Josephine's Personnel Services, Inc.

Checking References: 5 Questions to Ask

February 3rd, 2015

Resumes, phone calls and even interviews may not tell the full story about the quality of a job applicant you have before you. Managers should make a practice of finding out how an employee preformed in the past in order to make a comprehensive hiring decision. Here are 5 questions to ask former employers when checking references.

Photo Credit: kev-shine

Photo Credit: kev-shine

5 Questions to Ask When Checking References

  1. What were the candidate’s main responsibilities at the company?

This question is important to ask in the beginning because it will inform the rest of the conversation. If the employee had responsibilities that were limited or not applicable to the job you are hiring for, this is a big red flag. Read the rest of this entry »

Interviewing Essentials for Businesses

January 25th, 2013
Celebrating 25 Years In Business!

Celebrating 25 Years In Business!

The year is off to a great start and with the economy beginning to turn around, more and more companies are looking to hire additional staff. If you are currently seeking to find the perfect employee for your business, here are some tips to help you master the essentials of an interview.


Know what questions you can and cannot ask. We all know there are certain questions like, age and race, you can’t ask while interviewing a potential hire. But did you now that these questions extend to more than asking about martial status? Some questions, like inquiring if they have a reliable form of transportation or the ability to get a babysitter on a short notice, may not be illegal but can be considered Read the rest of this entry »

Interviewees: Tips For Making a First Impression

January 17th, 2013

Tips to make the best first impression at a job interview.

Have you struck out on your past couple of interviews? Maybe you haven’t had much experience interviewing? A lot of the times interviewees can get caught up in the excitement of an opportunity and forget about the essentials. In last week’s post we touched on why an employer should take the time to make a good first impression on interviewees, however, most of the pressure can fall on you. Here are some ways to help make the best first impression and land the job.  Read the rest of this entry »

Avoid the Job Hoppers! Don’t Waste Your Time Hiring Someone Who Will Quit in Months

November 3rd, 2011

One of the most daunting prospects in this marketplace is trying to determine which candidates really want to work for your organization and which candidates are just looking for any job they can find until this recession blows over. Most applicants are savvy enough to give you all the right answers during an interview, to make you think you’ve found the right fit for your company. Employers and recruiters have to be diligent when it comes to ensuring the candidates actions will match their words.

So, what’s the definition of a job hopper?

It’s kind of like that famous saying about art, “you know it when you see it.”  If a candidate is 30 and has had 6 jobs since college, he’s probably a job hopper. Job hoppers don’t have staying power.  They’re in it more for themselves and their immediate needs, rather than for a career or for your company.  Quitting 1-2 jobs early when you’re young is acceptable.  At that age, people are exploring life and work options.  But 6 times is a pattern. Job hoppers might perform well while they’re there, but in the end they’re just not likely to stick around.

Consider implementing the following tips during the interview process to help filter out potential job hoppers.

  1. Ask Them to Talk About Future Goals One of the best interviewing tactics to identify candidates that might be “settling” for a position is to ask for details about their future goals. By learning more about what a candidate hopes to accomplish one, three or even five years down the line, you’ll be able to get a grasp on whether their desires are realistic at your company or in the role they’ve applied for.
  2. Ask Them For Letters Of Recommendation By asking for multiple letters of recommendation and by requesting that those letters address “why this is a good potential job for the candidate,” you might gather some more data. If the letters aren’t consistent with the candidate’s own statements, you might have spotted someone who is “settling.”
  3. Consider Running Credit/Financial Checks While there is some debate in the HR community about whether credit checks are helpful or an invasion of privacy, you can see whether the candidate is under significant financial stress and may be taking your job just for the money, or has a spotty history of paying bills. Someone with a strong, stable work history shouldn’t have a poor credit record.

The recession has caused a lot of great employees to lose their jobs, so there are a lot of highly qualified people who will be thrilled to be a productive employee at your company. By taking the necessary steps to separate these high quality candidates from the ones that are looking for “any offer,” you can ensure that your company avoids future job hoppers and comes out of this recovery stronger than before.

5 Non-Traditional Interview Questions That Can Help You Select the Right Candidate

July 21st, 2011

Selecting the right candidate for a job opening can be tricky, especially if there are several great candidates available, yet choosing the right person for a job is critical to your company’s success. While there are no guarantees that the candidate who looks so good on paper will be as good of an employee in real life, try using non-traditional job interview questions to help bring out the answers that will help you assess your candidates on a different level.

