Human Resources

Interviewing

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Interview Considerations and Best Practices

Wright State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, national ancestry, sex, pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military service or veteran status, mental or physical disability, or genetic information in employment, admission, treatment, or access to its programs or activities.

To assist with recruiting and retaining the best-qualified faculty and staff in a manner that supports Wright State’s mission and complies with federal and state non-discrimination laws and regulations, Human Resources EEO provides interview considerations. Please contact the HR EEO staff with any questions or concerns. 

Please note the following:

  • Interview questions should be job-related. 
  • These guidelines apply to anyone who has contact with candidates and any decision-making authority or input.
  • If a candidate voluntarily discloses information that is not recommended to ask, individuals involved in the interview process should not ask any follow-up questions regarding that voluntarily disclosed information.
  • If a candidate voluntarily discloses information that is not recommended to ask to some members of the search committee, but not others, those who received the information should not share it with anyone else involved in the process of making decisions regarding the search.
  • Any information that a candidate voluntarily discloses, that is not recommended to ask, should not be taken into consideration when making decisions regarding the search.
  • If a candidate informs anyone involved in the search process that they may need accommodation for a disability in order to participate in any part of the search process, please provide that candidate with the contact information for HR EEO. Additionally, if a candidate informs you or anyone else involved in the search/hiring process that they may need a reasonable accommodation for a disability upon being hired, please direct them to the HR EEO staff at 937-775-3207 or oei@wright.edu.

Interview Considerations and Best Practices printer-friendly version (PDF)

Topic

Acceptable

Not Recommended

Name

Name

Inquiry into any title which indicates race, color, religion, national origin, disability status, age, sex, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, military status, veteran status, or ancestry of the applicant

Address

Inquiry into place of and length at current address

Inquiry into any previous address(es)

Age

None (unless a bona fide occupational requirement, which must be approved by HR)

Any inquiry regarding age (unless a bona fide occupational requirement, which must be approved by HR), including the following:

  • Any request for a birth certificate or baptismal record prior to hire
  • Any inquiry which may reveal the date of high school graduation
  • Any other inquiry which may reveal an applicant’s age

Birthplace, National Origin or Ancestry

None

Any inquiry regarding birthplace, national origin and ancestry, including the following:

  • Any inquiry into place of birth
  • Any inquiry into place of birth of parents, grandparents, spouse or partner.
  • Any other inquiry into national origin or ancestry.

Race, Ethnicity or Color

None

Any inquiry which would indicate race, ethnicity and/or color

Sex

None (unless a bona fide occupational requirement, which must  be approved by HR)

Any inquiry which would indicate sex (unless a bona fide occupational requirement, which must be approved by HR)

Gender, Gender Expression and/or Gender Identity

None

Any inquiry which would indicate gender, gender expression and/or gender identity

Sexual Orientation

None

Any inquiry which would indicate sexual orientation

Height and/or Weight

None (unless a bona fide occupational requirement, which must  be approved by HR)

Any inquiry which would indicate height or weight (unless a bona fide occupational requirement, which must be approved by HR)

Religion and/or Creed

None

Any inquiry regarding religion and/or creed, including the following:

Any inquiry which would indicate or identify religious denomination or custom or creed.

Disability

Inquiries necessary to determine individual’s ability to perform the essential functions of a position with or without a reasonable accommodation

  • Any inquiry into past or current medical conditions
  • Any inquiry into Worker’s Compensation or similar claims
  • Any inquiry that would indicate an individual’s specific or type of disability
  • What type of accommodation a candidate currently needs or may have previously used

Citizenship

“Are you legally eligible to work in the United States?”  (This may only be asked if it is asked of all applicants.)

  • Any inquiry into citizenship (unless citizenship is a bona fide occupational requirement, which must be approved by Human Resources)
  • Any inquiry into visa status
  • Any inquiry about whether parents or spouse/partner are native-born or naturalized

Family Status

None

Inquiry or discussion about marital status, number and age of children, pregnancy, child care arrangements, or maternity plans.

Arrest and Convictions

None

This is covered by university-required background checks.

