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Create standard job descriptions
Create specific position job description based on standard job description
Post opening for position
Review resumes and select candidates to interview
Run interview loops for selected candidates
HR Manager performs 30 minute interview
Perform 2-4 60 minute interviews and 1 90 minute lunch interview
All interviewers should receive the job description, candidate resume, and competencies that should be interviewed
All candidates for the position should interview with the same interviewers
Immediately after interview, interviewer must submit feedback and results of the interview
Interviewers discuss candidates and make hire/no hire decision
You'll get greater consistency and reliability in your questioning if you use the following approach recommended by selection
Set your interview questions in advance and write down their responses to interview questions. Provide specific examples
of what the interviewee said and the conclusions you reached as a result. Send your detailed notes back to the HR
Ask the same set of targeted questions for all candidates interviewing for a position. If information acquired on interview
day requires you to adjust (for example, if you are asked to probe into another area), then add and adjust as needed.
Ask one hypothetical and one behavioral question for each one of your assigned competencies using the competency
based interview questions guide. If you cannot ask both question types because of time, use a behavioral question as past
behavior is the best predicator of future behavior.
Use all of the standard probing questions provided for the behavioral and hypothetical questions.
Use the same interview loop for every candidate interviewing for a particular position. If interviewers are substituted, those
interviewers should use the same questions for the assigned competencies.
Another key to good interview results is to develop an interview style that is inclusive and allows for differences. The most
skilled interviewers can comfortably interact with candidates who have different styles than their own and diverse
backgrounds and experiences.
60 Minute Interview
Introduction and Opening (approximately 3-5 minutes)
Make introductions and start building rapport during this time. After you have greeted the candidate and made him or her
comfortable, set expectations for how the interview will proceed. Share the context of your role on the team and the interview loop.
Use Opening Questions to get the interview started before drilling deeply into other areas.
Technical/Functional Knowledge and Skills Assessment (time will vary)
The time that you spend assessing the candidate on technical/functional knowledge and skills will depend on the strategy outlined by
the hiring manager. Everyone on the loop might not be asked to cover technical/functional areas. Sometimes competencies and
knowledge/technical overlap where interviewers incorporate competency questions into their assessment of the candidate's
Competency Assessment (approximately 20-45 minutes)
The time that you spend assessing the candidate on job-related competencies will vary depending on the interview strategy and how
many competencies you are assigned. Using one behavioral and one hypothetical question for each competency, along with the
follow-up probing questions, will generally take 10-15 minutes per competency. One interviewer can usually cover 2-4 competencies.
Q&A, Selling, and Closing (approximately 10-15 minutes)
At the end of the interview, reserve extra time to answer additional questions the candidate may have that have not been addressed.
The end of the interview is also a good time for sharing information about the group and about your organization. Talk with the
hiring manager and HR manager about the strategy for selling the group and company.
Opening / Warm Up Questions
Technical & Functional
Best / Worst Case
Third Party Assessment
Opening/Warm Up Questions
Use opening/warm-up questions to break the ice and start the interview. Opening questions tend to
cover a broad topic or time period in the candidate's background. Asking these questions is a great
way to build rapport.
Take five minutes and walk me through:
A typical day.
The primary responsibilities of your current job.
Tell me more about:
Why you are here today.
Your role in your latest project.
Why you find our organization appealing.
Behavioral Probing Questions
Please give me an overview of the situation (for example timeframe, role, and so on)
How did you first get involved?
What were your thoughts at various points during the situation?
What were some of your personal actions/activities? Examples?
Can you describe key conversations from the situation?
Did you encounter any obstacles? Choose one and tell me how you addressed it.
Can you give me more examples?
What was the outcome of the situation?
Looking back at this situation, what would you do differently/what are your thoughts?
What did you learn from the situation?
Hypothetical Probing Questions
What would be your strategy in approaching the situation?
What is the rationale behind your strategy?
What would you do first?
Who would you involve? How would you involve them?
What would be some of your follow-up actions?
What obstacles could you expect? How would you address them?
What if that didn’t work, what would you do then?
How would you measure your success?
Generic Probing Questions
What were you: thinking, doing, saying?
Can you give me an example/illustration of what you are saying?
Can you expand on your answer/response?
Can you provide me more details?
Pause (for 10 seconds)
Q: Do I need to use all the standard probing questions?
A: It is recommended that you use all the standard probing questions. These questions are intended to reach the
correct level of depth and to avoid over-probing.
Q: Does this mean that I should not ask other probing questions? What if the candidate brings something up that
I think I need to probe?
A: Avoid extra probing questions based on the previous reasons. However, always use your judgment in each
situation, and if there is something that you think must be probed, make a judgment call. If a candidate answers
one of the probing questions in his or her response, you would want to skip that one.
Q: Should I focus on the candidate's failures in the interview in order to learn about his or her past experiences?
A: Although it is important to probe into obstacles or challenges encountered, you should also focus on the
candidate’s successes and accomplishments because there is value in both. Specifically targeting failure from the
starting point—"Tell me about a time that you failed"—can contribute to a negative candidate experience and
does not create the most conducive environment for sharing information. The best approach is to uncover this
information using the standard probing questions provided.
