Employer Guidelines for Student Employee Interview Process

Ask Each Candidate the Same Questions

The hiring official should ask each candidate the same questions from a prepared list, to document the equity of the hiring interview.

Developing Interview Questions

Draft behavioral interviewing questions (open-ended) that address the knowledge, skills, and abilities for the position.  Behavioral interviewing questions focus on specific job-related experiences of an applicant’s past behavior in an effort to predict future behavior.  These are “situation-problem” questions that are useful in evaluating an applicant’s problem solving or judgment skills.  Examples of behavioral interviewing questions include:

"Think of a difficult person you have had to deal with on your last job.  Tell us exactly what happened and how you handled the situation."

"Tell us about an important goal you have set in the past and how successful you were in accomplishing it."

We recommend that the following questions be included in the list of interview questions:

"Do you have any questions for us?"

"Part of  OSU’s hiring process includes checking references.  Do we have all of the information we need to check your references on your application?"

Follow-up Questions

You can follow up to a response by using a directive question, one that will draw specific information or clarify information.  Examples of directive questions include:

"Can you tell us more about that?"

"Could you give us a specific example of what you mean?"

You can also clarify that you need a description of the details of a specific situation that the candidate has handled.  For example:

"We're looking for a specific example - could you please think of one of those situations, and tell us step-by-step exactly what happened?"

Inappropriate Questions

Ask only job-related questions.  These are a few of the topics that should be avoided:

Age/Gender - Generally, these questions should never be asked.  If you believe these may be an appropriate questions related to your specific position requirements, please contact your Employment Coordinator. 

Convictions - law enforcement agencies are exempt from this restriction.  If you believe this may be an appropriate question related to your specific position requirements, please contact the Employment Services Coordinator in the Office of Human Resources.

Residence – only as it pertains to future contact of the applicant.

Family/Marital Status – never appropriate.

Financial Status – never appropriate.

Race/Religion/Creed/National Origin – never appropriate.

Individuals with Disabilities - Discussing Disability during the Interview Process

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on disability.  Oregon State University is required to provide reasonable accommodations for any otherwise qualified disabled person.  This issue should be addressed only after a person has been offered employment.

No candidate should be asked if they have a disability.  If a candidate initiates a discussion about his/her disability (whether visible or not), the interviewer should respond in a manner that clearly states that our interest is to find the best-qualified person for the job, and that OSU does provide reasonable accommodation for employees at their request.  Focus your comments and questions on the duties and responsibilities of the job.

Pre-employment inquiries can be made regarding an individual's ability to perform job-related functions.  Focus on what needs to be performed rather than how it needs to be performed.  For example:

"This position requires moving boxes and other objects weighing up to 50 lbs.  Can you do this?"

"Do you have a driver’s license?" (If the job requires driving as an essential function.)

"This position performs computer data entry 50% of the time.  Can you enter data into a computer four hours per day?"

An interviewer must not ask questions that are directly about a disability or that could indirectly elicit information about a disability.  Pre-employment inquiries cannot be made regarding the nature or extent of an applicant's disability.   For example:

Do not ask the applicant about any visible physical characteristics, i.e., scars, burns, and missing limbs.

Do not ask if the applicant is in good health.

Do not ask if the applicant has ever had an emotional illness or has consulted with a psychologist or psychiatrist, had an injury or disease, or had a drinking or drug problem.

The best practice is to ask each candidate if they are capable of performing each duty listed in the position description. 

Interviewing International Students

The process of obtaining work authorization varies in terms of time and complexity, depending upon the type of visa status for which the individual is qualified.  The Office of International Faculty & Student Services is available to assist departments with this process.  However, concern about national origin discrimination in the workplace requires careful attention to the phrasing of work eligibility-related questions.  The following question is an appropriate one to ask in order to obtain information about work eligibility:

"Employment at Oregon State University is subject to verification of an applicant's identity and eligibility for employment as required by immigration laws. If hired, will you be able to provide evidence that you are legally permitted to work in the United States?"

Evaluating Interview Results

Hiring officials are strongly encouraged to develop criteria for evaluation of the responses to the interview questions.  It’s important to have a clear idea of the acceptable answer to each question.  For example, if the employee must be able to function independently, without close supervision, the interviewer will look for a response that would indicate the applicant has successfully functioned without close supervision in the past. An Employment Services Coordinator can provide you with a sample Candidate Evaluation Form to assist you in evaluating the interview results.

Maintaining Recruitment Files

All recruitment files are confidential and are to be maintained at the department level for three years.  They are to be kept separate from an employee's file.