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We had a thread about being the interviewee, I need any advice on being the interviewer.

I'll be part of a 'team' of 3 doing some interviews next week, and I have never done one before.  We are having a 30 min talk through/training (!) on Friday.  

Any good general questions to ask?

The role will be level 1 technical, logging tickets, answering calls, acknowledging alarms.... in a networks/Radio Frequency/satellite operations room.....

My only pointer so far is don't go technical!

With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

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I've never been in this position, but once you've established their actual ability to do the job, try and find out what they are like as a person.

No point employing a brilliant hotshot who happens to be an unbearable git. Think about who they'll be working with too, because a mismatch means you'll be hiring replacements more often (either for the new person or departmental colleagues who can't stand him/her).

Where I work, they weed out the ones who just can't hack it at the job, but then spend a considerable time comparing impressions of the candidates' personalities.

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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3 hours ago, Bedford Roughyed said:

We had a thread about being the interviewee, I need any advice on being the interviewer.

I'll be part of a 'team' of 3 doing some interviews next week, and I have never done one before.  We are having a 30 min talk through/training (!) on Friday.  

Any good general questions to ask?

The role will be level 1 technical, logging tickets, answering calls, acknowledging alarms.... in a networks/Radio Frequency/satellite operations room.....

My only pointer so far is don't go technical!

I've done many hundreds of interviews - but they were mostly technical. Competency based interviewing is all the rage now, trying to get people to provide examples of where they've dealt with the situation you're asking about.

We'd typically start off with a few easy things to get people talking, then maybe ask what they know about the company, what they understood about the role they've applied for - that gives you a chance to gently correct/explain some more about what is involved. I'd typically get people to talk through their CV - explain about previous jobs, their education (if relevant). What interests them about this job, why did they apply, why would they want to leave current job (if applicable) and so on.

For customer-facing roles, you might want to focus on previous experience doing support-like activities? "Have you ever had a situation where you had to deal with an angry customer?", "What would you do if two important customers wanted urgent action at the same time?" or whatever might be appropriate. Our customer support roles were typically very much about being able to remote debug chip designs that weren't working for some reason, so even for fresh graduates with no relevant experience, we'd still be asking things like "Tell me about a time where you wrote a program/designed a circuit (/dealt with some other situation where logically analyzing a problem and trying stuff out would fix it) and it didn't work. How did you debug it?" Another key thing for hiring the right people for the jobs I was trying to fill was the ability to learn new technology quickly, so we'd ask things like "If I asked you to become an expert in XXX, how would you go about that?"

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12 hours ago, Bedford Roughyed said:

We had a thread about being the interviewee, I need any advice on being the interviewer.

I'll be part of a 'team' of 3 doing some interviews next week, and I have never done one before.  We are having a 30 min talk through/training (!) on Friday.  

Any good general questions to ask?

The role will be level 1 technical, logging tickets, answering calls, acknowledging alarms.... in a networks/Radio Frequency/satellite operations room.....

My only pointer so far is don't go technical!

The balancing act for me is to support people to give the best answer they can without leading them to the answer you want them to give.

And, always, get them to give answers based on experience rather than theory. Even if, say they're young or new to the area, they're not *directly* relevant to the job in hand. So, for example, ones around when they've had to work with a budget might, as it did for someone who actually got the job we were interviewing for and was brilliant at it, include saving up for and then spending for travelling around Europe.

Standard questions which can get people to open up and be interesting:

What aspects of this job do you think you would find most challenging and why?

Can you think of where you got something badly wrong and how did you remedy that situation?

What would you like to have achieved by the end of your first year in this role?

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Been on this side on many occasions, if it is a 3 panel, 2 make notes whilst the interviewer asks questions and interacts.

It's worth asking a base line question at the start this allows you to see how the candidate reacts to things they like or dislike, you can use this to try to ascertain if they are being truthful later. 

If the job requires technical knowledge then ask but if it isn't then ask about experience in a customer role.

Our usual questions are tell me about a time when.....

Its usually tell me about how you dealt with a difficult customer, how did you resolve the issue, calm them etc. You should know what you need for the role, ask if they have worked as part of a big team, small team or alone as appropriate.

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Not a bad idea to ask a question that's a fair way outside their experience and qualifications, just to see how they answer it. If they are honest enough to say they don't know, and that they would ask for advice and help from colleagues, that's actually a good thing. If you get a lot of bluff, bluster and jargon, it can help you make an easier decision on the candidate.

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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13 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

Not a bad idea to ask a question that's a fair way outside their experience and qualifications, just to see how they answer it. If they are honest enough to say they don't know, and that they would ask for advice and help from colleagues, that's actually a good thing. If you get a lot of bluff, bluster and jargon, it can help you make an easier decision on the candidate.

