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How (Not) to Interview

How to Interview and Hire Productive PeopleHow to Interview and Hire Productive People

Submitter: I recently weeded this from the public library where I work. The majority of the book consists of suggested interview questions that managers can ask to assess job applicants’ “hidden qualities”. However, many of the questions would probably land an interviewer in hot water these days.
I especially enjoyed comparing the list of questions the authors say are illegal to ask with the list of questions that they actually do suggest asking. I am sure that in their mind there was some reason why “What is your marital status?” and “Does your husband mind you working?” are off limits for a job interview but “What does your spouse think of this job you are applying for?” and “Do you often regret your marriage?” are OK. I can’t, however, imagine what that reason would be!

Holly: The health considerations chapter (below) is awful too. “What is the most serious sickness you have ever had?” and “Have you ever had any surgery?” Sometimes you wish you could ask certain things in an interview, but DON’T DO IT! Just look them up on Facebook and get the dirt that way. (Kids, either set your Facebook statuses to private or don’t post personal information. Employers ARE looking you up.)

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Get a Job!

Teen job coverHow to Get a Job If You’re a Teenager
Pervola and Hobgood

I really like the way this book is organized! It’s thorough with mostly good advice, and only 62 pages including the index. Great format for teens!

As you can see from the cover image, though, it has that paperback laminate-type cover adhered to it, and there are bubbles in it. It’s also very dog-eared and bent and getting a bit yellowed on the edges.

The resources page is filled with mid-90s editions that were great choices…in 1998.

It also suggests that teens leave their “beeper” at home when they go in for an interview. Did teens ever really go through a beeper craze? Wasn’t that mostly doctors and lawyers?

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Do You Like to File?

Quality Interviewing coverQuality Interviewing
3rd ed., 1994

Mary loves to tell the story about the time I, along with another person, interviewed her for her first Library Clerk position. It was somewhere around the year 1998 or 1999. We all hit it off really well and pretty much cracked up through the entire interview. The library had an old list of interview questions that I think had been asked since the beginning of time. One of the questions was “Do you like to file?” Without missing a beat, Mary said something like, “Does anyone really like to file?” Of course, she followed it up with something about how she would do whatever the job required and do it well, but I thought that was a perfect, honest answer. (Yes, Mary, people do like to file. I, for one, love to file.)

So. This book. It’s not entirely awful, but as usual it is very outdated. It does not prompt interview-givers to ask anything about technology skills (though typing words-per-minute seems crucial). It is just not very indicative of modern interviewing or hiring practices. It does have some reasonable advice and good worksheets (which surprisingly enough were not written on in this copy!).

I also take issue with the second image (below) where applicants (plural) is written as applicant’s (possessive). No, no, no!!


P.S. Mary wrote a great post on stupid interview questions over at Library Lost and Found. Check it out!

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