Tips on Interviewing University Job Applicants
- Prepare for the interview by reviewing the job description.
Develop a standard list of questions for applicants. Ask the same
general questions of all applicants, and ask only for information
that you intend to use to make a hiring decision. Know how you
will use the information to make that decision. Questions you
might ask include:
- Describe a typical day on your most recent job. What were
(or are) your primary responsibilities?
- What would you say is your most significant achievement
in your current (or previous) job?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- What are your key strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you handle stressful situations?
- How would your co-workers describe your personality?
- Describe the last time you took the initiative to solve
a problem in the workplace.
- Avoid asking questions that require only a "yes" or "no" answer.
Instead ask questions that encourage the applicant to express
ideas and information and allow more freedom in the response.
For example, if you ask, "Did you like your former job?" you might
receive a "yes" or "no" answer. However, if you ask, "What things
did you like most about the job?" you should receive responses
that will contribute to your understanding of the applicant's
motivation and ability to perform the job.
- Behavioral questions can elicit information about what a candidate
has done, or will do. For example you could say "Describe the
most difficult decision you ever had to make in your past employment.
Reflecting back, was your decision the best possible choice you
could have made? Why or why not?" Or "Describe a time when you
received a complaint from a customer about the service given in
your office, and how you handled it?"
- Make sure you make the applicant feel comfortable. Put yourself
in the applicant's place so you can understand how they may be
- Allow the applicant to do most of the talking. Your objective
is to encourage the applicant to talk so that you can find out
about the applicant's qualifications, abilities, experience, motivation,
- Require the same standards for all applicants. For example,
if heavy lifting is part of the essential functions of the job,
apply the same standard to each applicant whether they are male
or female, young or old, etc.
- Don't ask any questions that may be interpreted as bias against
any protected group. Protected groups can be defined by age, gender,
race, color, national origin, religion, veteran status, and disability.
- Do not ask questions about date of birth, graduation date,
gender, race, marital status, children, child-care arrangements,
transportation, financial commitments, religion, disabilities
or arrest records. You may ask about attendance in prior jobs,
ability to work the specified work schedule, career objectives
and conviction record if stated on the application and if related
to the functions and responsibilities of the job. If you wonder
if it is OK to ask a question and you can't get an answer before
the interview, don't ask it.
- Always check references
by contacting the past or current supervisor(s). If you are talking
to a past supervisor, the most important question to ask is "Would
you rehire this person?" If the applicant is one of the final
candidates, explain that you will not make an offer without contacting
the present supervisor.
- The Employment Office has no requirements on the number
of people a department should interview for a job opening. However,
the Employment Office will monitor applicants who are interviewed
for a position in order to encourage a diverse applicant pool.
For further assistance, call the Employment Office at 777-3821.