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How to Disqualify an Interviewee

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Business management consultant and author Peter Drucker believes that an organization’s performance is only as good as the people who work there. He discusses the importance of accurate people decisions. If you are responsible for hiring people, you need to know not only what to look for in candidates, but also how to disqualify an interviewee. Eliminating undesirable applicants saves you time and effort and allows you to focus your recruiting efforts on truly promising candidates.

Character Deficiences and Competencies

Don’t be so impressed by experience, personality or any single aspect of a candidate that you fail to recognize quirks and deficiencies that could disqualify that person for hire. If a candidate has all the competencies required for the position but also has one or more character deficiencies such as strong egotism or an ongoing dispute with a former employer, weigh these carefully to decide whether to continue recruiting or to eliminate the applicant. Red flags or doubts that come up in the pre-interview phase or during the interview are indicators to drop the applicant.

Recruiting Matrix

At the beginning of the recruiting process, develop a matrix to help you with hiring decisions. Discuss the open position with the person who will be supervising the employee, with management and with key employees in the department or business unit where the new hire will work. Consider past employees in the position and why they no longer are in it if it’s vacant. Create a short list of things that would definitely disqualify candidates. List the most important aspects of an ideal candidate along with a simple rating system such as 1 to 5, or least important to most important, for each aspect and use it to rate candidates.

Company Values

If your company has certain values or mission and vision statements, use them to evaluate candidates. For example, if your company values include honesty, integrity and excellence, include questions about how candidates feel about these characteristics and ask for examples of them from the candidates. Disqualify candidates whose answers indicate they would do something against your company’s values or mission to get results.

Behavior-Focused Interviewing

Past behavior is a strong indicator of future behavior and performance. Use behavior-focused interviewing to uncover patterns of recurring behaviors. Ask open-ended questions about past experience, focusing on specific examples and not giving leading information. Answers to questions such as “What do you say to angry customers?” and “What is an example of how you’ve been a team player for other employers?” reveal a candidate's character and personality as well as skills and experience.