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Job Interviews Screening Applicants

I am pretty good at interviewing job applicants and getting an idea of their skills and capabilities. However, I don't know how to get a clearer picture of issues such as their ability to get along, stay cool under pressure, or keep a positive attitude. Can you suggest any good questions to ask?

When you conduct a job interview and learn about the applicant's work experience, training, and expertise, you are actually obtaining around half of the information you need to make an informed hiring decision. In essence, all you have determined is that the applicant has the technical skills to do the job.

The unanswered question is whether the applicant possesses the less apparent competencies that are essential for success. In a word, does he or she have the necessary motivation, drive, interpersonal skills, outlook, and persistence to perform well in your company?

Importantly, when employees fail on the job, they tend to do so as a result of these competency factors. This has led to the rise of what is called competency-based interviewing. These interviews not only walk through an applicant's work history, training, and experience, but they also include questions about real work situations and how the applicant handled them.

For example, the applicant would not be asked if he or she is able to handle pressure well, because the obvious answer is a resounding "yes." The competency question would be something like, "Tell me about a high pressure situation that you faced on the job and how you handled it."

Competency questions can cover a broad range of an applicant's work history, and asking them will help make you a more competent interviewer.

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