January is a very popular time of year for recruiting and hiring. If you are one of the many companies that are currently looking to hire new employees then you're probably doing a lot of screening calls and interviews.
Interviews are of paramount importance as they help you evaluate your candidates and hopefully find the best fit for your business. But not having an interview plan can quickly lead you down a dangerous path.
Following are some tips to help you develop an interview plan and to help keep you out of hot water.
Keep Questions Job Related
Ask about the candidate's knowledge, skill sets, and experience in the field. Don’t inquire about anything that includes a protected class. While this seems obvious remember that this also includes asking about age, military experience, and more. If you need help thinking of questions then check out Monster's 10 Best Interview Questions.
Script Your Questions
Developing a script or list of questions ahead of time not only keeps you organized but also helps you stay on course and out of the danger zone. Following are some easy areas that interviewers make mistakes in:
- Date of College Graduation- Asking someone when they graduated from college seems simple but it can easily veer you off course since it can be construed to be an age related question. If you need to know if the candidate is over 18 in order to fulfill one of the requirements of the position, then you may do so as it only requires a 'yes' or 'no' answer. But do not, I repeat do not ask a candidate their age.
- Discussing Personal Life- It’s common to want to chat with people about their family life, and if they’re married or have kids. While this type of small talk may be okay at dinner parties it should be kept out of interviews. This is because it can imply that you don’t want anyone that needs to take family leave, or that you prefer candidates that are married, etc. Remember, keep it job related.
- Prior Benefits They May Have Used- There are certain benefits that employees are entitled to that employers may not retaliate for should their employees use them. This is why it’s important to never ask any candidate about their former use of Workers’ Comp, unemployment insurance, sick leave, FMLA history, and accommodations. Asking about these things might imply that you don’t approve of their usage. For more on the different types of discrimination you can check out the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC) site here.
Training all interviewers and screeners on the plan and process ahead of time keeps them on track and ensures a cohesive company approach. Even the most experienced interviewers can benefit from a refresher in proper protocol so don't be afraid to host a reminder training session.