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At the University we only hire by search committee.

The interview process can consist of one interview or

multiple interviews.
75% of Performance Issues can be linked to the hiring

A recent survey conducted by Right Management

found that a bad hire can cost an organization
anywhere from one to five times the employees
annual salary. Twenty-six percent of survey
respondents reported that replacing an employee who
doesnt work out cost their organizations three times
annual salary, and another 42 percent said bad hires
cost two times annual salary (or 68% agreeing that the
costs was 2-3 times the employees annual survey).

The median expected salary for a Fire Fighter in the US

is $41,556. Salary provided by
Conservatively, at an annual rate of $30,000, we are
looking at $60,000 $90,000.
Think of the time spent coaching, counseling, and
documenting the bad hire or the bad apple.
Other costs include recruiting expenses, time required
of hiring officials, training and overtime for co-workers
to cover during the hiring and training process.
Each organization has a structured, well thought out
process with common hiring steps to the process, likes:

Written Application
Written Exams or General Aptitude Test
Physical Exams or Physical Agility Test
Personality Tests
Stress Tests
The Interview
Reference Check
Background & Drug Check

Interview questions have evolved over time. Way back

in the old days, our grandparents were asked if they
could do the job, they were told the hours and for
what pay, and finally what do you want the job? All
of these are yes/no questions. The hypothetical
questions were asked, what if Sometimes these
questions were way to hypothetical and the responses
were hypothetical. People started to rely on their
gut feeling. Is your gut always right? Do you have
enough life experiences to be right all of the time?
For the last 20 years, the types of questions have been
behavioral based.

Before we can think about what questions to ask in an

interview, we have to prepare. Does the job need a
new job analysis?
Review the job description. Has technology changed
how the tasks are performed? Is the job description
still current?
Ask job experts or current incumbents to help. Review
job tasks.

You dont have time to prepare? No time to complete

a job analysis, review job descriptions, or ask job
experts other incumbents? You dont have time not to!
Remember the cost of the last bad hire? Averaging 2-3
times the employees salary and up to five times the
employees salary. Recall how frustrated you were
with the last bad hire.
Invest the time in advance instead of putting out the
fire in the future.

Prepared, written standard questions will keep you out

of legal trouble. You will be able to provide proof of
what you asked and that you asked each applicant the
same questions.

Only ask questions that are job related.

Top 10 firefighter traits - As public servants, firefighters

must have integrity, flexibility, dedication and more.
Firefighters, more than most other professionals, need
to possess a multitude of skills and talents. 1. Integrity
(Honest, Trustworthy, Reliable, Accountable) 2.
Physical Fitness (Ability to perform the physical tasks)
3. Communication (People skills, Articulate) 4.
Flexibility/Adaptability (Low-maintenance, Work under
stress, Compromising, Adapt and overcome) 5.
Dedication (Passion, Pride, Heart, Desire, Drive,
Competence, Work ethic) 6. Team Player: Firefighters
are a part of team. Being a team player and
understanding the team concept is of utmost
importance. 7. Mechanical Aptitude (Technical Problem
Solving) 8. Public Image: As public servants, you must
always maintain a good public image 9. Tolerance
(Understanding, Compassion, Level headed, Thick
skinned) 10. Self-Sacrifice (Courageous, Giving)

What is behavioral interviewing? Past behavior can

predict future actions. This style of interviewing applies
the leopard-never-changes-its-spots philosophy, bases
all questions in the past, and requires the interviewee
to give specific examples form work history.

The intent is not to trick or startle the applicant. It is

just to ask a retelling of a past event or situation.

Ability is defined as a natural aptitude or acquired

According to Bruce Tulgan, Its Okay To Be the
Boss, successful employees must have the skills,
the will, and the ability. Ability is defined as a
natural aptitude or acquired proficiency.

Sample Questions for Ability:


1.) Tell me about the three most important

responsibilities in your first (second or last) job?
2.) Describe the special skills or knowledge you
needed to perform these duties?
3.) Please provide examples of decisions or judgment
calls you had to make in these areas?
4.) Tell me about achievements that you are most
proud of in this particular area?
5.)What was the most important project you worked
on at that job?

Willingness is defined as prompt to act or respond.

