Part 1 of 2 – Interview from the Employer’s Perspective
Progressive interviewing combines planned questions, which are designed to get specific information with auditions. The interviewing system is based on three main components to which an actual job trial is added. This method has been proven to yield much better hiring decisions. The three components are:
1. Careful analysis of past behavior to predict future behavior.
2. Defining and using the critical evaluation process.
3. Selecting appropriate interview questions.
4. An audition.
Predicting Future Behavior – an interview must ferret out what an applicant has done in the past that will assist in predicting what behaviors may be repeated in the future. This part of the interview should prompt the applicant to describe in detail a past behavior which had a significant effect on their work history. This requires a specific situation, the action taken and the result of the action. Forcing the applicant to conjure up an actual situation reduces the chances of false posturing. The final evaluation of the applicant should be focused almost entirely on actions which led to a positive solution.
Critical Evaluation – The second component of the interview is built around critical evaluation: specific qualities, knowledge, skills, or attitudes that the applicant must possess for the job. It focuses primarily on factors, which contribute to success on the job, and on overall ability to do the job. Its key elements are:
Selecting Appropriate Questions – Consists of using a checklist or guide for the interview; gathering examples of the applicant’s past behaviors; documenting the findings for further review. The objective is to find out how the applicant prepared, how they overcame difficulties, and what the results were as compared to objectives. The questions should encourage the applicant to discuss specific past experiences and accomplishments, discourage theoretical answers and encourage behavioral answers. They should not lead the applicant to the right answer, but simply force them to describe the actions that they took in a particular situation.
The interview questions should be broken into the following components:
Job Motivation: Evaluate what has been particularly satisfying or dissatisfying to the applicant in their past jobs. You can then deduce how satisfied or dissatisfied the applicant might be working for your Company.
Work Standards: Defines whether the mindset and past behavior of the applicant provides a good fit with the Company, as far as work standards are concerned. It should deal with performance attitudes, cooperation with former managers, maintaining tight deadlines, and specific contributions that made a difference.
Initiative: Discovers how enterprising this individual is. Look for persistence and follow- up, suggestions made or procedures streamlined. See how much initiative the applicant took to correct errors. Look for evidence of creativity and imagination.
Stress Tolerance: Determines the conditions under which the applicant has worked best, and compares them to the conditions that exist in the company. Look for situations with temper control potential, and evaluate whether the applicant might lose their temper easily. Study the applicant’s approach to tight schedules, and whether they tend to use others as scapegoats for missed deadlines. Ask direct questions like “when did you last lose your temper?”
Supervisor Fit: Use a supervisor’s profile that matches the person for whom this applicant will work. Listen intently for the applicant’s description of their previous supervisor. Scrutinize any incident described as a misunderstanding, or as management being biased or prejudiced towards them. Pry further into the issue until you discover whether the complaint is legitimate or a victimization syndrome.
Attention to Detail: Distinguish between a legitimate explanation and an excuse for past inefficiencies. Let them describe how it affected quality and customer service and how they corrected the problem.
Judgment: Good judgment is an important attribute not only for the manager but also for the employees who work under them. The applicant should show an ability to recognize problems and to solve them. Have them provide examples of good decisions they have made recently and what alternatives were considered.
Technical Proficiency: Determine how competent the applicant is in the technical areas that are critical to the job that they are applying for. This calls for extensive, in-depth questioning, which leaves no room for guesswork. Ask them to break down the procedures and processes used to perform specific technical tasks. Have them describe the quality control and waste management utilized in their past jobs. Let them provide you with details on any special certification, acknowledgments, and citations that they may have received for technical prowess.
Personal Impression: Pay particular attention to the initial and continuing impression you have of the applicant. Note their level of confidence throughout the interview. Evaluate (on a scale of 1–10) the ability of the applicant to create a positive overall impression.
Audition: Many human resource managers in progressive companies are adding an audition to their interviewing repertoire. There are some applicants that have the ability to put on a good act and give the impression that they are a perfect fit for the position. Whenever possible, the final step should include an actual on-the-job evaluation. This could be of short two-week duration, or a longer period not exceeding 90 days. It is then essential to obtain feedback from co-workers and managers on cooperation, personality, performance, attitude, skills, and abilities. This is the best test of all, but unfortunately not applicable for all job environments. However, most labor laws allow for a trial period and evaluation after 90 days. This should always be part of any contractual agreement with an employee.