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Interviewing and Hiring Tips

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Before reviewing applicants a selection procedure and guidelines should be set in place. This consists of defining what and how each applicant will be rated, interview questions, and reference check forms.

Departments may utilize a search committee or panel to execute the viewing of the most qualified applicants. If the department chooses to use a search committee, please be sure that each person who will be participating on the committee has reviewed and agrees to the established selection procedures.

Selecting Applicants to Interview

In order for an applicant to be considered for the position, they must have submitted an application and been referred via the Texas Tech employment website. For an applicant to have been referred, they have indicated that they have met the minimum qualifications for the position posted.

Applicants in the pool must be given equal consideration for the position applied to without regard to:

The pool should then be narrowed down to reflect the best qualified applicants that have displayed the skills and abilities necessary for the position. These skills and abilities can be displayed through their application and other REQUIRED supporting documents.

Examine the pool carefully to review each applicant's education information, employment history, and answers to your supplemental questions. Be sure to use the Hiring Matrix to indicate and determine which applicants would be a fit for the position.

It is highly recommended to interview at least three candidates from your pool. Depending on the number of qualified applicants, it may be more.

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Interview Fundamentals

In Person or Phone Interviews

It is recommended to conduct an in person interview when possible. This allows the interviewer/s to gain a better understanding and sense of the candidate. However, when an applicant does not live in the area, or it is not feasible to conduct an in person interview, phone interviews are also acceptable.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Be sure to develop your interview format and questions ahead of time. Remember, the interview begins the second the candidate comes through the door. Always be respectful of their time, and do your best to begin on time. Allow time for the candidate to ask questions at the end of the interview. At the end of the interview, always give a timeline of what the next steps will be in the process, i.e. when they may be able to receive a call, if and when there will be a second round of interviews, and the anticipated date to make the hire.

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Interview Questions

Always prepare interview questions ahead of time. Interviews should be consistent, asking each candidate the same basic, job related questions. The questions you ask may reveal important skills in the applicant. Be mindful because interview questions should be job related.

Please contact the HR Talent Acquisition office if you have a question or are unsure of whether a question is appropriate or not.

Interview Question Basics

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Questions You May Ask

Introductory Questions

General Education and Past Job Performance Questions

Recent Graduate Questions

Questions Assessing Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge

Questions Assessing Motivation

Questions Assessing Interests

Questions Assessing Strengths, Weaknesses, and Goals

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Questions You May Never Ask

Never Ask Questions on Age

Never Ask Questions on Sex or Gender

Never Ask Questions on Ethnic Origin or Race

Never Ask Questions on Religion/Political Beliefs

Never Ask Questions on Disability

Never Ask General Questions Such As the Following

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Conducting Work Reference Checks

Work References should be checked to avoid negligent hiring. They should be conducted by the individual making the hiring decision and questions should relate to the specific position that the applicant is being considered for. Usually reference checks are conducted only on the final candidates.

If the applicant is currently employed double check the application before contacting a current employer.

The Texas Tech University employment application obtains written permission from applicants to check references when they certify the signature block at the end of the application; which states the following:

I authorize Texas Tech to make reference checks relating to my employment and I also authorize all prior employers to provide full details concerning my past employment. I release all such parties from all liabilities from any damages which may result from furnishing such information. I understand that this application and all attachments are the property of Texas Tech.

Reference Check Tips

Use the Employment History Verification Form to check facts about the candidates previous work experience, including job titles, dates of employment, job duties, etc. Try to contact the candidate's former supervisors or colleagues that will be able to give you the most accurate information. Some employers may not provide further information regarding the candidate's performance.

If you find that you would like additional information about the candidate's performance, please consider asking the candidate for professional and personal references and use the Professional/Personal Reference Check form.

The DO's and DON'Ts of Reference Checking

DO's DONT's
Do contact at least two (2) prior employers, including the most current before making a job offer. Don't let letters of reference substitute for phone call or e-mail inquiries.
Do make sure that each reference is asked the same questions. Don't forget that e-mail messages become part of the documentation.
Do consider whether the performance evaluation given by the previous employer is in areas that may affect performance for the positions you are filling. Don't accept employment history verification references from friends, relatives or individuals not in a supervisory role other than a representative from the organization's human resource office.
Do ask the applicant to provide reference information if it is missing from the application. Don't eliminate one candidate because of a poor reference and then not solicit references on the remaining candidates.

Current TTU Employees and Reference Checking

Hiring managers may contact the Human Resources Employee Services Center to arrange a viewing of the current employee's Performance Management and Evaluation records.

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