Interviews are amongst the most frequently used and misused assessment method and as such they must be carefully designed and structured to ensure their effectiveness and objectivity.
This is the stage of the Recruitment Process where most claims alleging discrimination are likely to arise. This is usually because discriminatory questions are asked, discriminatory comments were made at interview, or a decision on whom to appoint was based on discriminatory grounds.
Experience of case law demonstrates that some complainants received compensation from stress allegedly suffered as a result of discriminatory questions being asked by members of the interview panel.
Interviews should focus on a candidate’s skills, talents, qualifications and capabilities for a particular job or occupation.
Organisations should use panel interviews that reflect diversity and ensure that records will be kept of all interviews conducted.
Employers should also note that a number of decisions of Equality Officers and the Labour Court have demonstrated the need to ensure gender balance where possible on all interview boards. The absence of interview notes will strongly support allegations of discrimination.
Open the Interview by informing every candidate that the organisation is an Equal Opportunities Employer. Emphasise the requirements of the job in relation to irregular hours, travelling etc. Ensure that each panel member is aware of the implications of Equality Legislation in the interview process.
At the end of the interview each member of the interview board should compare notes on the candidate against the specific criteria laid down in the person specification. This will help ensure objectivity and will enable the reasons for non-selection to be identified.
There are 2 key elements to getting it right:
1. The skills of the interviewer.
Interviewers need to know how to:
- Structure an interview
- How to put a candidate at ease.
- How to document an interview.
- Identify what information they require and How to get it.
2. The content of the interview.
The aim is to recruit the right talent into the organisation. No questions in relation to any of the nine protected grounds are permitted.
Avoid Questions Regarding:
B. Ability to cope with a dependant and the job.
C. How an individual would feel working with mainly men or women.
D. Whether they would find it easy to settle in because of being the only person of a particular group e.g. older person, person with disability, non Irish national etc.
All organisations must ensure that:
- Interviews will be structured around the selection criteria.
- Decisions / Ratings are made after, not during the interview.
- Notes are taken throughout the interview and kept on file for at least Twelve Months.
- That a record of how a candidate has been selected by an interview panel is kept to demonstrate and establish the objectivity of the process.
- That Interviewers award marks against objective criteria and keep these records.
When cases are referred to an Equality Officer there is often a conflict of evidence. In most cases Equality Officers tend to accept that interviewees have a better recall of the interview than the interviewer. This is because the interview is likely to have taken place up to six months prior to the Equality Officer Hearing and interviewees will have done only one interview.
In many cases managers find it difficult to remember interviewing the complainant. Experience to date shows that complainants tend to be believed.
Interview Score Card
Score card sample
|Items||Possible Points||Candidate Number 1||Candidate Number 2||Candidate Number 3||Candidate Number 4||Candidate Number 5|
|Attitude and Personality||30|
|Appearance and Courtesy||20|
|Maturity and organisation fit||30|
|Reliability and Flexibility||20|
Sample Interview QuestionsSome Sample Questions
- What were your standards of success at school?
- Why did you select your certificate or diploma course?
- Which parts of your course did you enjoy the most / least?
- How does your coursework help you in this type of position?
- What aspects of your previous work experiences have prepared you for this job?
- What have been your most important accomplishments at work?
- What have been your biggest disappointments in your work history?
- What are your main responsibilities in your current role?
- What have been your biggest contributions in your current position?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- What do you like most and least about your current job?
- Did you have any problems with co-workers and if so how were they resolved?
- Describe a task you had to complete on your own?
- Can you tell me about a time when you exceeded customer expectations?
- How do you feel about setbacks at work? Tell me about a disappointing situation at work and how did you deal with it?
- Describe a situation when there was conflict within a work team. How was it resolved?
- Tell me about a time when you had to communicate a complicated issue. How did you do it?
- What is your long term career objective?
- Why might you be successful in such a job?
- What has influenced you in your career development?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Competency Based Interviews
Competency based interviews are based on the idea that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. Competencies are defined as behavioural skills combined with technical knowledge and skills that will serve as indicators of success in a position. The interviewer will want specific examples of when and how people demonstrated particular behaviours.
Prior to the interview each position is assessed for the skills, competencies and characteristics that relate to job success. A few critical competencies based on the essential criteria required for the post should be chosen. Interview questions are then developed to probe into these areas.
Only one question should be asked for each competency. Probing for behaviours that demonstrate the competencies should be used to get a full picture of the candidates’ past behaviours. Probing typically includes asking what the candidate did, said, felt, thought and the outcomes of the event.
The behaviours that they recount should be compared to the behaviours listed in the competency profile. All candidates are asked the same questions and notes are taken in order to evaluate candidates.
1. Customer/Client Focus
Give an example of how you provided service to a client beyond their expectations. How did you identify the need? How did you respond?
Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a customer service issue.
Describe a situation when you acted as an advocate for customer service and overcame organisational problems.
2. Communication skills
Describe a situation you were involved in that required a multi-dimensional communication strategy
Tell me about a time when you were successful in getting critical information from another person.
What are the three most important things about communication.
3. Interpersonal and Teamworking Skills
Tell me about a time when you worked successfully as a member of a team.
Describe a situation where you were successful in getting other people to work successfully in a team.
Describe a situation where you were a team member and a conflict arose. What did you do?
What skills and qualities have you contributed to the teams you have been a part of.
Tell me about the most difficult person you have worked with.
What qualities do you admire most in others.