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Conducting the Interview

Reference Number: MTAS-1409
Reviewed Date: 08/29/2023

It is important to emphasize the importance of conducting each interview in a fair and equitable manner. It is not possible to develop identical interview situations, but every effort should be made to ensure a basic consistency in the interview format. This does not mean that concerns specific to a particular candidate cannot or should not be pursued. The interview is exactly the right time to do that.

What are the basic goals of interviewing for management and professional positions? There are two, and they must be kept uppermost in mind at all times:

  • To determine if the candidate has the technical competence, experience, and skills to do the job you want done, in the way you want it done
  • To determine if the candidate has the personal qualities and characteristics that fit the needs of the organization and the community

The interview begins by welcoming the candidate and making him or her feel comfortable. Open the interview by highlighting the job description and reviewing with the candidates the salient features of their application/résumé. Allow and encourage candidates to tell the interviewer about themselves.

As the potential employer, be prepared to answer legitimate questions posed by the candidate(s). Allow appropriate time for questions and for employer responses.

There are a number of pitfalls pitfalls that should be avoided:

  • Asking leading questions;
  • Making decisions too early in the interview;
  • Failing to properly relate questions and answers to job requirements;
  • Failing to take quality notes observing candidate responses and behaviors;
  • Allowing one factor, positive or negative, to inappropriately influence the hiring decision;
  • Failing to probe and ask follow-up questions when a response is incomplete or not through enough to inform the decision;
  • Judging the candidate on non-job-related criteria; and
  • Asking questions related to membership in any protected class (i.e., veteran status, gender, race, disability, etc.).