I'll Know It When I See It!
Part 2- Develop Your Own Structured Interview
by Fred Berni
In part 2 you’ll learn how to develop your own franchisee or employee
interview related questions. There are sample questions you can use for employee
interviews and for qualifying prospective franchisees.
It's time to develop your own Structured Interview
So let's get started improving your selection decisions by designing your own
The first thing to do is to look at the job requirements. That will give you
a good basis to develop your own job related questions.
Then, make sure you include situational questions. Find out how the candidate
has acted in the past or how they think they'll react to certain situations.
Give them a scenario. Ask if they've ever run into similar situations. If they
say yes, ask how they handled the situation. If not, ask 'What would you do?'.
Sample questions for 'high demand' environments
For instance, if you're hiring someone where high levels of energy and drive
are required, you might want to ask questions like: 'Describe a time when you
had to work more than x hours'. Once they've answered, probe deeper by asking
the natural follow-up questions:
'How many days in a row did you have to do this?', 'How did you feel about
having to do this?' and 'What did you think about having to work these hours?'
If long hours and high energy levels are needed in the job and the applicant
give answers that demonstrate low energy, then it's best for both you and the
applicant to cut the interview short. Save yourself the time and effort to spend
interviewing candidates that have high energy.
For QSR workers, one good way to identify if someone has what it takes is by
watching them interact with the work environment during the interview. If
possible, excuse yourself and keep an eye on them because this is where you'll
see if they have what it takes. Watch how they interact with the environment.
Do they look around?
Do they show an interest in how other workers handle things at their
workstation or customers?
If there's no interest shown, then again, cut the interview short.
Using questions designed to probe what actions the applicant actually
performed in similar situations gives you valuable insight into how they're
going to act after you hire them. Using behavior based questions gives you
information, instead of just opinions from candidates.
Sample questions for franchisee interviews
Here a some examples when interviewing franchisee candidates for a retail
outlet. One of the things you'll want to focus in on is how the candidate feel
about customers. So you would want to ask a questions like:
Think of what steps you would take if you were managing a
store when one of your employees comes to you because an irate customer is
demanding his money back for a product even though he does not have a receipt.
You have a policy of not giving refunds without receipts.
- What would you say to the employee?
- What would you say to the customer?
- What would you do to prevent such an event from occurring in
Good answers should include the following:
- The candidate speaks to the customer directly and does not
send the employee back to deal with the customer.
- Polite but firm responses. The manager should find out more
about why the product was unacceptable.
Poor answers to watch out for:
- Sending the employee back to deal with the customer.
- Not explaining the policy about receipts.
- Not being polite and responsive to the customer's needs.
- Not probing for information about the problem with the
As you can see from the above example, you'll want to ask questions from a
slightly different angle. Ideally you'd like to ask, or have someone else
involved in the selection process ask very similar questions. The candidate can
tell you what you want to hear once. But if you repeatedly ask questions about
the same behavior, it's very difficult for them to track how they've responded
to all of them.
That's one of the benefits of using job-specific assessment tool like the
ones available at
www.dynamicperformancesystems.com. If designed properly, the tool you chose
will look at job-specific behaviors from several angles and then typically
average the score for each question.
To help get you started, you can download a copy of suggested interview
questions (it's free) here:
- Have measurable bottom line organizational impact,
- Help interviewers improve the odds of selecting franchise or
employee candidates with greater accuracy
- Are viewed as objective, information-based, and useful by
- Impress candidates to a point where it affects acceptance
- Having all interviewers follow 'the script'.
- Can be expensive developing and administering.
- Full constraints on questions and scoring.
As you can see, the benefits of using structured interviews far outweigh the
Make sure your interview includes these important topics:
As I mentioned at the beginning, the next step is to develop your own rating
system. One where you can assign a weighting to your candidate's responses. This
promotes a decision based on the candidate's skills in doing the job rather than
being based on interviewers' gut feel.
We'll cover that next time.
Contact Fred Berni: