BLUF: After using the Interview Creation Tool on candidates, I've noticed I've had to do some "dumbing down" of the questions to get answers.
Most of our hires are for receptionists or nurses, who might have 6-18 months of technical training after high school; a few have had a little bit of university, but virtually none have 2- or 4-year degrees. None have management experience.
Example: an important question for nurses. "Tell me about a time when you needed to follow instructions accurately. How did you ensure that your work was correct?"
Sample answers have included:
Answer: "I double-check everything."
Answer: "I try really hard to do it right."
Answer: "I had no mistakes on my patients in my last review."
This is it. This is all I get. If I sit quietly with a smile on my face, and wait for them to expand, they'll just sit there, or say a non-say, like, "Do you know what I mean?" or "Was that what you were looking for?" I'll repeat the question, and then get one of the other answers. My interviewees rarely will ask for a clarification on the question if they need one before they start to answer it, and I don't believe anyone has ever taken notes on the questions while I was asking them.
In order to get multi-part answers to multi-part questions, I have to break down the large question into smaller chunks. But this doesn't really test the interviewee as much as it tests my ability to spoon-feed or "lead the witness."
I don't know whether this reflects:
1) My inexperience as an manager/interviewer
2) The relative poor quality of candidates, in that we have a shallow labor pool (company is located in a rural economically depressed area of the US in which our county's high school graduation rate just recently exceeded 50%). According to salary benchmarks, we're at the 75%th ile for salary and the 90th %ile for benefits, so I don't believe we're too stingy to attract at least average candidates for our area.
3) The relative inexperience of candidates, in that they are not used to this kinds of meaty "essay" questions in interviews; they are used to multiple choice questions ("Are you more task-oriented or people-oriented") or fill-in-the-blank questions ("What's your salary expectation?") or cheesy pseudoessay questions in which there is an unofficial official best answer ("What's your biggest weakness?")