Posted By: Deanna DeBenedictis

Good interviewers make it look easy. However, even if the interview is your least favorite part of hiring, knowing what to ask and when to ask it can make it an efficient, effective process.

It is important to prepare beforehand, making notes on resumes, drafting a series of questions – some of which that can be asked of all applicants – and ordering them in the way you want to structure your interview.

Key requirements of the job should be brought up early in the vetting process, usually during a phone interview. Confirm basic information included on the resume, and also about specific work requirements such as travel, working nights/weekends, lifting 50 pounds. If a candidate can't or won't be able to fulfill these duties, s/he should be screened out early on.

If longevity is important to the position, but a candidate's resume has gaps of unemployment or frequent job-hopping, ask about that early on as well.

It is good practice to start in-person interviews with some easy personal and background questions to break the ice and put the candidate at ease. Provide an overview of the position and the company, but don't give away so much that you can't determine if a candidate did his homework about your organization.

Once you've established a rapport, ask about the applicant's skills, abilities and competencies; and how they relate to the position you're filling. Ask open-ended questions that require elaboration. Next, give the interviewee a chance to demonstrate problem solving, and/or provide case studies. Ask about unrelated jobs and how they influenced their current work. These would be followed by questions about the future – goals, desire for advancement and so on – before taking questions from the candidate.

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