Sample Questions for Self-Esteem:

1.) Tell me about a responsibility in your past job(s)

that you have enjoyed.
2.) Tell us about the best work that you are capable
of doing.
3.) What personal qualities do you think you have
that have led to your success? How have you used
those qualities in your past?

Cooperation is defined as the process of working together to

the same end.
Sample questions for Cooperation:

1.) In your last jobs, what type of person did you get along
with best?
2.) Tell me about a time when a team fell apart. Why did it
happen and what was your role?
3.) Have you worked with a group like this before? What
was it like and how did you handle it?
4.) When you have started in new jobs, how have you gone
about getting an understanding of your new co-workers or

Sample Questions for Interest, Motivational Fit & Energy Level:

1.) Tell us about a time when you came up with a new
method or idea. How did you get it approved and
2.) Describe a typical day for me? What problems do you
normally experience when getting things done?
3.) Tell us about a time that it was necessary for you to go
above and beyond the call of duty to get your job done?
What was it like for you?

Set the tone! Even in todays times and economy, the applicant
is interviewing you and your organization too. Prepare your
front office staff.
Give a firm handshake and make a welcoming statement such as
Im looking forward to getting to know you better.
Explain the interview process and that you will be asking
questions to give you the best picture. Explain youll be taking
notes. Jot down enough to jog memory.

Follow up on answers. Go the distance! Dont accept vague

answers use follow up questions. What did you do? What was
your part? What exactly or specifically did you do? Ask for another
example. Sometimes were too polite and accept answers. If you
dont think the question was answered, ask a follow up question.
Ask for clarification. Ask for more detail. Ask for another example.

Ask an open question.

Follow up with a probing question.
Follow up/end with a closed question before moving on to the next
scripted questions.
Be Aware! Be Fair! Watch out for snap judgments and biases.
(Based on first impressions. Based on resume. Or looks like me.)

Dont make assumptions based on appearances or something that

you may have seen on a resume. WATCH OUT!
For example, military experience may be highly desirable to an
interviewer or highly negative. But you really dont know what
that person is like or what their experience was in the military.
Another example, with age. Some older workers may have more
energy than younger workers. Have your heard that the 40s are
the 30s and the 50s are the 40s? Test your assumptions.

Watch for feeling clues. We all can learn to watch for nonverbal clues like facial expressions, hand gestures, and body
If something doesnt feel right, keep going!
An applicant may need a moment to compose an answer.
Stay encouraging. Let the room remain silent for a minute.
Another candidate may go overboard with his/her answer or
offer up another example. Stay on track. Mention, in the
interest of time, Id like to ask the next question.

Review and consider ALL of the information. Reference

Checks. How many interviews are necessary? Depends on
the level of position and size of the organization.
For 3-part Interview Process:
1st interview should be about ability
2nd interview should be about willingness, maturity, and
3rd interview is usually more informal, ties up loose ends, and
solidifies the level of interest.

Some quick points about making good decisions:


1.) Never make a decision when you are exhausted,

tired, or sleep deprived. Your physical exhaustion will
affect your decisions.
2.) Act from a state of clarity. If you can't get distance,
get clarity. Interruptions, multi-tasking, stress, and
fatigue work against clarity. The best ideas come in the
shower, while running, or in our dreams.
3.) Keep it real! Move from the abstract to the real. We
all know the traits we want in "someone" is this the
someone? Put a face to the wish list.

Promotion is a powerful motivation and retention tool. Less

expensive than an outside search, and the applicants are

For more information:

Start the search as you would with a hire, by reviewing what

skills are needed for the position.
Be just as thorough with the interviewing process.
Additional skills will be required, such as: the ability to
strategize, plan, lead work groups, coach and mentor junior
staff, develop budgets, build interdepartmental teams,
problem-solve, and evaluate job performance of direct

Who should you promote? Dont assume your best

performer. If possible test the waters. Will the team support
your choice? Some organizations use promotional
assessment software or personality tests. Dont assume that
your best performer is going to make a great
supervisor/manager. The skills that make your best
employee strong technically, that is the tasks involved in the
job, may not translate into a supervisory or manager role.
Does the employee have the interpersonal or supervisory
skills aptitude required? Could your best employee serve in a
senior, advisor, or trainer role rather than a supervisory role?

Support the new supervisor!

Plan on supporting the new manager, especially in the
first few months.
Make formal public announcements.
Lead by example.