Asking the right questions is essential to securing the right candidate and choosing the best way to ask those questions is also vitally important.
At Salesmasters, we can help you improve your interview process so you can more accurately assess a potential candidate. You’ll ask the right questions using the best practice method for the candidate and role and use effective assessment tools to identify candidates that are properly suited to the role.
There are a few different types of interview techniques you can use
Selection interviews can be conducted in many different ways, but perhaps the three models most widely used by personnel professionals are:
The biographical interview
The biographical interview can be defined as a semi-structured chronological exploration of the candidate’s past experiences.
It is based on the premise that past behaviour will predict future behaviour. Its aim is to cover, in a comprehensive and probing manner, previous experience both within and outside formal work situations.
Areas of use
The biographical interview is very widely used at all levels and stages of selection interviewing.
It is probably most appropriate for external candidates, either as the only or the first interview, where technical interviews with line managers are also included.
Career: Talk me through the roles you have held in the last 5 years. (Probe)
Skills: What skills most qualify you for this role? (Probe)
Aspirations: What is your ultimate career goal?
Where do you see your career in 5 years? (Probe)
Competency-based interview or behaviourally based criterion interview
Competency-based interviewing or criterion interviewing is a structured series of questions aimed at eliciting behavioural information against specific job related competencies or criteria. A competency or criterion in this context is a type of behaviour or skill found to be relevant to the job. Job analysis is usually used to identify relevant behaviour of good job performers. Questions usually focus on eliciting specific examples from candidates, describing situations where they have demonstrated the required behaviours
These are probed in a systematic way by the interviewer to build up a picture of relative strengths and weaknesses of candidates against the criteria. Competency definitions can describe both acceptable/successful and unacceptable/unsuccessful behaviour.
Areas of use
Competency-based or criterion interviewing can be used for external selection and internal promotion/selection interviewing. It is particularly useful in assessment centres where the interview is usually employed to provide evidence against specific criteria. It is also a useful technique at second interviews, and where selection is shared between different interviewers, individually or in panels, because it allows for a structured and systematic approach with minimal overlap or repetition.
Example Competency and Question
An example of a competency or criterion is:
- Relating and Networking: establishes good relationships with customers and staff.
- Builds wide and effective networks of contacts inside and outside the organisation.
- Relates well to people at all levels.
Can you give me an example of a recent occasion when you needed quickly to establish an effective relationship?
- What did you do?
- What was the outcome?
- How would your colleagues approach this?
The situational interview.
Depending upon the situation, and the information that the interviewer hopes to obtain,
a combination of two or even three may be useful. Increasingly, the telephone is being used as a medium through which to conduct an initial screening interview.
The situational interview is a series of predetermined, hypothetical, job-related questions, the responses to which are evaluated against a set of pre-determined example answers – as expressed by job matter experts.
The interview is therefore highly structured in terms of both the questions and the evaluation of the answers. The situational interview attempts to reduce the potential bias and subjectivity of the interview. It produces an interview, which has some of the characteristics of a more formal test.
Typical job situations need to be fairly straight forward, where job behaviour is restricted to one or two dimensions. The situations and example responses should be developed in collaboration with interview and job matter experts.
Areas of use
The situational interview was initially developed for use with straightforward manual positions and exclusively for selection. It has been used as a telephone pre-screening interview where there are large numbers of applicants. More recent applications have involved use in selection for clerical and administrative jobs.
The company you work for has implemented a new customer management system and is moving information across from the old system to the new system. The data has to be transferred across manually and you have been asked to get involved in this. Your task is to copy information from customer printouts onto the new customer management system. The task involves inputting thousands of customer details, is quite repetitive and requires a great deal of concentration. You are working in an open plan office with other data inputters who are working on the same project. The area you are working in is opposite the Customer Services Department, which receives incoming calls and deals with customer queries. As a result, it can, at times, get quite noisy. How would you approach the task? (Listen and evaluate response against benchmark answers.)
The Telephone Interview
The telephone interview refers to the medium in which the interview is conducted, rather than any particular style of interviewing. The telephone interview may be biographical, situational or competency based or indeed a combination of interview models.
Areas of use
Whatever the type, the telephone interview is most frequently used as an initial screening interview, either following short listing from CV’s/application forms, or subsequent to initial web-based screening through bio data, tests and questionnaires. The telephone interview is particularly valuable when it precedes a more sophisticated selection process, perhaps involving significant time and money in travel. It is also beneficial when the telephone is a medium used a great deal in the job itself, i.e. it can act as a simulation in order to evaluate telephone communication skills.
Initial interviews for call centre staff can be conducted by phone. The telephone interview can also be of particular benefit in terms of convenience for potential employees who are going to be home based, and may find travel to an initial interview inconvenient, preferring an exploratory discussion on the phone.
The panel interview refers to the number of interviewers rather than any particular style of interviewing. The panel interview has at least two interviewers up to a maximum of around 20.
The panel interview may be biographical, situational or competency-based, or a combination of different interviewing styles.
Areas of use
Overall, the panel strives to achieve greater accuracy and objectivity by combining the skills and viewpoints from a range of specialists and pooling their Judgements to evaluate the candidate against a shared understanding of the assessment criteria.
Panels often combine a line management interviewer with a representative from the HR function. Panel interviews are used at all levels, but particularly with more senior levels, and at a later stage in the selection process.
Panel interviews are a popular method of assessment in Public Sector and other large organisations, e.g. banks
Call us on 1300 950 073 (Press To Call) to find out how we can help you improve your sales selection process.