Unfortunately over recent years, our society has become very litigious regarding employment related issues especially ones over questions asked at a job interview. Its almost as if you cant ask anything about a candidate for fear of being taken to court. As a manager or business owner, you have no choice but to conduct interviews with potential candidates if you have positions to fill.

Most companies have an interview guide which contains a set list of questions to ask as well as an objective criterion. Use it! No doubt the company has spent a great deal of time and money on it so that they can safeguard themselves from any litigation which may arise. If your company or business doesn’t have one, write one but get it checked by your HR department first before you begin to use it. It will show your manager that you have initiative and take your role very seriously. If you don’t already, know your company culture and select candidates accordingly.

There are right and wrong questions to ask. At all costs, avoid questions about age, race, country of birth, religion, sexual preference, disability, if they have filed for any workers compensation claims, how many days were they off sick last year, did they sue any of their previous employers. Never ask a woman for example about her husband, children or if she plans to get pregnant soon. All these types of questions can and have been interpreted as discrimination.

Before you call a candidate in for a face to face interview, screen them on the phone first.Dont waste your valuable time in a face to face interview with someone who is clearly not suitable for the role. You can generally tell if the person is interested or suitable just by a brief conversation over the phone.

Never EVER give any sort of long term assurance that if they get the position, they can stay forever if they do a great job. This can be taken as a verbal contract and it would be up to you to prove that they didn’t do a good job. Very messy and costly so avoid like the plague.

Hear what isn’t said. Body language says a lot about what a person really thinks. You don’t have to be a body language expert. A few simple things like, what sort of handshake did they give you? A limp one, which usually means low self esteem and indifference or was it a firm handshake which means confidence? What about eye contact during the interview? Were they looking down, at a point over your shoulders or staring at you? All those generally mean they were not truthful about what they were telling you. Things like a slouching posture while sitting, legs crossed over one knee and hands crossed behind their head are usually aggressive signs. While I conducted interviews, I kept an eager eye out for those types of signs.

The way a person dresses tells you a lot about their suitability too. If a male comes with a briefcase polished shoes, clean shirt and tie and a freshly dry cleaned suit, that equals a solid professional look. If a female comes in a business suit or dress, light make up and not wearing too much perfume that would know a bird out of its nest in the park across the road, then that’s also a solid professional look. If a person walks in with dirty fingernails, scuffed shoes, messy hair and the list can go on; would you hire that person and put them in front of your customers? I don’t think so. I had guys turning up for interviews who look like they hadn’t slept all night, unshaven, their breath smelling of alcohol, crumpled jackets and white shirts that were yellow around the collar. Likewise with females, some turning up looking like they were interviewing for that pole dancing job around the corner. Ah yes, you get all sorts.

If you are responsible for hiring staff for your department, then you have to make sure you hire the right candidate for the job. If you have to interview the same person more than once, so be it. Its best not to hire a person who’s not suitable in the first place than try and get rid of them once they have been hired. It’s a waste of your time and the company’s money and it makes you look very incompetent to your manager.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Andrew Bailey.I have been in various management roles for nearly 15 years. I have worked for small husband and wife companies to large telephony companies.