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10 main questions in an interview with job applicants

The Human Resources decide everything, as is well known. Or almost everything. An interview with the job applicants and assessment of their compliance with requested position is the most important phase of the personnel selection and the most important task for an internal recruiter (HR-manager) of any enterprise. As to a small enterprise – the task of its manager. The better is recruiter’s knowledge about an applicant, the better he is "armed” for taking the proper decision. WHY the applicant searches for a new job? An answer to this question is the key moment for the recruiter. 


  A lot of guides is available on how to perform an interview: some of them are too academic, others are behind the age. Our everyday practice has elaborated 10 key subjects to be cleared up by each recruiter at any price.

  1. All details of the compensatory package at the last job site. It is necessary to know exactly what the applicant’s earning structure consists of. The salary’s basic part is frequently only a tip of the iceberg. Get knowledge about his bonuses and credits.  Compose a full list of all additional earnings of the applicant and his payments for credits. If your company is not able to ensure better terms - you are losing  your time…

  2. Travel to the job site and back. By what kind of transport, with switches or without? It is especially actual for a big city. At present the duration of the "life inside transport and street jamming” is one of the "life quality” indices. If the applicant’s travel to your company is more exhausting then that to his former job place, tell him about it directly and analyze his reaction. If the new travel is shorter or simpler, underline this advantage and use it for "selling” the vacancy.

  3. A difference between "I want…” and "They propose…” . Nobody changes its job for no special reason. Quite opposite, everybody would like to improve something, to get more or get anything missing. It can be named as "point of support”. Find the key reason – why the person would like to change its job and determine, if your company has THIS for him. It gives you possibility to select further tactics of negotiations.

  4. In which environment he works best of all? Separately or in a team, in the morning or evening, in a separate room or noisy office etc. Is he able to perform monotonous routine job? You have to know in advance the working conditions and specificity of department, into which the applicant is invited.  Will he fit in with future colleagues, will he accept the "rules of play” ?

  5. All the strong points and basic weaknesses. And also the possible objective restrictions. The strong points and weaknesses are quite natural, everyone has them. Our task is to determine them and assess their possible impact on future results.   Ask yourself: what kind of work is disliked by you? What functions are unpleasant for you?  Very rarely we make the unpleasant things qualitatively… 

  6. What novelties are expected at the new work place?   Sniff out, get down to bed-rock. Put open questions and press for concrete answers. It is problematic to present a position without understanding the applicant’s desires.

  7. Has the applicant other job proposals at present? Is he passing through other interviews these days? Avoid surprises for yourself and protect your management against them. Always ask the applicant, which proposals are still being considered by him. If he has 3 options now, and another 2 meetings are expected tomorrow, the decision "to propose– not to propose” shall be taken very promptly.

  8. What is required to "close the vacancy”? This question is concretization of the applicant’s answer to the question 6. For instant, if the main goal of the applicant is the higher salary, you should know  - how many? Or, if the question 6 reveals that the applicant tries to find "manifold work” with frequent change of projects, it is necessary to know what kinds of projects are interested for him and what does the "manifold work” represent for him. How frequently our speculations about such simple subjects disagree with true position!

  9. Is the applicant able to carry out THIS work? In any case you have to draw such conclusion.  And not on the basis of so called internal sense, but on the basis of the real-world information obtained in course of an interview. You have to use successful results achieved by the applicant at similar job and/or in similar environment. "Dig deeper” and do not complete an interview until generation of considered opinion on this.

  10. Will the applicant fit in with corporative culture of your enterprise?   The fortune-telling is an useless business; however the applicant’s chances for acclimatization shall be assessed by somebody.  It is common recognition that not each person making his work excellently climbs the ladder successfully. Not only work exists in the life, but also colleagues and relations, both of which are integrated into the said "corporative culture”.  For instance, the insurance company’s regular habits differ drastically from those of a young PC company established by friends-schoolmates etc.
  Such are 10 key subjects, on the basis of which the recruiter’s everlasting question "to be or not to be” shall be answered: "to accept or not to accept” this concrete person?

Sergey Belyaev,
NAVIGATOR recruitment company

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