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Client Resources
Interview Guidelines

Are you hiring the right people? It can be a challenge to match a prospective candidate with the right job. To ensure that you hire the most qualified individuals you need to:

  • Plan interviews by conducting a thorough review of job requirements.
  • Develop and ask interview questions that effectively determine the presence or absence of a skill.
  • Analyze responses to determine the most qualified candidate.

This guideline is designed to help you conduct selection interviews that can predict job performance so that you can match the most qualified candidate with the position you are interviewing for. The guideline uses a behavioral-based interviewing approach that assumes past job behavior is the single best prediction of future job performance.

The fundamental concept behind behavioral-based interviewing is that behavioral examples, that is specific life-history events, provide information regarding the presence or absence of skills. Hiring decisions should be based on more than just your intuition. Relying on intuition as a basis for employee selection is questionable on legal grounds and can also generate unreliable information, leading to poor selection decisions. Using a behavioral-based interview process provides evidence about the person’s ability to do the job.

Points to remember:

  1. The purpose of the interview is to screen job candidates and predict the candidate’s success if employed.
  2. The interview is not the sole criterion for selection or rejection since it is combined with other selection information
  3. To ensure fair and equitable treatment, all candidates for the same position must be asked the same questions so that each candidate is evaluated on the same basis.

According to current Federal guidelines, non-permissible pre-employment interview inquiries include:

Marital status Birth date or birthplace
Spouse's name Date of arrival in U.S. or port of entry
Number of children or other dependents Whether candidate is a naturalized or native born citizen
Whether candidate owns home, rents, rooms or lives with relatives Inquiries into foreign address which would reveal national origin, high school graduation date
Location of local draft board Any disabilities
Relative to be notified in case of emergency Complexion or color of hair, eyes, skin
Religious denomination or affiliation, church, parish, pastor, or religious holidays observed Requirement of birth certificate, baptismal record, naturalization papers or photograph
Military service other than U.S. Any inquiry with regard to the candidate's parents, spouse, children, or other dependents or relative which would review names, addresses, places of employment, birthplace, ages, national origin, or citizenship status

For additional information on Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions and Answers click here

Before the Interview

Since preparation is the key of having a smooth running interview, set aside time prior to the interview to review the information gathered up to this point. Review the candidate’s resume and application. Create the environment for an effective interview—comfortable, pleasant and arranged so you can talk easily.

During the Interview

Past job behavior is the single best predictor of future job performance. To get the information you need to make an informed hiring decision, follow these steps for conducting a successful interview:

  1. Establish rapport with the candidate.
    Use Rapport-Building Questions – This type of question helps the candidate become comfortable and relaxed to share information. Tell the candidate the format you will be using and that you will be seeking specific examples.
  2. Ask questions about past performance.
    Open-Ended Questions – Use these questions to get the candidate to talk and gain behavioral examples.
 Non-Question Questions – Make candidates more comfortable by asking for information in language that does not end in a question mark
  3. Probe to clarify understanding.
    Probing Questions – Ask when you need more specific information. Use a helpful relaxed approach.
  4. Seek contrary evidence.
    Contrary Evidence – Asking for contrary evidence can prevent you from forming erroneous assumptions or first impressions. Seek both positive and negative information.
  5. Allow the candidate to ask questions.
  6. Close the interview.
    Thank the candidate for their interest in your company and the job. Make certain closing comments cannot be construed as an indication that you definitely plan to hire the candidate. Summarize the next action steps by explaining what the procedure is from this point on and what your expected time line will be for making a decision.
  7. Review your notes and summarize your feelings.
    Notes on Responses – Write down the specifics about the situation. Do not write any volunteered information that is not job specific such as marital status, number of children, etc.


  • Allow for silence; give the candidate time to respond to questions.
  • Control the interview; interrupt if the candidate gets off track.
  • Only ask authorized questions.

After the Interview

Evaluate the candidates. Make your final recommendation by determining which candidate best matches the job requirements based on their skill sets.

Creating an evaluation form that lists the names of job candidates and whether they have the required skills may be helpful in reviewing all of your candidate’s skill sets on one page.

For Example:

Candidate Evaluation Comparison

Job Candidate Skill #1 Skill #2 Skill #3 Skill #4 Skill #5
Candidate 1
Candidate 2
Candidate 3