Interview and Hiring Guide

The Interview and Hiring Guide is the essential tool that every manager needs. It contains everything that you need to get the recruiting and hiring process started, get candidates screened, and interviewed.

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Background Screening

Interview Hiring Guide IT job Descriptions IT Salary SurveyBackground screening is a critical part of the hiring process for the majority of organizations today, but it is even more essential in the current economy for several reasons. has found that a shortage of key skills is the number one challenge facing CIOs and IT functions. This may seem counter-intuitive at first given the news of continued high levels of unemployment and a "jobless" economic recovery. However coupled with many interviews with CIOs and HR professionals in end-user organizations, confirms that finding the right talent - the talent with the right mix of skills, behaviors and values to fit with the organization - is still a challenge. In fact, more applicants in the pool makes filtering and screening even more critical to ensure that time isn't wasted on candidates who aren't a good fit or who might not be qualified for the position.

Recruiting Process

When starting the recruiting process all managers within the same enterprise should follow the same processes. If that occurs then a consistent pool of talent will be recruited by the enterprise. During the recruiting processes best practices include:

  • Understanding of the applicant sources that provide the best quality job candidates
  • Feedback from the hiring manager on candidates
  • Feedback from the hiring manager on the recruiting process
  • Feedback from the candidates on the recruiting process
  • Recruiters work directly with hiring managers to ensure competency / skill / fit requirements for each job role are defined and understood
  • Corporate leadership buy-in / support for talent acquisition strategy

Questions you cannot ask in the interview

Have an outline in place (and follow it) for each interview in order to put all candidates on an even playing field

Anyone conducting an interview should be aware of questions that are illegal to ask prospective employees. Many illegal questions are easy for just about anyone with elementary social graces to avoid, but others might surprise you. In general, you should not ask interviewee about their age, race, national origin, marital or parental status, or disabilities.  Some of the key questions to avoid asking are:

  • Where were you born? Alternatively, are you a U.S. Citizen?
    This question could be used to gather information illegally about the candidate’s national origin. Although it may seem more relevant, you should also avoid asking, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” You can ask whether a candidate is authorized to work in the United States, but avoid asking about citizenship. You can inform the candidate that they will need to supply proof that they are authorized to work in the United States.
  • What is your native language?
    You can ask whether the person knows a language if it is required for the job. For example, if job responsibilities include supporting Spanish-speaking customers, it is fair to ask whether the candidate speaks Spanish.
  • Are you married?
    You cannot discriminate based on marital status.
  • Do you have children?
    There is a general prohibition about discrimination over parental status.
  • Do you plan to get pregnant?
    This question to weed out women who might take a maternity leave.  It is illegal.
  • How old are you?
    Age discrimination is clearly illegal, and you should avoid this question. Don’t try to get the information by asking when the person graduated from college, either.
  • Do you observe Christmas?
    You cannot discriminate based on religion, so this question is illegal, as would be asking about Yom Kippur, Ramadan, or the Solstice. If you are concerned about the candidate’s availability, you could ask whether he or she can work on holidays and weekends, but not about the observance of particular religious holidays.
  • Do you have a disability or chronic illness?
    If the job will require some specific physical tasks, such as installing cables in walls and ceilings, you may ask whether the person could perform those tasks with reasonable accommodation.
  • Are you in the National Guard?
    It is illegal to discriminate against someone because he or she belongs to the National Guard or a reserve unit.
  • Do you smoke or use alcohol?
    You cannot discriminate based on the use of a legal product when the employee is not on the premises and not on the job. You can tell the candidate that a drug test will be required as part of the hiring process.

Questions that the interviewer has to have answers for

Have an outline in place (and follow it) for each interview in order to put all candidates on an even playing field

The interviewer needs to be prepared before the interview starts. The interviewer should review the position description and requirements for the job that is going to be filled and the resume and any other documentation that is available about the candidate. The interviewer should be prepared to answer the following questions if the are asked or where appropriate provide the answers if the candidate does not ask the questions.

  • Is there a detail job description for the position oris there more detail about the position's specific responsibilities?
  • What is the career path for the individual selected and where is this position going in the next few years?
  • What will define success in this position and how can the individual selected become a strong contributor within the organization?
  • What are the most challenging aspects of the job?
  • What metrics are in place for this position and how will performance be evaluated, and at what frequency?
  • What particular aspects about the candidate's background and experience interest you?
  • What makes you think the candidate will be successful in this job? What causes concern about the candidate?
  • How does the candidate's background measure up to the requirements of the job?  To the other candidates?
  • Where are you in the hiring process? What are the next step?
  • If the candidate does not hear from you within a week, would it be okay to call you?

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