Education

·  Inquiry into nature and extent of academic, professional or vocational training

·  Inquiry into language skills, such as reading and writing of foreign languages, if job related

  • Any inquiry which would reveal the nationality or religious affiliation of a school
  • Inquiry as to what native language is or how foreign-language ability was acquired

Relatives

None

Any inquiry about a relative which would be unlawful if made about the applicant

Organizations

Inquiry into membership in professional organizations and offices held, excluding any organization, the name or character of which indicates the race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, military status, veteran status, or ancestry of its members

Inquiry into every club or organization where membership is held

Military Service

 

Human Resources may require military discharge verification after being hired

 

  • Inquiry into military service in armed services
  • Request military service records
  • Inquiry into the type of discharge

Work Schedule

Inquiry into willingness or ability to work required work schedule

Any inquiry into willingness or ability to work any particular religious holidays

Miscellaneous

Questions required to reveal qualifications for the job applied for

Non-job related inquiry which may elicit or attempts to elicit any information concerning race, color, religion, national origin, disability status, age, sex, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, military status, veteran status, or ancestry of an applicant for employment

References

General personal and work references which do not reveal a protected class status including the race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, military status, veteran status, national origin, disability, age or ancestry of the applicant

Request references specifically from clergy or any other persons who might reflect race, color, religion, national origin, disability status, age, sex, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, military status, veteran status, or ancestry of the applicant


Competency-Based Interview Questions

Job Performance/Career Goals

  • Could you share with us a recent accomplishment of which you are most proud?
  • How much supervision have you typically received in your previous job?
  • Describe one or two of the biggest disappointments in your work history?
  • Why are you leaving your present job? (Or, why did you leave your last job?)
  • What is important to you in a company?  What things do you look for in an organization?
  • What was your primary contribution/achievement?  Biggest challenge?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • In what areas would you like to develop further?
  • What are your career path interests?
  • What would you most like to accomplish if you had this job?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • If you are the successful applicant, how would you expect to be different after a year in the position?
  • Can you give us an example of your ability to manage or supervise others?
  • What are some of the things you would like to avoid in a job?  Why?
  • In your previous job, what kind of pressures did you encounter?
  • What would you say is the most important thing you are looking for in a job?
  •  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses as workers.  What are your strong points for this job?
  • What would you say are areas need improvement?
  • What were some of the things about your last job that you found most difficult to do?
  • What are some of the things you particularly liked about your last job?

Education

  • What special aspects of your education or training have prepared you for this job?
  • What courses in school have been of most help in doing your job?

Managerial

  • Tell us about your management style – people, teamwork, direction?
  • Describe an ideal supervisor.
  • What is your own philosophy of management?
  • Have you participated in planning processes?
  • What was the most challenging personnel issue you’ve had to deal with and how did you handle it?
  • A new policy is to be implemented organization-wide.  You do not agree with this new policy.  How would you discuss this policy with your staff?
  • Describe a decision you made which would normally have been made by your supervisor?  What was the outcome?
  • Discuss and differentiate between remediation, corrective action, and discipline.
  • Explain, step by step, how you have handled an employee who had performance problems.
  • Why should employees seek to improve their knowledge and skill base?  How would you motivate them?
  • What coaching and mentoring experience have you had?  How did you determine the appropriate way to coach/mentor and what were the results?
  • Management requires both good writing and verbal skills for good communication.  When it comes to giving information to employees that can be done either way, do you prefer to write a memo OR talk to the employee?
  • What is the largest number of employees you have supervised and what were their job functions?
  • Would you please describe your interest in becoming (title of position)?
  • Tell us about your current position or most recent position and how you helped the organization accomplish its goals and mission.
  • Tell us about your fiscal management experience:  budgeting, reporting, cutting costs, building and maintaining reserves.
  • Have you ever had to champion an unpopular change?  How did you handle it?
  • Give us some example of how and when you were the spokesperson for your current or most recent company.
  • Tell us about your experiences with staff development.  How do you think your current or most recent staff would describe you?
  • How do you get people who do not want to work together to establish a common approach to a problem?  If you do not have much time and they hold seriously differing views, what would be your approach?
  • How do you stay informed of current ideas on management and the industry field for the organization?
  • What would you think are the most important characteristics & abilities a person must possess to become a successful leader? How would you rate yourself in these areas?

Customer Service

  • Tell us about a time when you went out of your way to give great service to a customer.
  • Describe a process or system that you improved so customers would be better served.
  • Tell us about a time when you asked for feedback on your customer service skills from your manager or co-worker, and then used that response to improve your work.
  • Tell us about a time when you had trouble working with a difficult or demanding customer.  How did you handle this?

Behavioral

  • If someone told you that you made an error, describe how you would react and what you say in your defense.
  • You are a committee member and disagree with a point or decision.  How would you respond?
  • Tell us about a time when you were part of a great team.  What was your part in making the team effective?
  • Give us an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult co-worker.  How did you handle the situation?
  • Can you tell us about a time during your previous employment when you suggested a better way to perform a process?
  • Give us an example of a time when you were trying to meet a deadline, you were interrupted, and did not make the deadline.  How did you respond?
  • What strengths did you rely on in your last position to make you successful in your work?
  • What motivates you?
  • What kinds of things do you feel most confident in doing?
  • Can you describe for us a difficult obstacle you have had to overcome?  How did you handle it?  How do you feel this experience affected your personality or ability?
  • What gives you the greatest satisfaction at work?
  • What things frustrate you the most?  How do you usually cope with them?