This is a good one. As we work with vulnerable adults (but the people I interview won't do that on a face to face basis), the one we ask if how they would handle someone coming to them with a safeguarding issue. We know they won't know our exact processes but we want to see their thinking and understanding.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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You're looking for these in your interview questions:

Skills, (Can they demonstrate they can do the job?)
Knowledge, (Can they demonstrate they've got the required learning and training for the job (different to skills!))
Experience, (Have they relevant experience that matches the spec? Or experience that's transferable?)
Attitude, (Would they fit into your workplace? Do they have the sort of attitude you're looking for?)
Character. (Do they have the right character for the job? For a fairly junior person, you're not that fussed about a messy past, but do you need to know more?)

Make sure your list of questions covers all those. Remember that it's perfectly fine to have big gaps if you're looking for someone coming in at the bottom of a grade. If you're after top of a grade then you're going to want all the boxes ticked.

A nice-to-have set of questions comes around potential. Are you looking for someone with the nouse to stay and develop them into higher skill roles? If so, no point hiring someone who wants a set job for life. But... if you're after that set-for-life type then remember that when asking questions! An example, we brought in a woman past retirement age who just wanted company and to do basic admin stuff, absolutely perfect for us and suits her perfectly. But we also have apprentices who are chafing at the bit to get onto bigger and better stuff.

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"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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All great advice thanks.  Hopefully will get a better idea what they are after tomorrow.  

With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

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Which of your managers would you like to see executed?

Which football team do you support, and why? (If it's the same as their Father, they are sheep)

How would you react to an employee using abusive language to a junior?

Will you bring cakes in on your Birthday? (Very Important)

Edited by Bleep1673
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On 10/12/2020 at 13:02, ckn said:

You're looking for these in your interview questions:

Skills, (Can they demonstrate they can do the job?)
Knowledge, (Can they demonstrate they've got the required learning and training for the job (different to skills!))
Experience, (Have they relevant experience that matches the spec? Or experience that's transferable?)
Attitude, (Would they fit into your workplace? Do they have the sort of attitude you're looking for?)
Character. (Do they have the right character for the job? For a fairly junior person, you're not that fussed about a messy past, but do you need to know more?)

I have an Internet Interview next Wednesday as a Phlebotomist, and those 5 criteria have really set me up, because,

1) yes

2) Yes

3) Yes

4) Yes, maybe.

5) Yes

I spent 30 years as an ODA/P working in theatres, cannulating patients, inserting arterial lines, and general blood letting.

Yes I tick 4.5 boxes, but I was sacked by the Trust 5 years ago.

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7 minutes ago, Bleep1673 said:

I have an Internet Interview next Wednesday as a Phlebotomist, and those 5 criteria have really set me up, because,

1) yes

2) Yes

3) Yes

4) Yes, maybe.

5) Yes

I spent 30 years as an ODA/P working in theatres, cannulating patients, inserting arterial lines, and general blood letting.

Yes I tick 4.5 boxes, but I was sacked by the Trust 5 years ago.

Good luck! Try to get those points out and you’ll hopefully have a decent chance given those are core interviewer skills to pick through.

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"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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On 11/12/2020 at 17:28, Bleep1673 said:

Which football team do you support, and why? 

My first job after university, my manager supported Raith Rovers. The manager above him supported Raith Rovers, as did the General Manager of the whole factory.

Now, if this had been a job in Kirkcaldy, this might have all been expected. However, I was working in Plymouth.

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On 13/12/2020 at 13:30, JonM said:

My first job after university, my manager supported Raith Rovers. The manager above him supported Raith Rovers, as did the General Manager of the whole factory.

Now, if this had been a job in Kirkcaldy, this might have all been expected. However, I was working in Plymouth.

I wonder if they went for a clean, Kirkcaldy, sporting sweep by supporting Fife Flyers too!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 09/12/2020 at 20:05, Bedford Roughyed said:

We had a thread about being the interviewee, I need any advice on being the interviewer.

I'll be part of a 'team' of 3 doing some interviews next week, and I have never done one before.  

I hope all went well.  It can be demanding as quite a responsibility with a business and candidates both often heavily invested in the outcome. 

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On 10/12/2020 at 13:02, ckn said:

You're looking for these in your interview questions:

Skills, (Can they demonstrate they can do the job?)
Knowledge, (Can they demonstrate they've got the required learning and training for the job (different to skills!))
Experience, (Have they relevant experience that matches the spec? Or experience that's transferable?)
Attitude, (Would they fit into your workplace? Do they have the sort of attitude you're looking for?)
Character. (Do they have the right character for the job? For a fairly junior person, you're not that fussed about a messy past, but do you need to know more?)

Make sure your list of questions covers all those. Remember that it's perfectly fine to have big gaps if you're looking for someone coming in at the bottom of a grade. If you're after top of a grade then you're going to want all the boxes ticked.

A nice-to-have set of questions comes around potential. Are you looking for someone with the nouse to stay and develop them into higher skill roles? If so, no point hiring someone who wants a set job for life. But... if you're after that set-for-life type then remember that when asking questions! An example, we brought in a woman past retirement age who just wanted company and to do basic admin stuff, absolutely perfect for us and suits her perfectly. But we also have apprentices who are chafing at the bit to get onto bigger and better stuff.

Add in - are they difficult to manage..... I spend lots of time managing difficult staff that I could spend developing those who aren't 

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