7 Scary Interview Questions That You Should Never Ask to Candidates

Posted by  Vicki Marlan

halloween.jpgIn many aspects, the hiring process is similar to a game of poker in that each side is trying to gather as much information as they can to determine when they should bet and when they should fold. Organizations who allow untrained interviewers to conduct unstructured interviews are creating an environment where the candidate has the upper hand.

Asking poorly developed interview questions is really no better than playing a poker hand blind. And the worst part is that the interviewer (or poker player who is playing the blind hand) believes they have enough information to make a good decision. This fact creates an environment where organizations continue to ask the same bad interviewing questions and also continue to make poor hiring decisions.


How to Build a Better Interview

Posted by  Greg Kedenburg

interview-day.jpgAs one of the most critical pieces of the hiring process, the interview has the potential to be a ‘make or break’ situation for a large number of candidates. Those that have made it past any screening tools or assessments in place are qualified for the most part, and the interview is one of the last big hurdles they need to jump. Like most other aspects of hiring, however, there are countless different methods of interviewing, all with proponents that will swear by their preferred option.

While there may not be a one size fits all, objectively “right” style of interviewing for every context, there are certainly some ways in which you can maximize the effectiveness of the interview. More often than not, the candidate is coming in on their own time, and as the hiring manager, you’ve scheduled time out of your busy day to conduct the interview, so there’s no reason not to attempt to make the most of everyone’s time. Below are some recommendations to help understand how to build a more effective interview.


How to Make Skype Interviews as Accurate as In-Person Interviews

Posted by  Rose Keith

iStock_000025394406_Small.jpgIs it possible to conduct an accurate interview via Skype? Many of today’s candidates don’t always live in the same city where the job they’re applying for is. This presents a challenge for hiring managers who want to be able to interview qualified candidates in person, but don’t want to spend the money and time to bring them in for an in-person interview. A lot of companies are turning to Skype (or something similar) to conduct an interview that is more telling than a phone interview, but is more cost-effective than paying for the candidate to travel for the interview.

Does Skype work, though? We think it can. The keys to making Skype interviews effective are:


5 Reasons Panel Interviews Don't Work (and 6 Ways to Improve Them)

Posted by  Matthew O'Connell, Ph.D.

panel-interview.jpgThere’s a clear irony when it comes to panel interviews. On the one hand, many organizations use them and most people, at least those on the side of asking questions, prefer them to one-on-one interviews. It seems logical that having more than one person observe the candidate, will reduce bias and inaccuracy. On the other hand, every time anyone does a review of the effectiveness of the various types of interviews, panel interviews always underperform compared to the more traditional individual interview. So why would companies continue to use something that clearly isn’t as effective?


The Proof Why Your Company Should Be Using Behavioral Interviewing

Posted by  Alissa Parr, Ph.D.

behavioral-interview.jpgQuick question: What’s the easiest step that you can implement in a hiring process outside of a basic application?

Answer: Interviewing.

Another question: what’s the step in the hiring process that has the most likelihood of being legally challenged?

Answer: Interviewing.

In a review of 158 cases in the U.S. Federal Court involving hiring discrimination from 1978 to 1997, results found that unstructured interviews were challenged much more than any of the other 8 selection devices included in the review. Sixty percent of cases involved unstructured interviews. Of these 81 cases involving unstructured interviews, the challenge was successful in 59% of the cases and the organizations were found at fault. Meaning, there’s a lot of legal risk associated with unstructured interviews.


How Heuristics Can Affect Your Interviewing and How to Avoid Them

Posted by  Brian Dishman

interview-biasesInterviewing is a skill. Like any skill, good interviewing ability results from knowledge of technique, accumulation of experience, and an individual’s inherent talent. Like a professional golfer striking a long iron or an NFL quarterback rifling a tight spiral into defensive coverage, a skillful interviewer makes the process look easy. It is not. An interviewer must do some demanding, mental multi-tasking. An interviewer processes and evaluates what he is hearing from the candidate while simultaneously writing notes, identifying any missing relevant information, and formulating follow-up probing questions. The process requires quite a bit of cognitive juggling. For new interviewers, the process can be mentally stressful, and when our minds are stressed we are likely to make judgment errors. When our brain is overloaded with information it takes shortcuts. These mental shortcuts are called heuristics.


Interview Tips: 4 Questions to Never Ask a Candidate

Posted by  Vicki Marlan

interview-tipsWe recently published a blog about oddball interview questions. For some companies, questions such as, “How much is all the tea in China worth?” are a distinguishing characteristic of the interview process. However, there is a difference between oddball interview questions and simply bad interview questions, and the latter should never be posed to candidates.

Interview questions that refer to legally protected areas such age, sex, religion, national origin, and disability status are illegal, and should always be avoided. Your organization’s legal counsel can help you determine whether an interview question is lawful according to federal and state legislation, but they will probably not have the time or interest in telling you that asking, “Who is your favorite Beatle and why?” is not the best way to determine a candidate’s decisiveness. Therefore, you will need to be an expert not in determining whether an interview question is illegal, but rather just poorly written.


Common Biases to Keep in Mind When Conducting an Interview

Posted by  Jessica Petor

interviewerLet's flip the table, rather than conducting an interview, imagine you’re being interviewed for a new job. The interviewer starts off the conversation, asks you some questions about your work experience, background, and past behaviors. The interview is going great. They let you know you answered the last question; you are feeling comfortable and relaxed now that the interview is over, right? Wrapping up, they engage in some small talk, “Do you have any weekend plans?”


Hip and Cool or Dangerous and Illegal?

Posted by  John Mirtich

I recently came across an article in Inc. Magazine that highlighted the efforts of a rapidly growing software company to create a “cool” and attractive culture. In fact, the company is indeed doing some pretty cool things to make employees feel happy and empowered.

They are committed to flexible work hours and encouraged to work from home at least once per month. Employees also get unlimited time off after the first year! The company even keeps a cold keg of beer on tap for happy hours, and provides free cab rides home if necessary. Wow, sign me up! On top of all that they use their own technology to create apps to:


Interviewing Tip: Stop the "Similar to Me" Bias

Posted by  Guest Blog


When we meet someone for the first time, it is nice to start off on the right foot. We search for common interests, discussion topics, and try to take an interest in each other’s lives. A cardinal error in the interviewing process is the inability to separate friend from employee. When you meet someone who could be your new best bud at the office, it can be difficult to reject that candidate.

Just because the person you are interviewing is so much like you, that does not always mean they would make the best employee. In a recent article, Rivera (2012) discusses the epidemic that occurs when employers are looking for cultural similarities between the candidate and themselves. In particular, she reviews research on interpersonal dynamics. Overall, the research shows that similarity is one of the biggest factors influencing attraction during evaluation. This includes interviews, thus the reason we are interested, which means that applicants with similar interests and backgrounds as their interviewer have a greater chance of being hired solely based on commonalities with their employer. In the world of IO Psychology, this is referred to as the “Similar to Me” bias.


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