An employment specialist helps people find jobs through promotion and development of a client’s skills. They also help teach job skills to those who have disadvantages in finding employment. If you’re looking for a specialist to work with your agency, it’s a good idea to ask some pertinent and probing questions in an interview to find the right candidate for the job.

What are Your Skills?

Even though this is a basic question applicable in any interview, finding out what an employment specialist’s skill level is becomes important since so much knowledge is involved. Some answers might be that the candidate worked in employment law or as a mediator in labor disputes. Check to make sure the candidate has cultural diversity and communicates well with all people. Also, find out if the candidate can communicate effectively in face-to-face meetings and in written form. Other skills to look out for would be superior research and administration skills.

What Tasks Did You Have in Your Previous Employment?

Since employment specialist skills are so wide ranging, it’s best to ask your candidate what he did in his previous employment so he can fit the right niche within your agency. For instance, did he promote job training programs or develop one? Did he take a management approach to the job by making sure trainers, counselors and outreach workers did their jobs efficiently? They may have also had to be responsible for keeping company policies and procedures accurate so information was always given to job seekers. In some cases, an employment specialist may have worked with employers on making sure wage scales were accurate with national rates.

What are Your Strongest and Weakest Points?

Here you have another basic question that can be applied for many jobs. However, because an employment specialist works with people, it’s a good idea to find out what they may have done right or wrong in their previous employment. Ask the candidate to keep it simple and to cite examples. The best answers are usually when the candidate mentions a negative that managed to turn into a positive outcome. In answers pointing out weaknesses, the candidate perhaps works too hard and doesn’t take time out for personal time. This gives indications of a hard-working individual who takes the time to solve problems at work, but has a difficult time balancing work and home life.

Why Do You Want to Work for Our Company?

You can gauge a good employment specialist based on how they answer this question. If they’ve done their research on your company, you know the candidate has a serious interest in the job and perhaps doing the job well. Also, take into consideration a positive answer from the candidate saying he thinks he’ll fit in well with your agency for the long term. A candidate not knowing about your agency’s background may be an indication he's more interested in just hopping from one agency to another to climb a career ladder.