I mentioned in an email to the recruitment manager in HR about preparing my interview questions, and here was his reply:

"Can you provide the list of questions to us, we want to make sure you use the same set of questions on all candidates.  And we will put those in the Standard Practices Manual."

Is this normal, or a little bit freaky? What if the interview answers prompt me to probe further?

Am I wrong to want to push back?

ashdenver's picture


That's fairly standard practice, especially in larger organizations in my experience.  Generally the questions allow for "Probe as necessary" without actually defining those probing questions because each situation and candidate is different.  The goal, as I understand it, is to have consistency across the board so that Candidate A can be compared to Candidate B in an apples-to-apples setting.  You don't want to ask one person "Describe for me a time when you were able to walk on water" but then not ask the other candidates, thus leaving the water-walker seeming more qualified for the position because that person shared that type of experience during the interview process.

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wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Ash is right - the idea is you ask all the candidates the same questions to provide a good comparison and then probe as necessary.

Putting them in the book is either a) lazy or b) efficient depending on your point of view :-) You don't have to think of them again and you have a comparison over time because you use the same questions for the same role each time.


terrih's picture

Can I borrow that "walk on water" question? ;-D

jrumple's picture
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I know my company has a standard Interviewing Guide. It is designed to help everyone have some level of consistency. It guides hiring managers through preparing for an interview, like how to review resumes and applications, a series of questions to ask, and ways to evaluate the answers and rank candidates. The guide provides managers flexibility in their interviews, and serves to help managers who don't listen to Manager Tools give consistent and effective interviews.

I would feel flattered that HR was wanting my ideas to incorporate into their guide.

I would expect that you're still the hiring manager and how you conduct the interview and who you decide to hire is your responsibility. There are some things that an individual manager can do in an interview that can have serious legal ramifications for the company.

If you're doing things well, I think it is important that you share what is working with the other hiring managers so they have a greater chance of hiring the best candidates. When you're looking for an internal hire, it would be nice to have confidence that other managers were hiring individuals who already meet your high standards.

San Diego

terrih's picture

My company does NOT have a standard interviewing guide, and so the request felt like it was out of left field... but anyway.

I can see why they would want to document this somewhere. What bothers me is they want to put it in a manual that goes to EVERY EMPLOYEE in the company. That seems weird to me, especially when everyone has to electronically acknowledge receipt of each revision. The flight attendants & mechanics & accountants are going to be saying, "and this applies to me how?"


ashdenver's picture

Uh, yeah - giving the manual to ALL employees is just so far beyond weird I can't even come up with an adequate response.

My question would be: WHY? What on earth could they possibly be hoping to accomplish with that activity?  I can understand, possibly, perhaps, giving prospective interviewees "Here are the questions we'll be asking you" if they're hoping to get the most scripted answers ever - but even then, it's just beyond bizarre.

Your HR people are nucking futs, IMO, of course.

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terrih's picture


annevail's picture

I think what's really weird is publishing the questions in a manual... I work in an environment where we essentially fill most vacancies from the inside. Publishing the questions  in an organizational manual or otherwise public document seems not only woefully dull and unoriginal (back to the lazy comment) but also antithetical to getting honest and authentic interview experiences. How often do we really provide the playbook in advance?

My two cents...

jhack's picture

Look at it this way: 

- Folks have access to a set of GOOD questions.  The bar has been set higher. 

- Even if the candidates have the questions ahead of time, most won't have good responses.  Knowing your accomplishments, practicing your answers, understanding what your leadership style is, etc, is hard work.  Like an open book test, this won't be much help for the unprepared.

- Ask yourself this: will it move the company towards better or worse hiring?  Even if it's not perfect, it sounds like a step in the right direction.    

John Hack

terrih's picture

It's just CYA for HR... protection against potential charges of unfair hiring practice.

Naturally, having interviewed 7 people with my questions, I have learned that some of them aren't effective to bring out the behavior I was after, and I want to change them!!

(And, I have three final contenders that I'm having trouble deciding among...)