Child Protective Investigator (CPI)
Table of Contents
1. The Interviewer’s Job Description...................................................................... 3
2. EEO Guidelines ................................................................................................. 4
3. Gathering Information – Do’s and Don’ts......................................................... 10
4. Common Interviewing Situations ..................................................................... 12
1. Behavioral-based Interview Guide and Evaluation
2. Scenario-based Interview – Interviewer
3. Scenario-based Interview – Candidate
4. Watson-Glaser Sample Report
5. Overall Candidate Scoring Guide
1. The Interviewer’s Job Description
Remember your responsibilities as an interviewer.
The Interviewer's Job Description
To improve the quality of new hires by
evaluating candidates on CPI core
1. Establish a Relationship
2. Gather Information
3. Direct Conversation
4. Probe for Hard-To-Find Information
(i.e., Get Behind the "Canned" Answers)
5. Interpret Information
6. Record Information and Perceptions
7. Provide Information
8. Make a Positive Impression
2. EEO Guidelines
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws and guidelines should be understood and followed during any
interaction with candidates. The following sections provide information about the basics to remember.
2.1 EEO Purpose
EEO laws were enacted to ensure that all candidates are given equal opportunities to prove their
qualifications for employment. Legislation states that you cannot base a hiring decision on anything other
than bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ); in other words, applicants cannot be discriminated
against on the basis of age, sex, marital status, race, ethnic origin, religious preference, sexual
preference or disabilities. All information gathered and used to make selection decisions must be directly
and solely related to the individual’s ability to perform a given job.
Interviewers should familiarize themselves with these guidelines not only because they are the law, but
also because fair hiring practices increase the diversity and productivity of an organization’s work force.
Any interaction between an interviewer and an applicant can have EEO consequences. Conversations
within the context of a formal or informal interview are usually the primary focus of regulatory scrutiny;
however, comments made to a candidate in a waiting room or at lunch must also respect EEO guidelines.
2.2 EEO’s Primary Laws
Some of the most important and influential laws include the following:
• Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990:
o Requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for qualified workers with a
• Immigration reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA):
o Requires employers to verify the identity and legal eligibility of individuals to work within
the United States.
• Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978:
o Protects women from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and related
• Vietnam-Era Veteran Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974:
o Requires employers who are federal contractors to take affirmative action in the
employment and advancement of Vietnam-era veterans and disables veterans.
• Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
o Requires employers who are federal contractors to take affirmative action in the
employment and advancement of handicapped individuals.
• Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967:
o Protects workers over the age of 40.
• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
o Prohibits discrimination in selection, promotion, compensation, fringe benefits, etc.,
based on race, sex (including pregnancy), color, religion, or national origin.
2.3 EEO Guidelines
If an individual is seeking to prove discrimination, this person must provide evidence that he/she:
1. is a member of a protected class;
2. is qualified for the job, and;
3. was turned down in favor of another individual who is not a member of a protected class or;
4. was turned down for a job that was not filled.
To protect against unwarranted discrimination claims, it is important to:
Avoid making notes relating to an individual’s race, gender or other protected category
Make careful documentation of interview questions; for example, be able to prove that you have
asked all applicants the same questions
2.4 Areas subject to EEO Regulations
EEO laws cover a wide range of issues. The list below identifies some of the general areas subject to
1. Personal information
2. Race, color
4. Marital and family status
Many of the legal requirements are very specific and easy to remember. Though not all of the above
mentioned topics will arise in your discussions with candidates, you should be familiar with the legal
parameters associated with each of these issues. The following pages highlight some of the most
important issues and associated legal requirements.
2.5 Detail for areas subject to EEO Regulations
2.5.1 Personal Information: Any non job-related question seeking to determine a candidate’s
ancestry, national origin, or even the reason why his or her name has been changed, is prohibited.
