Effective screening of new job applicants is vital to the continued success of any business. Regardless of whether your business has a formal human resources department, you are investing in the welfare of your business by implementing a formal applicant-screening process.
Interviewing is a two-way street. You want to recruit the best match for your business, as well as ensure that the position is best suited for the applicant. If you recruit an overqualified applicant, the odds are high that the person will move on to another position at the first chance possible. Likewise, if you recruit an underqualified applicant with the anticipation that he or she will “grow into” the role, you may stifle the efficiency of other employees who must interact with the new hire.
Certain industries have used a specific interview format for decades. When developing a protocol for your human resources department, try to ascertain which screening format your competitors in the industry employ.
Proper interviewing and screening has many advantages. An interview format that allows the applicant to ask his or her own questions may help to reveal additional information useful for making a selection decision. A thorough screening process also helps to determine if the applicant has the needed communication or social skills.
In most industries, the set interview process can be modified as necessary to gather important information about an applicant. Following are effective interviewing formats to consider:
In the Behavior Description Screening Format an applicant is asked what actions he or she has taken in prior employment situations that are similar to situations that could be encountered in the new position. Interviews are then scored using a scoring guide constructed by human resources personnel. This format, also known as the STAR Method (for “Situation, Task, Action, Results), has been employed for decades by the U.S. military, as well as the telecommunications and pharmaceutical sales industries.
In the Comprehensive Structured Screening Format an applicant is asked questions pertaining to current job knowledge, requirements for the position, and how he or she would handle potential challenging situations or perform different job duties. Interviews tapping job knowledge offer a way to assess an applicant’s current level of expertise.
The Oral Screening Boards Format is a technique that entails the applicant giving oral responses to job-related questions asked by a panel of interviewers. Each member of the panel then rates the interviewee on factors such as work history, motivation, creative thinking, and presentation. The scoring procedure for oral interview boards has typically been subjective as it is subject to the personal biases of those individuals sitting on the board. This technique may also not be feasible for jobs in which there are a large number of applicants.
The Situational Screening Format involves applicants being interviewed about what actions they would take in various job-related situations. This is a method that is supposed to gauge the less quantifiable qualities of the applicant: personality, collegiality, professionalism, and problem-solving ability. These situations are usually identified using the critical incidents technique (or CIT, a method that presents the applicant with difficult or “critical” incidents). The applicant describes the reactions or responses they would give in these critical circumstances and their responses are scored using a pre-set guide.
The Structured Behavioral Screening Format involves asking all applicants standardized questions about how they handled past situations that were similar to situations they may encounter on the job. The interviewer may also ask discretionary probing questions for details of the situations, the interviewee’s behavior in the situation, and the eventual outcome. The interviewee’s responses are then scored with behaviorally anchored rating scales.
The Unstructured Screening Format involves a procedure where a variety of different questions may be asked of different applicants.
Regardless of which screening format you decide to use, look for strengths in each candidate. In addition, determine whether the applicant is aware of his or her own talents and strengths. Stronger applicants will have previously been tested for their respective talents and strengths. Inquire how the applicant assessed his or her talents, strengths, and skills. How has the applicant managed around any weaknesses in the past? Would the position provide an opportunity for this applicant to employ his or her strengths and, within reason, manage around any weaknesses?
Interview to recruit the best matches from the start. By investing the necessary time and resources to fill an open position with the best candidate the first time, your business will save money and avoid high employee turnover.
For a thorough overview of how to use the Internet to aid your recruiting efforts, be sure to read the AllBusiness.com article on Online Recruiting Tools and Services.