Human Resources

Supervisor Policies and Procedures Manual

II. Hiring a new employee

F. General guidelines for interviewing

Developing questions

  • Develop questions based on each major task and responsibility in the position description. 
  • Develop questions based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of the position. 
  • Prepare questions that supplement the written information.
  • Prepare questions that force the applicant to think.
  • Include problem-solving questions that allow the applicant to think creatively. 
  • Develop questions that elicit more than a yes or no response.
  • DO NOT ask questions that could be viewed as discriminatory such as questions about the applicant's race, color, or national origin, age, disability, religious affiliation, family plans,  economic status, cultural background.

Refer to the sample questions provided in this manaul.  Human Resources also has additional samples of questions and is available to assist supervisors in developing an interview.

Selecting interviewers

In order for a selection process to be fair and defensible, interviewers must have a clear and thorough understanding of the vacant position and a thorough knowledge and understanding of the laws related to selection and discrimination. 

It is the responsibility of the hiring supervisor to ensure that everyone he/she asks to participate as an interviewer has this knowledge and understanding.  Each person who interacts with the applicant will be viewed as an agent of Reed College.  Improper questions, promises that are not kept, and inappropriate remarks will reflect badly on the college and may be legally indefensible.

When asking others to interview, consider whether interviewing as a panel or group is feasible.  There are a number of advantages, including:

  • each interviewer hears the same information and has a common basis for comparison;
  • it allows for better discussion among the interviewers of each of the applicants;
  • applicants are not asked the same questions over and over again;
  • applicants do not have to give up as much time, particularly if they are currently employed;
  • the hiring supervisor can maintain better control of the process and of the relative value of the information being collected and weighed.

Common interviewer or rating errors

  • "halo effect" is the tendency to rate a person high on all factors even though they were outstanding on only one factor;
  • "horns effect" is the opposite of the "halo effect";
  • "central tendency" is the inability to rate all or most applicants anywhere but in the middle;
    • "similar to me" is the tendency to rate higher those people who look, act, or have a background most like the interviewer;
    • "first impression" is making the hiring decision within the first few minutes of the interview, instead of evaluating all the information from the full interview.

last revised: 2/17/2012

last reviewed: 2/17/2012

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