2.5.2 Race / Color: Any statement or action that is racially discriminatory is strictly prohibited. Illegal
actions are not always blatant and direct. For example, financial information, such as credit rating,
charge accounts, hone or car ownership, length of residence, in most cases cannot be used to
influence hiring decisions; these criteria may have been used in the part to unfairly discriminate
2.5.3 Gender: Several areas of questioning can be found sexually discriminating:
Questions relating to the employment status or attitudes of an applicant’s spouse
Questions relating to the applicant’s family plans
Questions relating to the length of time an applicant plans to remain in the work force
Questions relating to anticipated absences are permissible only if asked of both male and
Questions that related to pregnancy or related medical conditions are not allowed. Female
applicants cannot be turned down solely because they are pregnant
2.5.4 Marital and Family Status: Questions such as those relating to marital status, pregnancy, future
childbearing plans, unwed motherhood, and the number and ages of children are prohibited.
Federal laws consider these queries to be discriminatory towards women. Additionally, employers
cannot ask about child-care arrangements if these questions are directed solely towards female
Circumstances relating to family responsibilities can occasionally impact the effectiveness with
which an individual can fulfill the requirements of his or her job. However, interview questions
should be phrased in a manner that directly relates to an individual’s capacity to perform these job
requirements. For example, “This job requires you to travel at least 10 days each month. Do you
anticipate any difficulty with this?”
Oftentimes, candidates will offer information relating to their marital status and families. However,
this information should not factor in the selection process. If this information becomes part of a
candidate’s record of application (for example, in notes you have taken during the interview) the
law usually assumes it has been used in a discriminatory manner.
2.5.5 Age: Any question designed to determine the age of a candidate, other than to evaluate that the
candidate meets the minimum legal age standard, is prohibited.
2.5.6 Disabilities: Questions must be directly related to a candidate’s ability to perform job-related
tasks. Probing questions designed to extract information from applicants about health status or
disabilities are prohibited unless the employer can prove that the disqualification of applicants with
disabilities is due to business necessity or safety.
2.5.7 Religion: Questions relating to religious preference are prohibited. While applicants may
volunteer information relating to his or her religion (i.e. “I teach Sunday School at my church.”), it is
illegal for interviewers to continue this line of discussion as it is not relevant to job requirements.
2.5.8 Citizenship: The Immigration Reform & Control Act requires employers to prove that applicants
are legally entitled to work in the U.S. However, it is illegal to use citizenship as a factor in the
hiring decision. Since candidates are requested to note their citizenship status on the employment
application, there is not need for this topic to be addressed in an interview situation.
2.5.9 Other: Three other topics with potential legal consequences due to discrimination on the basis of
race, color, religion, gender or national origin or other protected attributes include:
220.127.116.11 Education: Questions relating to education must have a direct bearing on that individual’s ability
to perform the job.
18.104.22.168 Arrest Record: Because an arrest is not a conviction, it is illegal to discriminate against those
who have been arrested.
22.214.171.124 Conviction Record: Questions relating to conviction records must be directly related to specific
126.96.36.199 Organizational Affiliations: Membership in organizations can be queried if these organizations
are directly related to job requirements. Any questions about organizational affiliations that are
intended to uncover information about an applicant’s social class, color, race, gender, marital
status, and other “protected classes” are prohibited.
2.6 Testing your knowledge of EEO Requirements
Instructions: Read each of the questions & situations below, then identify whether the question is legal
(L) or illegal (I) by writing the appropriate letter in the space provided.
___ 1. Are you over the age of 18? (legal)
___ 2. Do you belong to a private luxury golf club? (illegal)
___ 3. You mentioned earlier that you have two children. How old are they? (illegal)
___ 4. How do you feel that your military experience has prepared you to manage the responsibilities of
this position? (legal)
___ 5. Are you married? (illegal)
___ 6. Can you give me the names of character and professional references? (legal)
___ 7. Your name is listed on your resume as Karen Anne Martin. Is that a Miss or a Mrs.? (illegal)
___ 8. Are you authorized to work in the U.S.? (legal)
___ 9. When did you graduate from college? (illegal)
___10. Is your spouse employed? (illegal)
___11. Do you have a cold? (illegal)
___12. Are there any circumstances that might prevent you from traveling at least 10 days a month?
(legal, as long as it is required for job)
___13. Are you able to perform the essential job-related functions set forth in the job description? (legal)
___14. Your residence is listed as 1400 W. 182nd Street in Harlem. I'm unfamiliar with this area. In what
part of New York is it located? (illegal)
___15. How many days did you take leave last year? (illegal)
___16. How did you learn to speak 5 languages? (illegal)
___17. Do you understand that any false information knowingly provided by you on your employment
application, including salary history, can be grounds for your immediate dismissal? (legal)
___18. Do you own or rent your home? (illegal)
2.7 Americans with Disabilities Act: Do’s & Don’ts:
The following provides suggestions for avoiding
Do Ask . . . Don't Ask . . .
whether or not the applicant can perform the about current or past illnesses, medical
functions (essential, marginal, or both) of the job conditions, disabilities, etc.; for example:
with or without reasonable accommodation.
