Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Management Strategies for Productive Applicant Interviews



In practicality, you must be careful in interviewing applicants. Obviously, you should avoid asking illegal questions while being polite.

You must be assertive – ask the right questions and listen intently to cut through the morass of canned answers to get the answers you need to make good hiring decisions.

Here are five strategies:

1. Review your legal limitations

Naturally, you already know what you can do legally. But remember your due diligence. Prepare so that you don’t make mistakes.

Your focus should be on performance – how applicants would perform for your company.

Moreover, caution everyone on your team who will be involved in the interview process to be careful.

You and your colleagues should review what questions you can ask and shouldn’t ask.

Typical questions to avoid asking:

  • Do you suffer from any disabilities or disabilities?
  • When were you born?
  • Are you married, divorced?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you intend to have children?
  • What are your plans for daycare?
  • What about your debt? Do you have debts?
  • Do you own or rent your home?

2. Adequately prepare for interviews

Look for the right traits. Thoroughly review resumes to screen for qualifications. Plan your approach.

For instance, give thought to what you would want to learn about the applicants and their potential for the welfare of your organization.

3. Plan your list of questions

Spontaneity is not necessarily a good thing when evaluating candidates. Interviews succeed when they are informative but success results when conversations are well-planned.

Adhere to your list of questions. Anticipate asking the right follow-up questions.

4. Ask open-ended questions

If you’ve identified potentially good candidates, shape the conversation into a dialogue with the applicants doing most of the talking.

To learn, you must listen probably about 90 percent of the time in your interviews. That means not asking questions that prompt yes or no answers. (The best applicants will also be appreciative.)

If the applicant pauses before answering your questions, wait. Pause. Wait for the answers.

Carefully watch the applicants’ body language and facial expressions. This will divulge a lot to you.

5. Don’t let your personal biases blind you

Certainly, soft skills are important. But don’t be misled.

Many managers make the mistake of being unduly influenced by extraneous or irrelevant matters. For instance, if you’re a football fan, a candidate who loves football isn’t necessarily qualified.

Keep focused on qualifications and how applicants can add to your organization.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Hiring An Impact Person Starts with Screening Resumes — 5 Tips — If you want to hire an impact person, your hiring process is really important. The place to start is using best practices in screening resumes.

Hiring for a Small Operation? Conduct Behavioral Interviews — Whether you run a small operation in a big company or you own a small business, you’re wearing many hats. So you need employees who can successfully wear multiple hats, too.

Risk Management in Hiring: Pre-Employment Screening Tips — Here are two questions about hiring: 1) what’s the biggest mistake companies make in hiring employees; and 2) what’s the biggest legal obstacle employers face in hiring? Here’s what to do about background screening.

Increase Profits by Hiring Talent with the Best Trait — You’ll increase your odds for profits with high-performing employees with the right culture — if you hire for the right personality trait – enthusiastic people. That’s right. Look for people who have the makeup to being committed and who will care for the welfare of your company. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

Need to Hire a Professional? Advertising Tips to Attract the Best Talent — Whether your business has grown so you need to hire a key professional or you’re replacing a person, there are certain advertising-recruitment tips to use. To avoid wasting your time, you must plan.

Check Your Motives before Hiring Sales Employees – 11 Tips — With many companies desperately in the hunt for sales revenue, it might surprise you to learn that their predicaments are often self-imposed. Why? They hire the wrong sales employees.

“Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person.”
-Edwin Booz


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.