Candidates often worry about non-traditional interview questions, which can seem like their only purpose is to put someone on the spot or trick them. But there is a method to their madness. Here are 5 non-traditional interview questions and the reasons behind asking them.

  • “Where do you see yourself in five years? This is an icebreaker question that allows the interviewer to get a peek at the candidate’s true intentions. Use this question to find out what the candidate is seeking and if their expectations match the actual job role.
  • “Tell me about a time you were treated unfairly at work, and how was it resolved?” This question nudges most candidates outside of their comfort levels. However, those candidates who are true team players and work well with others should be able to explain how being treated “unfairly” actually provided an opportunity to take responsibility and end up with a positive outcome. Candidates who take a victim stance are not what you are looking for.
  • “What’s the most adventurous or risky thing you’ve ever done?” While this may seem like a loaded question, it’s actually a good way to identify candidates who enjoy getting the most out of life in their personal life as well as at the office. Those who lead active lives are most likely to be proactive at work.
  • “If you could be any superhero for a day, who would you be?” While this question may seem to come completely out of left field, it can help you see a clear division between great and so-so candidates. The best candidates will be able to logically explain why being a superhero would be beneficial to mankind. And the stronger the powers of the superhero, the more powerful the job candidate sees himself.
  • “What are the first three things you do at work in the morning?” This is a fun question, but it has a purpose. Since much of the workday requires planning and prioritizing, what a candidate does first thing in the morning at work is actually very important. The best candidates will generally respond by explaining the use of a calendar system to stay on top of tasks, or getting the most important things done first as a priority.

Asking non-traditional interview questions allows you to observe a few things about your candidate pool: How comfortable are they with unexpected questions – can they think on their feet and not panic? Are they creative? Can they roll with the punches and maybe have a bit of fun in a stressful situation? All of these are good qualities to have in an employee, and you might not dig deep enough to find these qualities with straightforward, traditional interview questions.



Why Didn’t You Hire Me? How To Answer Tough Questions From Rejected Candidates

June 24th, 2011

Most candidates, when they discover they didn’t get the job you interviewed them for, will want to know: “Why didn’t you hire me?” While some applicants will accept the polite rejection letter or e-mail that you send, and only ask the question of themselves, some will want to ask you directly. While that is understandable, you need to careful in how you reply.
Try to strike a balance between being firm yet polite in your rejection, saying things like:

  • ”Your experience and skills are impressive, but…”
  • “We’ve decided to go in another direction.”
  • “We found a candidate with more specific experience.”

If an applicant contacts you and presses for more information, such as “what other direction are you taking?” or “what more specific experience do they have?” don’t feel you have to answer those questions. Keep your response polite but vague and try to end the questioning with: “I really can’t go into detail about other candidates, but we do appreciate your interviewing with us. We will keep your resume on file for any other opportunities your skills and experiences might match.”

If a candidate persists, try something like “Our recruitment process and selection criteria are confidential, so I can’t comment on what did or did not go well in your interview process.” Again, promise to keep their information on file for future consideration.

The more detail you go into, the more potential liability you open up to you and your company. Some HR managers and recruiters refuse to respond to such requests for this very reason.

One HR manager says “I never tell a candidate the reason for his/her not being hired. I simply say, in a letter, that even though his/her credentials are impressive, we have hired another candidate whose background is a better fit for the position. If you tell someone the specifics of why they were not chosen, they tend to want to argue the point. Why open a crack where they can fit the crowbar in?”

However, you should always contact someone you interviewed in person, whether by phone call (especially for upper-level or management positions) or e-mail. This allows them to move on, not having to wonder whether they are still under consideration. Be sure to sincerely thank each applicant you interviewed and wish them well in their job hunt. If treated with respect and courtesy, that rejected applicant may refer future employees to you or someday even become one of those employees themselves.

Send an email to those who sent in resumes who were not hired, and encourage them to continue to check our website for new job openings for which they might be qualified. If they receive an acknowledgment that their resume was reviewed, then another advising them of the hiring decision, they feel they have been given consideration. Ignoring applicants or worse, interviewees, is what leads to the questions most interviewers would like to avoid.