers and team builders the precise questions they need to screen and select applicants for a job or team. It is designed to lead you to the questions appropriate for an upcoming interview. Organized around the typical interview process, the book opens with ice-breaking questions and progresses through the various stages of the typical interview.
A good way to start organizing a set of interview questions is to get a handful of blank index cards. As you go through the book, select questions for the interview by copying them on individual index cards. A typical 45-minute interview has time for an average of 15 questions, so be judicious. Pick only the questions that you believe are most pertinent. If you end up with 20 to 25 cards, you will have the raw material to fine-tune a focused interview.
After you have listed the questions on index cards (or on a computer database or word processing file) you need to arrange them in order from opening to closing. Many interviews flow better when the questions go from the general to the specific. Try to front-load the interview with the easier, less threatening questions. Save the questions about money for the end.
For anyone who is faced with hiring staff, 751 Questions is an indispensable tool for making the best hiring decisions.
-- John Kador
Copyright © 1997 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.