"Have you had a major illness in the last five
The candidate must know what the functions are years?"
through reading a current job description or a list of "Have you ever had any of the following
job expectations, through being told, or through conditions or diseases . . .?"
demonstration. "Why are you on crutches? A skiing accident?"
"Do you have any physical conditions that would
Ensure the candidate has read the job description prevent you from performing certain kinds of
about hospitalization; for example:
"Have you ever been hospitalized?"
about treatment for mental condition; for example:
"Have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist or
about worker's compensation; for example:
"Have you ever filed for workers' compensation?"
the applicant to describe or demonstrate how he or questions that are not directly related to the job's
she will perform a function, with or without essential functions and that might provide
reasonable accommodation. information about a candidate's disabilities; for
Generally, this demonstration must be asked of all
applicants. If an applicant has a known disability "Do you have a driver's license?" (unless driving is
that may interfere with performance of a job related an essential job function)
function, then only that applicant may be asked.
"Can you read at an average rate and
If the applicant needs an accommodation, it must comprehension level?" (unless reading is an
be provided (if reasonable) or let the applicant essential job function)
describe how he/she would do the task.
Do Ask . . . Don't Ask . . .
about the ability to comply with working hours and about days absent from work due to illness; for
attendance at a prior employer as long as example:
questions are not related to absences due to
illness, disability, etc., just like any other applicant "Have many days were you absent from work
would be asked. For example: because of illness last year?"
"Our regular office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., about leave for treatment (even if the applicant
Monday through Friday, with 4 hours of overtime on reveals a disability); for example:
Saturdays. Can you meet these requirements?"
"Do you expect or need time off for medical
"Were you ever disciplined for poor attendance at a treatment?"
if the candidate volunteers that he or she is questions about the nature and severity of the
disabled, disability, need for leave to receive treatment, etc.
about what accommodation(s) might be needed;
3. Gathering Information – Do’s and Don’ts
The following matrix highlights other specific things an interviewer should do and should avoid while
gathering information to have an effective and EEO compliant interview.
DO: Do NOT:
Ask open-ended questions that have a specific Ask vague, non-directed questions.
purpose in mind. “What do you find most difficult about managing
“I see that you are responsible for supervising 20 different employees?”
over 20 employees in different locations. How While this question also refers to the candidate’s
do you monitor the performance of these current responsibilities, and is open-ended, it does
employees?” not direct the candidate to a particular challenge.
This question draws upon the candidate’s current As a result, the candidate may not know where to
responsibilities and asks for how he or she handles begin in answering the question, or may offer
a specific management task, i.e. performance information unrelated to the competencies of the
Ask close-ended questions to gather or confirm Ask stand-alone close-ended questions.
factual information offered in response to open- “Do you find it a challenge to manage over 20
ended questions. different employees?”
“You just mentioned that you work closely with This is a close-ended question, i.e., one that
your managers in setting performance requires a fixed response. In this case, the answer
standards for employees. How often do these could simply be “yes,” “no,” or “sometimes.” What
meetings occur?” does this tell you about this candidate’s
The answer to this question clarifies the management skills? Not much.
interviewer’s understanding of the candidate’s
performance management process.
Ask questions with the response you want to
hear embedded in the question.
“Do you meet with your employees monthly or
This type of question could prompt an inaccurate
response. What if the candidate meets semi-
annually with managers? He or she may be
reluctant to admit conducting meeting less
frequently than on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Use close-ended questions to clarify your Move onto another question or topic if you are
understanding of what the candidate has said. uncertain about a candidate’s response.
“I’m not sure if I understood what happened “I think I know what you are trying to say. Now
after the new performance standards were I’d like to ask you about …”
established. Could you explain that to me one
“Do you mean that you…”
Ask one question at a time. Ask rapid-fire, or multiple questions.
