One small starting point for creating equity throughout the interview process is to supply job interview questions in advance. As a hiring manager, this was something that took me time to come around on. Previously, I thought I needed to see job candidates “think on their feet.” This process was always something I went through, so why shouldn’t everyone else? Nah…instead let’s end the “Hunger Games” mentality of interviewing.
Are your questions really about “thinking on your feet”?
When it comes to asking “quick thinking” interview questions (e.g., scenario questions like a drug overdose in the library or someone harassing patrons/staff) these questions can be often be too artificial and are hard to encapsulate due to many variables. They are better covered through the library having appropriate policies and procedures to follow. Truth be told, outside of emergencies where you have to “spring into action,” I’d rather see a library employee take the time to thoughtfully and creatively determine an answer or solution.
So why should you give interview questions in advance?
Providing interview questions in advance creates a level playing field. It’s a more inclusive way of conducting a positive interview experience. Critics will argue that it allows people to design “fake” answers (isn’t that MORE work?) but remember you can always ask follow-up questions or clarifying questions. Think of an early career person–someone who just graduated with their degree. Professional interviewing is a new “thing” for them. I know I felt that way as a first gen college student. Or how about someone with social anxiety? On top of meeting new faces, seeing new spaces, you’re now subjected to many questions. Or what about neurodiverse applicants? Although they can ask for an accommodation of interview questions in advance, make this an opportunity to create a universal accommodation for everyone.
How early should you provide the interview questions?
Talk to your human resources professionals for advice. I’ve heard everything from supplying interview questions just 30 minutes in advance (personally, I would find that to be a stress inducer!) to 3 days to a week in advance. Anything more than that you risk over-preparing.
Hiring managers: How do you feel about putting all of your cards on the table? Interviewees: Would this lighten the stress load a little bit?