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The job interview is the key process for bringing the right talent into your company. Making sure it is done correctly takes planning and preparation.

It is imperative there be a process in place to ensure compliance and eliminate any risk of discrimination. Employers must be consistent, concise and fair. They need to be clear about what they can and cannot ask applicants.

A job interview sets the tone and informs the candidate about the mission and vision of the company. Employers should set up an interview designed to help them learn the information they want from it and that will result in a couple of strong candidates for the position.

No one’s perfect

There isn’t going to be a perfect candidate, but the interview will enable the hiring manager to determine whether a candidate has the right mindset and fits in with the culture of the company, along with possessing the skillset needed for the job.

Here are some things employers should and should not do in interviews:

  • Ask each candidate the same questions to avoid noncompliance or discrimination.
  • Do not ask candidates for the salary they received in their last job.
  • Ask them for a preferred salary range instead.
  • Do not ask applicants if they have a car. The question could be discriminatory because the Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) considers ownership of a car financial information.
  • Be prepared to answer candidates’ questions. Candidates likely have done their homework for the interview and have 10 to 12 questions ready to ask.
  • Do not write notes on applications or resumes. The information could be used in a discrimination complaint or viewed as an effort to adversely affect the application.
  • Take notes pertaining to the candidate’s skills or experience on a separate evaluation form.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 bans federal employers from asking federal employees or applicants about political party affiliation. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says that although private employers are not prohibited from asking about political party affiliation, those questions could lead to a discrimination complaint.

SHRM advises employers to avoid asking questions that are not related to job performance and to check their state laws for information on discrimination based on political affiliation.

Too well-prepared

With an abundance of information available about questions to expect in job interviews and suggested answers, candidates may be too well-prepared for the interview. Rehearsed answers to the questions may make it difficult for the employer to observe the individual’s character traits. SHRM suggests employers research their interview questions and plan to ask different questions if they find answers to their questions are readily available on websites. If they want to use the questions, they could ask follow-up questions to a candidate’s researched response.

Some employers set up job interviews on the fly when a position opens up, but it is better to do some planning to determine what you want to learn through this process.

When an employee leaves a company, it is a good opportunity for the manager to review the department and decide whether to make any changes.

Some things to consider before setting up interviews for a position are:

  • Which characteristics are you going to use as a measure for a potential employee?
  • Do you want a team player, someone who is trustworthy?
  • Have you determined a salary range?
  • Have you established a reporting structure?
  • Are you going to have one person conduct the interview? Or are you going to do a panel or group interview?

Group interviews are becoming more popular. It’s a strategy, for example, for building a pipeline of qualified candidates for a position that has a high turnover or for a start-up company that needs a large number of employees. In group interviews, key personnel who will be working with the employee or employees provide team-building exercises and other activities to ascertain how well the applicants work in a team. Those personnel conducting the group interviews will be taken away from their duties for a workday, but it gives the employer the opportunity to screen multiple candidates at once.

If you are an employer with 50 or more employees, you are required to collect data for candidates who are age 50 or older for the EEOC. Gather the data on gender, race and veteran status during the interview.

Unsuccessful candidates

Employers may wonder what to tell candidates who were interviewed but did not get the job. Opinions on the topic vary. The answer may depend on whether the candidate was internal, external, or a finalist, or the level of the position being filled.  SHRM recommends notifying internal candidates in person. Instead of being specific, hiring managers may thank external candidates and say the company is looking at other applicants. The other option is to give those who weren’t chosen a reason. SHRM cautions that while giving applicants a reason they didn’t get the job may be welcomed by some, others may feel they were rejected unfairly.

It is always a good idea to ask an HR professional or legal counsel for guidance.

If you need any advice on what you can and cannot do in an interview, please contact me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

Talk radio guests offer much to learn

 Learn something every week by listening to my talk show, “Connections Count,” at 1 p.m. Mondays on Unity Radio 97.9 FM.  The show also can be found on Unity Radio’s website at https://www.wuty979fm.org/monday.

Debra Kizilcan, a certified hypnotist and founder of Deb K. Hypnosis, will be my guest on March 15. Erin Daley, resource development manager of the United Way of Tri-County, will join me March 29.

I’m always interested in hearing from those who would like to be guests on my show. Email me at connectionscount@gmail.com.

50+ Job Seekers Group to offer bilingual programs

I’m very excited to announce that we will begin offering bilingual workshops in April! The sessions will be presented in both English and Spanish.

The schedule for the 50+ LatinX Job Seekers Group and MassHire Bilingual Workshops/Bienvenida a los Tallers bilingües del Programa de Grupo de Redes de Buscadores de Empleo Más de 50 y MassHire is:

  • April 21, 1 to 3 p.m.: Self-Assessment, Career Pathways and Ageism
  • 21 de abril, 1 a 3 p.m.: Autoevaluación, Trayectorias Profesionales y Envejecimiento
  • May 19, 1 to 3 p.m.: Turn Your Resume into a Marketing Tool
  • 19 de mayo, 1 a 3 p.m.: Convierte tu resumé en una herramienta de mercadeo
  • June 16, 1 to 3 p.m.: Network Your Way to a New Career
  • 16 de junio, 1 a 3 p.m.: Conecte su camino hacia una nueva carrera

The March programs for the 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group are:

The Interactive Workshop Series: Learn New Job Search Skills and Strategies

  • Session 5: Resume II: Friday, March 12, 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Session 5: Resume II: Monday, March 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Session 6: LinkedIn Profile, Part I: Tuesday, March 23, 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Session 6: LinkedIn Profile, Part I: Friday, March 26, 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Session 6: LinkedIn Profile, Part I: Monday, April 5, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

G2G Networking Sessions: Session Recap-Homework-Networking-Open Forum Q&A

  • Networking Session 5: Tuesday, March 16, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Special events, which require advance registration, are:

  • Guest Speaker Steve Melanson:  Simplicity: Job Search Tool: Thursday, March 11 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Guest Speaker Dr. William Sharp: Managing your Stress: Thursday, March 25, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

The virtual doors open 15 minutes before the program starts. Pre-registration for first-time participants and advance registration is at https://50plusjobseekers.org/outreach/registration/

You will receive an email about the 50+ Job Seekers workshops if you’re already registered with the program.

How to reach me

To contact me, download my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or email me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
50+ Job Seekers
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

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Melody L. Beach Consulting Group, Human Resources, Southbridge, MA