The Great Hall
Interviewing techniques The Great Hall: Interviewing techniques
By mark on Saturday, February 05, 2000 - 01:58 am: Edit

hi im currently having a difference in opinion with somone about how best to interview staff
any suggestions mabe we could have a list of the top ten questions asked by employers when recruiting ;helpful for employers and employees as well

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, February 05, 2000 - 03:17 am: Edit


I'm only beginning on my journey as a pastry cook, so I can't offer any specific tips for hiring of foodservice professionals. But, my previous life was in management, so I'll draw my insight from there.

First, be very wary of lists of top ten questions. When interviewing for staff you should have two purposes in mind -- will this person be a good, productive fit in your company AND will your company be a good fit for this person. Prospective employees are often too eager for the job to considering whether your company is somewhere they can work. Good interviewers recognize this and compensate for it. I point this out first because it is a big mistake made by hiring managers who then end up with teams of unhappy employees. Why should you keep your employees happy? Well, while there is no good research that happy employees are productive, there is a lot of research which shows that unhappy employees are unproductive.

It is because each company is different and each employee is different that top ten lists of killer questions don't work. Do some thinking into what kind of person you want to hire. What kind of skills do they need? How much training are you willing to do? What kind of personality can you work with? What kinds of personalities are already in your company? How reliable do they need to be? Do they need to be able to work independently? Once you have the answers to these questions in your mind, you can start to work on the best questions to ask to get the answers. In some cases you may require the employee to demonstrate their skills.

Second, you may want to spend some time thinking about what kinds of stereotypes you have. People tend to hire people they like, and people tend to like people who are like them. This may or may not be what your company needs. Some honest introspection into your own biases will result in better interviews and better results.

Third, have a script in writing and follow it. Know in advance what questions you plan to ask so that you can be sure you get everything you need to know. Jot down notes next to the questions so you can refer back to the interview when choosing between candidates. Most interviews start off with closed questions -- a closed question can be answered with a yes or no, or similiar short answer. The questions than lead into more open ended questions and than sometimes they become closed again, and sometimes not.

If this sounds like a lot of work, consider the huge costs in staff disruption and retraining because you either hired the wrong person or had the person quit because they joined the wrong company.

Finally, it's a crap shoot. I consider myself an above-average interviewer and I still hire duds. What makes me even more miserable is thinking of how many stars I may have turned away.

If you want I can point you to some useful, and fairly easy to read, literature on this subject.

Cheers, Mike

By mark on Monday, February 07, 2000 - 01:52 am: Edit

please do so any advice/help is always welcome and
its good to know that in the end theres no sure way just trust your gut feeling i suppose and getting 2 points of view from work collegues will help as well

By Chefgbs (Chefgbs) on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 02:59 pm: Edit

There are books on behavioral interviewing so that you don't hire someone who's going to go postal on you. You can ask questions like "what makes you mad/happy at work?" Describe your ideal boss. Ask them to describe situations that made them anxious/ frustrated /mad, etc. and what they did to correct them. Asking these kinds of questions will give you a better idea of how that person is going to fit in. A good trick is use silence to get them to tell you things they ordinarily wouldn't. Try it sometime. After they've responded to a question, stay silent. Most people will be uncomfortable with the silence and try to fill it.

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