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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 structured interview.

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 the future?

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 product.

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: http://www.dynamicperformancesystems.com/reports/2000-Interview-Questions.pdf

Pros

  • 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 interviewers,
  • Impress candidates to a point where it affects acceptance decisions.

Cons

  • 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 costs.

Recommendations

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: fred@dynamicperformancesystems.com
Web URL: www.dynamicperformancesystems.com

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