Interpersonal

  • Explain the phrase “work ethic” and describe yours.
  • What kind of people do you find it most difficult to work with?
  • What methods do you use to make decisions?  When do you find it most difficult to make a decision?
  • How would your co-workers describe your work style?
  • What do you think are the best and worst parts of working in a team environment?  How do you handle it?
  • Under what kinds of conditions do you learn best?
  • Do you prefer working in groups or alone?
  • Some people get to know strangers quickly; while others prefer to take their time letting people get to know them.  Describe how you entered relationships when you were “new” on a job.

Creative Thinking

  • What was the most creative thing you did in your last job?
  • What is your interpretation of “success”?
  • Can you think of a problem you have encountered when the old solutions didn’t work and when you came up with new solution(s)?
  • Of your creative accomplishments big or small, what gave you the most satisfaction?
  • What kind of problems have people recently called on you to resolve?  Tell us what you have devised.
  • The person in this job needs to be innovative and proactive.  Can you describe some things you have done to demonstrate these qualities?

Decisiveness

  • What was your most difficult decision in the last six months?  What made it difficult?
  • The last time you did not know what decision to make, what did you do?
  • What kinds of decisions do you make without consulting your immediate supervisor?

Work Standards

  • What are your standards of success in your job?
  • When judging the performance of your employees, what factors or characteristics are most important to you?

Flexibility

  • What was the most important idea or suggestion you recently received from your employees?  What happened as a result?
  • What do you think about continuous changes in company operating policies and procedures?
  • What was the most significant change made in your company in the last six months which directly affected you, and how successfully do you think you implemented this change?
     

Value-Based Interview Questions

People—Success, Diversity

  • Tell us about a time you had to adapt to a wide variety of people by accepting or understanding their perspectives.
  • Tell us about a time you adapted your style in order to work effectively with those who were different from you.
  • Tell us about the most difficult challenge you have faced in working cooperatively with someone who did not share your ideas, values, or beliefs.
  • Give us an example of a time when your values and beliefs impacted your relationship with a peer, coworker, supervisor, or customer.
  • Tell us the steps you have taken to create a work environment where differences are valued, encouraged, and supported.
  • Describe a situation when you had to give feedback to someone who was not accepting of others.
  • Please describe how you would work to create a campus environment that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse. 
  • Describe how you, as a faculty member, function and communicate effectively and respectfully within the context of varying beliefs, behaviors, and backgrounds. 
  • What opportunities have you had working and collaborating in diverse, multicultural and inclusive settings. 
  • What is your definition of diversity? How do you encourage people to honor the uniqueness of each individual? How do you challenge stereotypes and promote sensitivity and inclusion? 
  • How do you seek opportunities to improve the learning environment to better meet the needs of students from all over the world?
  • Describe your experience in serving or teaching underrepresented communities.
  • How would you work with people under your supervision to foster a climate receptive to diversity in the department, the curriculum, staff meetings, printed materials, initiatives, etc?
  • Suppose that in working with a University unit you discover a pervasive belief that diversity and excellence are somehow in conflict. How do you conceptualize the relationship between diversity and excellence? What kinds of leadership efforts are needed to encourage a commitment to excellence through diversity?

Learning—Discovery, Innovation, Scholarship

  • Tell us about an innovation that you've introduced in your work area.
  • What have you done to introduce change or redefine the way work gets done in your area?
  • What continuous improvement methodologies are you familiar with? Tell us about your experience.
  • Tell us about a time when you used fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to step away from traditional methods to solve a difficult or complex problem.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to respond quickly to a crisis situation.
  • Give an example of how you solved a problem in a unique way within the past 18 months.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.
  • Describe an example of a time when you had to approach people (with different perspectives) for support or cooperation.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to accommodate unplanned activities or demands.

Relationships—Collegial, Professional, Ethical

  • Working with others usually involves some give and take. Describe a time when you worked out an agreement with a peer or colleague. What did you do?
  • Describe a time when you wished you’d been more collaborative with others. What did you do?
  • Leaders often have opportunities to foster positive relationships at work. Give me an example of a time when you did this.
  • Tell us about one of the toughest groups that you’ve had to work with. What made it difficult? What did you do?
  • Interdepartmental cooperation involves giving and receiving. Tell us about a time you collaborated with others to determine courses of action to achieve mutual goals.
  • Describe a time when you were asked to keep information confidential.
  • Give examples of how you have acted with integrity in your job/work relationships.
  • Tell us about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did you react/respond?
  • Tell us about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem which challenged fairness or ethical issues?

Partnerships—Regional, Entrepreneurial, Global

  • Give us an example of how your understanding of a community issue helped you address a business problem, issue, or concern.
  • Give us an example of when you were involved with in the community through which both the community and businesses located in the community benefited.
  • What do you consider to be success as an entrepreneur?
  • How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?
  • What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
  • What entrepreneurial hacks have you developed to stay focused and productive in your day-to-day?
  • What things about entrepreneurship do you struggle to understand?
  • What popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with? How would you like people to remember you and your company?
  • When I tell people about how I met you, what would you like me to say?
  • Give a specific example of a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and what was the outcome? How would you assess your role in diffusing the situation?
  • It is very important to build good relationships at work but sometimes it doesn't always work. If you can, tell about a time when you were not able to build a successful relationship with a difficult person.
  • Tell us about a time when you built rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.
  • In your opinion, what are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful business relationships? Give examples of how you made these work for you.

Sustainability—Social Justice, Economic Opportunity, Environmental Protection

  • Can you tell us what social justice means to you?
  • What identity-related work have you explored on your social justice journey?
  • Give an example of a time when you had to expend social capital to champion social justice.
  • What is your sense of the complexities and leadership challenges related to social justice and multiculturalism at WSU?
  • How does your company define sustainability? What’s in and what’s out? Is there a separate group working on corporate citizenship initiatives?
  • How do social, environmental and philanthropic initiatives and strategies interact at your organization?

Stewardship—Fiscal, Intellectual

  • Can you give an example of a situation when you saw someone at work stretch or bend the rules beyond what you felt was acceptable?
  • Tell us about a time when you felt compelled to immediately address a difficult situation with your boss or supervisor when others wouldn’t. (You had to do the right thing.)
  • Tell us about a time when you felt compelled to express an unpopular viewpoint to maintain your integrity.
  • Tell us about a time when you thought through the consequences of a specific action in planning a project.
  • Tell us about a time when you felt it would benefit the situation to disregard structure or formal processes to achieve a better outcome.
  • Tell us about a time when you contributed to improving a process that was beneficial to the entire organization.
  • Can you describe a situation when you made a decision that was positive for your organization, but not necessarily positive for you, or for your individual department?
  • Tell us about a time when you saved time or money for your organization.
  • Give us an example of when you initiated a change in process or operations in response to customer feedback.
  • Tell us about a time when you have championed the concept of corporate stewardship within your team and/or organization.
     

Conducting Effective Interviews Virtually

More and more organizations are taking advantage of virtual interviews to save on time and money. Below are some helpful suggestions on how to conduct effective virtual interviews.

Before the Interview

  • Ask all interviewers to review the interview considerations and best practices
  • Several days prior to the interview, inform all individuals who will be interviewed of the interview method (Skype, Webex, Zoom, Phone, In-Person, etc.) and provide information on how to request a reasonable accommodation for the interview process
  • Check your technology and setting
  • Practice and test your connection.
  • Visit CaTS website for frequently asked questions and useful information
  • Use a quite private office, conference room, etc. that has plenty of lighting.
  • Check out for background noise.
  • Check out your background setting for items such as personal photos, office clutter, etc. Try to make good impression with your background setting.
  • Have CaTS phone number as well as the applicant's phone number available in case of any disruptions or disconnection.
  • Keep different time zones in mind when scheduling phone or virtual interviews. Be conscious of international candidates who may be interviewing in the middle of the night.
  • Be well prepared with list of questions, job description, etc. Last thing you want to do is shuffling through papers to find information.

During the Interview

  • Before you begin the interview process, let the applicant know how unforeseen disruptions will be handled. Will you call the candidate back or wait for them to connect with you, etc?
  • Speak at a regular tone/pace and ask if the candidate can hear you clearly. Adjust as required.
  • Introduce the candidates to the others in the room.
  • Review the interview agenda such as the amount of time you have and what will be accomplished.
  • If you decide to record a virtual interview, but be sure to let the candidate know they are being recorded and why. Please also note that any interview recordings become part of the search's official public record.

At the End of the Interview

  • Allow the candidate to ask questions about the position, department and/or University. The objective of the interview for the candidate is to gather information about the position and promote him/herself, so allow them to ask any further questions or discuss anything else about him or herself. Pay attention to the kinds of questions the candidate asks; this can tell you a lot about his/her interest in the job. Questions may be asked regarding pay and the time frame for making the decision. Be prepared to answer these without making promises or indicating their success/failure in this process.
  • Provide an overview of the next steps in the process. This includes additional interviews, the timeframe of when the department anticipates that a decision will be made, how the candidate will be informed and if a reference check will be needed.