“Tell me about a time when you had to actively “Tell me about a time when you had to resolve
participate in the resolution of a conflict a conflict between two of your employees. Did
between two of your employees.” you talk to each of them separately or did you
bring them both together? How did they react?
Withhold your judgment of the candidate. Ask threatening or blaming questions.
“What caused you to take that action?” “How could you just fire the employee? Why
didn’t you give her another chance?”
Ask fair, unbiased questions. Ask questions that violate EEO guidelines.
“This job requires quite a bit of travel. Do you “This job requires quite a bit of travel. Do you
anticipate that this will cause any difficulties for have any small children?”
you?” This question can be used to discriminate against
This question complies with EEO guidelines, which women, who are often assumed to be the primary
bars queries into family status. caregivers in a household. Familiarize yourself with
EEO requirements to avoid asking illegal questions.
Ask questions in a logical sequence. Move back and forth between unrelated topics.
Many of your interview questions may require the This can be confusing to the candidate. Make sure
candidate to recall specific experiences. It will be that you have all the information you need before
easier for him or her to remember and respond to moving on to a different line of questioning.
your questions if your questions follow a logical
Keep the pace of the discussion moving. Spend too much time on one line of
If a candidate has provided you with enough questioning.
information on one job skill, move on to the next. Keep an eye on your clock or watch to make sure
It’s easy to get caught up in listening to the you have adequate time to cover all of the job skills
candidate, particularly if he or she is recounting and you have identified. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself
interesting or amusing experience. However, be rushing through your remaining questions.
mindful of your time constraints and politely urge
the conversation forward.
Try to allow some time for the candidate to ask
questions. Encourage questions by asking the
“Do you have any questions relating to the
position and its responsibilities?”
“Do you have any questions about BearingPoint
If you cannot answer a candidate’s question, tell
him or her that you will find out and get back to him
or her. If you feel very favorably about the
candidate, you may also want to give him or her
your direct telephone extension.
4. Common Interviewing Situations
The following depict common interviewing situations and suggested approaches for handling these.
The candidate is late for the interview. Don't immediately jump to a negative conclusion about the
candidate. Wait until you receive more information before
forming an opinion. Although most candidates will make a
point to be early for the interview, occasionally circumstances
beyond this individual's control will cause him or her to be late.
Responsible candidates will call you if they expect to be at
least 10 minutes late. If no reason is given for the lateness,
directly ask the person for an explanation.
The discussion seems to be getting off Focus your questions on specific situations or information
track; candidate is digressing from offered by the candidate. "You just mentioned that you have
topics/issues you want to evaluate. frequently been asked to speak at various trade group
meetings, and that your presentations have been well
received. How have you measured the success of these
Candidate's response to your question Ask open-ended probing questions beginning with phrases
does not provide you with the information such as:
you are looking for. "Tell me more about . . ."
"Could you review your role in . . ."
"Please describe how you . . ."
"What happened after you . . . "
Candidate's responses are vague and Ask open ended probing questions beginning with phrases
unfocused on specific actions and such as:
behaviors. "Why did you take the action you did in that situation?"
"How does this reflect on your ability to . . ."
"Can you tell me about another example where you . . ."
At the close of your interview, you realize "Looking over my notes, I would like to get more information
you haven't addressed a specific point. from you about . . ."
You feel that the candidate is giving you Tactfully interrupt the candidate to re-focus the discussion.
"canned" or "prepared" responses to your "I think we've gotten a little off track here. Let me rephrase my
questions. question so you can be more direct in your response."
Candidate's responses to your questions You'll need to pick up the pace in order to cover your job skills.
provide more than enough information, "I think I have a good picture of how you handled that
and are taking up too much time. situation. Now let me ask you about . . ."
Candidate does not respond immediately Avoid the temptation to fill in periods of silence. It is perfectly
to your question. natural for a candidate to pause for a short while after you
have asked a question. Since many of your questions will be
asking the candidate to recount how he/she handled a past
event, it may take a little while for this person to recall the
situation with enough clarity to explain it to you.
