Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: Interview no-no's

Government hiring is up.  If you have vacancies and are actively recruiting, good interviews with prospective employees can help you find the right person. 

For example, well-phrased questions can make a difference in learning about applicants and also keeping them interested in working for you.  I found some useful tips on online job search sites:
  • Drop long intros -- It’s tempting to start an interview with a monologue about the position or the type of candidate you are seeking.  But too much information can lead a candidate to give back to you what you said. 
  • Forget humor -- Jokes or witticisms can backfire and be misunderstood. 
  • No closed-ended or leading questions -- If a question can be answered by a "yes" or "no," rework it to allow a candidate to elaborate.  Instead of asking, “Do you have experience in customer service?” rephrase by saying, “Tell me about your customer service experience.” Also, don’t give an applicant your preferred answers by the way you ask questions. For example, instead of “Would you help out an irate customer if they complained?” try asking “What would you do if an irate customer called to complain?”
  • Leave out marital status, children, personal life, pregnancy -- If you are curious about a person’s personal life because you are recruiting for a position requiring travel, you can explain the travel requirements and do no more than to ask if travel is acceptable.
On the other hand, if you are the interviewee -- the person looking for and applying for a job -- there are some no-no’s to consider, too.  The worst mistake an applicant can make, according to 51 percent of hiring managers surveyed by CareerBuilder, is to dress inappropriately for an interview. 

Another turn-off in an interview is speaking negatively about a current or previous employer. Appearing uninterested ranks third.

Other mistakes include appearing arrogant, not providing specific answers, and not asking good questions.

But the ultimate no-no, which some interviewees have done, is to answer a cell phone during an interview. 

Posted by Judith Welles on Jun 15, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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