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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Question about an interview question!

    Hi guys,

    The company I work for has the unfortunate policy of interviewing all internal applicants for advertised positions. As a member of the interview panel this is a bit of a pain, especially when I know some people are nowhere near the mark. Just to make it worse, I've interviewed some of these people previously. I appreciate that some people develop their skills and mature over time, and these people are worth interviewing again, even if it 's just to give them feedback that they are improving, but some people are in the "over my dead body" category, if you know what I mean

    My question is this: when interviewing someone who I have interviewed before, can I skip the regular questions and just ask them "in what areas have you changed/improved since we last interviewed you?"

  2. #2


    David, as the interviewer I would think you have the ability to ask them whatever you like as long as it was not discriminatory and a breach of legislation. First off though you would have to look at what performance management processes you have in place. Is their proper training and mentoring? Do the employees feel comfortable asking for help etc?....You may find they will improve up to, and possibly beyond, your expectations.....Just my thoughts of course.....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    For starters, what is your policy on this? Do you have a policy? I would think that such a policy would give you solid grounds for not interviewing all internal candidates. Put this way, when you advertise a job, you cull CVs and come up with a shortlist based on the skills, qualifications & experience - you would never interview ALL applicants would you?.

    So your policy should state that overall, yes, internal candidates will be considered - you do after all want to encourage your current employees to apply for jobs with the organization and advance, but they will be considered on their merits which means that just applying for an internal job, doesn't always mean you will get an interview. That needs to be made very clear.

    The second point I would make is if you are using the targetted selection method for selecting the best candidate, then for each role, you will have a very specific Interview Guide whose questions relate to the particular job in question. THese would be asked of every candidate. You rate their answers and come up with the best score to help you select the best candidate. Really think about how you structure your questions to ensure they relate specifically to the job. In any interview, there will be general questions (person, goals etc) and if you know the candidate very well, you could skip the general questions. This way those interviews would not take so long.

    Another point is to word your advert requirements for the job in a way which might discourage those who you say have applied before and missed out. EG, be specific on the profession (or trade) qualification and experience you want in the person to have. This can eliminate some before they apply but if they do apply, I would contact them in advance of scheduling interviews and tell them you have their application but due to the requirements of the job (you could mention what that is) and the fact that the person doesn' t have it (tell them the experience or qualification they don't have), you will not be inviting them for an interview on this occasion. If you begin making it a little tougher, some may think twice about wasting their (and your) time next time.

    Not knowing whether you are a blue collar org or not, if so, you may have an EA so you need to be careful about the wording of that in relation to this issue. If this doesn't do it for you now, ensure that at next renewal, you do cover it. What I've found common is any time there is a team leader/supervisor role going on the shop floor, there are always those who think they can do it. Make it a requirement that those incumbents must have a Frontline Supervision course behind them, as a minimum.

    I handled a sort of similar situation a year ago where I had someone on my staff at entry level who applied for a bigger job. I knew she couldn't do it and I suspect she knew it also but as she applied, I had to consider her, so upfront told her I would interview her in the same way as other external candidates (to give her the experience of such an interview). And with a targetting guide, it was easier for me to provide her with constructive feedback later.

    The Qld IR Consultant makes the very valid point about performance management. Are you doing this? If so, then I would point out to any applicant who is currently being performance managed that until that process reaches a satisfactory conclusion, the individual will not be considered as a viable candidate for other jobs advertised within the company. I'd have something on this in your policy too.

    If you are not performance managing, then you are making it harder on yourself.

    Something else to consider for your policy is a requirement of remaining in one job for a certain time (a year) before they can apply for others within the company. This will eliminate some job hopping.

    There will be some jobs you simply need to fill from outside either because you know the skills are scarce or you want some new blood. I wouldn't advertise those internally. Make sure this is covered in your policy as well.

    In conclusion, for the one or two who keep applying and, from the sounds of it, are never going anywhere, it might be time to sit down with them (the Manager should do this) and, first, informally talk to them about where they see their career progressing, what they want to do and assisting them map a plan of what they need to go and do (study??) in order to make the steps to get there. If there is reluctance to do further study etc., I'd be making it clear that unless they do (whatever they are) the steps, it is pointless, for now at least, in continuing to apply for other jobs. These kinds of conversations should really be held with all employees during Performance Review time but I've found, they are not always done well because Managers are not training to conduct them or it is too hard.

    So you have work to do! Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    QLD IR Consultant and Tiger, thanks for your feedback advice and suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    For starters, what is your policy on this?
    As I said in my initial post, the company policy is to interview all internal candidates. I don't agree with this but it's a C level directive and mere mortals like me are not going to get that changed any time soon.

    Another policy is that ALL jobs are advertised internally. Again, this is unlikely to change, although in my experience this is quite a common policy.

    I should have said before, itís a white collar/corporate environment and its a senior customer account management role (post sales ) with responsibility for managing a handful of our larger customers. It's a big team and positions sometimes come up quite regularly for one reason or another. Unfortunately it's one of those jobs where personality comes into it so maybe we should be doing some sort of profiling as part of the process.

    I concur with what you have both said and much of it is already done, i.e interview processes, constructive feedback, letting people know what steps they could take to better equip them for the role, training, staff development etc.

    I should emphasise that I am happy to reconsider previous applicants providing they have taken on-board the advice we gave them last time around, indeed we have appointed people who have applied several times in the past. In some cases they really worked hard on the areas where we thought they were weak and they have turned out to be great additions to the team. There are however one or two candidates who have applied several times before but have not taken on board anything we have suggested in the past. Itís like they think that if they keep applying they will get a gig sooner or later. As you can imagine, it's starting to get a awkward!

    You have given me some ideas to work on for future hiring rounds and I know exactly where we can improve the recruitment process, but right now I have to work with what we have. This means interviewing people whom I already know have no chance of being appointed.

    For this reason I want to keep one or two interviews very short. I don't want to "go through the motions" yet again with these people. If I have to interview them I want it to be very clear that unless they take on board our previous advice then they are wasting their time.

    But am I leaving myself open to some form of discrimination claim if they donít get the same sort of interview as the other candidates?

    My gut feel isn't good on this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012


    Hi David

    Just a quick one - set your essential criteria for the position. That way when the job is advertised both internally and externally (I assume you do this) prospective applicants already know what is required and whether they meet the criteria before applying - of course you will always get those that will apply regardless, but you do not have to interview just because they are internal applicants - unless of course you have a company policy that says we will interview EVERY internal applicant. If that is the case I would seriously look at revising that one! Good Luck.

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