BCN Services

A consistent approach will help you find the best job candidates

Article employee benefits concept

Clients frequently ask us for recommended questions to use during an in-person interview, but there is much more to the hiring process than just the questions you choose.

Our HR professionals at BCN Services will tell you that consistency is key and that you may want screen candidates before inviting them for an in-person interview. You may also want to assess whether there is a good fit between the candidate and your business.

An in-person interview can take a lot of time and, therefore, your company’s resources. Before you are ready to meet a candidate face-to-face, consider phone screening applicants first by asking a few simple questions. You can usually get a pretty good idea whether to move forward based on this initial contact.

Phone interviews take much less time than in-person interviews and allow you to fine-tune your candidate list. Good phone screen questions include:

  • Tell me a little about yourself.
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • What are your “must haves” in your new job?
  • What are you looking for from your new employer?

After an initial phone screening, you should have your candidate pool narrowed to a reasonable number of applicants. This lets you focus your time and effort on the most valuable candidates for the in-person interview.

Great in-person interview questions

  • Tell me a little about yourself
  • What are your long term and short term goals?
  • Tell me about a time that you had to deal with a challenging situation and how did you overcome it?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses and how are you working to overcome them?
  • Tell me about a time you were juggling multiple projects and how did you deal with them?
  • What does customer service mean to you?

Interview questions to avoid

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Have you had any prior convictions?
  • What religion are you?
  • Anything that could cause disparate impact to one candidate over another. According to SHRM, “Hiring managers should keep in mind that even “facially neutral” (those that do not appear to be discriminatory on their face but rather are discriminatory in their effect) job requirements relating to education, experience and physical characteristics may be considered unlawful when the requirements screen out a disproportionately high percentage of candidates on the basis of protected status and are not justified by any business purpose.”

After a phone screening and an in-person interview, you may still want to narrow the pool to two or three candidates for a second interview and possibly an assessment of some kind. Many employers use a personality quiz. Others will also use IQ tests, physical ability tests and aptitude tests. You would decide which makes the most sense for your industry and then maintain consistency in using the tests for these positions.

Following a consistent hiring practice can help reduce the amount of time it takes to fill a position as well as maintain compliance with each applicant. Please contact your BCN Services HR professional if you have questions or want to discuss how to implement a new hire process.