Technical/Functional Problem-Solving Questions
Good Technical/Functional Problem-Solving Questions:
Relate to the position and can be asked of all candidates for the position.
Provide the candidate an opportunity to demonstrate his/her job-related technical or functional knowledge and/or skills by working through a problem the candidate might
encounter in the position for which he or she is interviewing. Brain teasers are NOT appropriate problem-solving questions. Assess the specific technical/functional knowledge
and/or skills the candidate claims to have.
Allow multiple areas of knowledge and/or skills to be identified.
Build on a previous question and allow the interviewer to probe deeper.
Have multiple answers or solutions. Some solutions should be obvious; follow-up questions and/or hints should lead to other solutions where trade-offs between different solutions
can be discussed.
Use real-world problems (which are better than contrived problems) that relate to the job.
Can be easily understood though not easily answered or solved.
Produce a range of answers or solutions to help distinguish between candidates’ demonstration of job-related knowledge and/or skills and to compare candidates.
Allow the interviewer to check algorithm design, coding and/or testing ability (where job-related), and allow the candidate to check their own work.
Actively engage both the candidate and the interviewer in working through the problem/solution together. Interviewer knows when candidate is off track and coaches when needed
to get the candidate back on track.
What to look for in candidates’ responses:
How they approach and solve the problem, not just getting the right solution. There are a wide variety of things that could prevent a candidate from identifying the best solution
during the few minutes they have with you. The way a candidate approaches a problem may provide the interviewer a basis for assessing whether the candidate demonstrates
possession of certain job-related competencies.
Did they apply multiple strategies?
Did they identify when a strategy wasn’t working? Were they able to step back far enough to get back on track?
Did they analyze their processes and results?
Are they asking you questions to help them get on the right path, and do they incorporate your hints?
Technical/Functional Knowledge and Skills
"Please describe the approach you have used in the past to identify external
market opportunities and the strategies you identified to respond to those."
"As an Account Manager, you've scheduled an initial meeting with the CIO of a
large strategic customer to introduce yourself. You have thirty minutes. What is
your agenda for the meeting?"
Self Appraisal Questions
Self-appraisal questions require the candidate to rate his or her performance in
What was your specific contribution to the success of the project?
What was your specific contribution to the success of the team?
How would you have handled [the customer/the conflict/the delivery of the
product or service] differently?
How would you evaluate your performance in that area? On that project?
Best and Worst Case
Best and worst case questions used together can help you get a more balanced and
realistic perspective of the candidate's breadth and depth of experience.
Please give me an example of the best and the worst management decision that
you have made.
Tell me what you like most and least about your current position.
Third Party Assessment
Third party assessment questions can be used to gain insight into the candidate's
assessment of how other people perceive his or her performance and accomplishments.
These questions are especially good for college and university candidates and/or
candidates from cultures who may generally refrain from talking about their individual
contributions. This kind of question allows the candidate to talk about his or her
performance and accomplishments through the perspective of a third party.
What would your teammates/co-workers say about your contribution to a project
you've worked on?
What would your supervisor/manager/professors say about your ability to learn new
Contact the next interviewer, tell them areas they should probe into and explore
Immediately after interview ends, interviewer must send feedback to HR – do it
while it is fresh in your memory
Feedback should be specific with examples
As part of feedback, send decision
1. Hire – they are a great fit for the position
2. Good for the company – a good hire, but maybe they interviewed for the wrong
3. No Hire
The S.T.A.R.S. Probing Model is intended to guide interviewers through the probing process to ensure the appropriate level of depth and detail needed. The
behavioral and hypothetical probing questions provided follow the S.T.A.R.S. Model.
Situation/Task: Overview of the situation/task/project/role.
Actions: What, Why, and How. Actions taken by the candidate – what they did or would do, why they did it or why they would do it, and how they did it or how they
would do it.
Used to gain insight into how the candidate thinks, solves problems, makes decisions, etc.
Look for examples that demonstrate the candidates not only the ability to do the job, but also the willingness and motivation to do the job.
Results/Outcome: The outcome of the situation/task/project.
Accomplishments - Successes, and accomplishments achieved. Look for insight into how they were achieved, who they worked and collaborated with others, who else
Roadblocks - Challenges/obstacles encountered Look for insight into accountability, how they communicated with leaders, manager, peers regarding the challenges.
Probe for choices and decisions they made and the rationale behind them.
Self-Appraisal: Candidate’s evaluation and self assessment of the situation/task/project. What could have gone better, what would they do differently next time?
What did they learn from this? How was this learning applied to new situations?
Contrary Evidence: It's sometimes easy to generalize about a candidate’s capabilities based upon one example. To safeguard against a premature judgment, seek
contrary information to get a balanced and realistic assessment. Always balance a negative example by seeking a contrary example where the candidate performed
the technical/functional knowledge and skill or competency well. Always balance a positive example by seeking a contrary example where the candidate had
challenges, even failures, performing the technical/functional knowledge and skill or competency.