Candidate does not have a response to a Rephrase your question to take a different approach: "Have
question; responds by saying, "I've never you ever handled a situation similar to the one I described?"
encountered a situation such as the one
you are describing." Avoid asking "hypothetical questions, such as, "If you were to
encounter such a situation, how would you handle it?";
remember, the best indicator of future performance is past
behavior in similar circumstances.
Candidate is visibly uncomfortable or It is natural for many candidates to be nervous, particularly
nervous . . . seems to have a hard time during the opening stages. Use both your verbal and non-
concentrating and providing focused verbal skills to put the candidate at ease. Smile, make
responses. frequent eye contact, and nod while the individual is speaking.
Offer encouraging, non-judgmental comments, such as, "I
see," or, "what did you do next?" to keep the candidate talking.
Candidate expresses dissatisfaction with Ask probing questions to determine the nature of this
his or her current employer. dissatisfaction. Are these feelings personal, i.e., clashes with
a co-worker or manager; or are they career-related, i.e., due to
a lack of professional opportunities? Responses could
provide you with insight into the candidate's professional
goals, as well as his or her ability to work well with others.
If the person speaks of a previous (or current) employment
experience with anger or bitterness, it is best to discontinue
this topic of discussion; for example, you can say, "I think I
understand the reasons that have caused you to pursue other
employment opportunities. Now, I'd like to ask you about . . ."
Candidate asks what his/her chances are If the individual does not have the qualifications you are
for receiving an offer. looking for, tell him or her in a courteous manner. If the
individual is qualified, but you are still interviewing others,
explain to the candidate where you are in the selection
process, then provide him or her with a time frame within
which the next contact will be made. For example: "It is
difficult for me to say exactly when we will be ready to make a
final selection decision. There are still several other
candidates that we would like to interview. The first round of
interviewing is scheduled to be completed by (date). You will
be contacted no later than (date) regarding the next step in
The candidate states that he/she has Your response to this situation will depend upon where you
received another employment offer, are in the selection process and the level of qualifications
presses you for his or her chances of possessed by the candidate. If it is still very early in the
receiving an offer with DCF. process, i.e., you are interviewing the first round of
candidates, communicate this to the applicant and explain that
you are not in a position to make any promises or decisions at
this point. "We appreciate your interest in DCF and feel that
your qualifications are impressive. However, it is still too early
in the process for us to make any selection decisions.
Congratulations on your employment offer. Should you decide
to accept a new position, please let us know."
If the selection process is close to completion, i.e., you are in
the final stages of interviewing, and you feel that this
candidate is extremely well qualified for the position, your
response to the candidate may be quite different. First, thank
the candidate for informing you of his or her employment offer.
Second, ask when the candidate is expected to notify the
potential employer or his or her acceptance of the offer. Next,
explain to the candidate that a final decision has not yet been
made, but that they are seriously considering his or her
credentials. Tell the candidate that you will be meeting with
other members of the interview team and will call him or her as
soon as possible with more information (the date of this next
contact should occur before the candidate has been asked to
make a decision regarding the employment offer).
Candidate seems to be misrepresenting Don't automatically assume the individual is trying to
him or herself. intentionally deceive you. He or she may not completely
understand the requirements of the position; on the other
hand, the individual may regularly inflate his or her
accomplishments. Use probing questions to reaffirm or
disaffirm your suspicions.
Candidate's responses seem "too good to You may be lucky enough to be interviewing a highly qualified
be true." applicant. On the other hand, you may be dealing with a
professional interviewee, someone whose true experience
does not match the job requirements, but who has been
coached to provide credible answers to interview questions.
If you are even slightly suspicious of a candidate, focus on
areas that would require the interviewee to draw up specific
workplace experiences. For example, if someone says,
"Sales in our department rose 25% after I took over the
division," you could follow up with: "What did you do to
achieve those results?" "How did your staff react to your
Candidate frequently interrupts the To keep the pace of the interview moving, you need to
interviewer. maintain control of the discussion. People interrupt the
conversations of others for a variety of reasons: some dislike
being passive listener, others interrupt out of nervous habit. If
the candidate is interrupting with information that relates to job
requirements, sit back, listen and take notes; if not, you need
to interrupt the interrupter: "I'm interested in learning as much
as possible about your experiences and credentials. I'd like to
ask you now about ..."