I had the opportunity to interview my mom, Darci Evans, as she hires many new employees every month. She works for the insurance company, Humana, in Kansas City. My team and I came up with these 15 questions and here are my mother’s responses:
How do you usually prepare for an interview with potential employees?
“I typically look over their resume, their credentials, their references as well as their social media to get a good idea of who this person is and how they presented themselves. By doing this I am able to gather specific questions for this person based on their experience and better determine if they are a good fit for my team.”
How many candidates do you like to interview before making a selection and how much time do you allow for each interview?
“The number of candidates depends upon how many applicants I get and for which position. For a position that is higher up in the company, I typically interview a smaller amount of people. Normally around 5 applicants for those positions. For a position that is lower down in the company, I am typically hiring multiple employees at a time for the same position. Normally around 15-20 applicants are interviewed.”
What do you believe are the most important questions to ask or most important characteristics to look for when interviewing a candidate?
“I always ask candidates what they like to do in their free time or what their hobbies are. You can find out a lot about a person’s work ethic this way. I get worried when candidates say they like to play games on their phone, look at social media or just watch tv. This could indicate laziness and or indicate they may get distracted by their phones while working.”
Do you prefer group setting interviews (multiple interviewers and multiple interviewees) or one-on-one interviews?
“I prefer one-on-one interviews. I like to be able to focus on one person at a time and give everyone an equal opportunity to shine in a more comfortable setting.”
What causes you to pick the candidates you do? (I.e what resumes stand out?)
“I pick a candidate based on a number of different things. But specific to resumes, I pick candidates that have a clean and easy to follow resumes. Ones that use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. For some positions, the experience doesn’t necessarily matter though. Just as long as it looks like they put thought and care into making a clean resume.”
How do you advertise the position?
“Advertising for a position can happen a number of ways. Since we are a pretty large company there are always multiple ways someone could apply to the position I am opening. Through the Humana website, instagram, word of mouth for in office positions, references and websites like indeed.”
What characteristics or answers would cause you to cut an interview short?
“When a candidate will bad mouth a previous employer, if they are just plain arrogant, if they lie on their resume and my biggest pet peeve when they touch or look at their phones. I will usually cut the interview off around there and not consider that candidate.”
Is it important to you to make the applicant at ease? What do you do to make them feel more comfortable?
“This one kind of depends. If the position is more high stress, I want to know what that person is like under pressure. I will make them a bit uncomfortable to see how they react. If it is a low level entry position with a new graduate, I will be a bit more warm and inviting.”
Do you attempt to establish a rapport with the applicant at the beginning of the interview?
“I like to try to get to know the applicant. Developing rapport can help bring skeletons out of the closet that the applicant may not have shared if you didn’t.”
What is your process after an applicant has left your office?
“I write down notes on that person. I try to describe in short whether they looked professional and their demeanor. I write down what I really liked about that person, their characteristics and why they would be beneficial to my team. I also write down red flags and reasons they would not work out in the company.”
Do you prefer a structured interview or unstructured interview format?
“I prefer structured interviews. I think it is more fair and that way I can compare candidates answers to the same questions.”
Have you ever hired a candidate on the spot? What was their response that made you know they were the best candidate?
“Only once. It was an interview with someone who was already my employee and the interview was for a promotion. It was easy because I already knew her very well, but despite this she remained very professional throughout the interview and came more prepared than most other candidates. The drive and motivation is what made me hire her on the spot. It was evident that she truly wanted this job and wanted to show that she cared to improve upon our company.”
Do you ever making judgments on candidates based on how the look, how they are dressed or their social media accounts?
“Always. It is a professional setting so dress like it for the interview. If you dress like you don’t care, then I assume that you just don’t care either. Social media is tricky. But we definitely look through social media and ensure the candidate is a good fit.”
Do you ask each candidate the same set of questions?
“I ask the same core set of basic questions. I have different and specific questions that I ask each candidate too that is only pertinent to their experiences or the answers they give me.”
Do you ever offer the candidate feedback after the interview is complete?
“This depends on the candidate. If it is someone that I know very well and already working for me, then yes I would to help them out in the future. If it was some random person that just did not fit for the job, then I normally don’t give any specific feedback.”
Interviewing my mother about how she hires employees taught me a lot. I learned that so much time, effort and thought goes into that one little interview. I learned that you can learn so much about a person just based on a 15 minute interaction. It is important to be able to make a good impression and learn to stand out in these situations.