Thursday, August 30, 2012

Job Interview; Types And Forms

Job Interview is generally defined as a conversation between an employer and a job candidate, where the employer evaluates a candidate for prospective employment in the organization. The purpose of job interview is eliciting information. If on the one hand the interviewer wants to know about the candidate in great detail including the intangibles like his qualities, potential, attitude and teamwork, the candidate wants to know the financial health, working environment and plans of the employer besides what he will be getting in terms of compensation. The employer uses the information elicited to decide whether to offer job to the candidate, while the candidate uses the elicited information to decide whether to accept the offer, if made.

There are many types/ forms and styles of job interview. Although the purpose of all these remain the same, they offer different methods, and format for achieving the same goal. The type/ form of an interview may depend upon the organization’s policies and rules, nature of knowledge and skills required for the job or the position for which the interview is to be conducted.

Screening job interview

The purpose of Screening Interviews is to qualify a candidate before the job interview process is initiated. Screening tools are used to make sure that the candidates have the minimum qualification/ skills requirement. The company mostly undertakes this exercise through the Human Resource Department to weed out unqualified candidates from among a large number of candidates applying for the job. Computer programs are one of the tools used for the purpose, the other being Telephone Interviews.

Telephone job interview

Telephone interviews are mostly conducted in the following situations:

As discussed earlier, the Telephone Interview is one of the methods of screening process where a large number of applicants are involved. It is especially more feasible for candidates living in far-off places.

It is sometimes used as a preliminary interview for candidates, living at great distance from the company for saving time and expenses. It helps the interviewer and the candidate get a general sense if they are interested in each other and that action is required to proceed further. However, this form of interview is no substitute for face to face interview and special care is required to manage the Telephone Interview by the interviewer and the candidate. The absence of observing the body language of the candidate is one of the negative aspects of such interviews.

One-on-one job interview

This interview takes place after initial screening of the candidates. Mostly it is carried out by the manager/ supervisor of the concerned Department. It is not a full fledged interview, but an exercise by the employer to judge whether the candidate is qualified for the job keeping in view his knowledge and skills and comparing it with the job requirements. There is no better person than the immediate Supervisor or manager to make that judgment.

Lunch job interview

The mealtime interview is a way of judging a candidate in a different environment than the usual interviewing done in an office or a meeting room. It helps the employer in judging the candidate in a social setting and the way he/she interacts with different people in addition to his eating etiquette. This method is more helpful for jobs in sales And marketing, Public Relations where social interaction is an important requirement.

Group job interview

A Group Interview means interviewing all the candidates at the same time. In this type of interview initially an employer representative gives a briefing about the company and about the format of the interview to follow. A Group interview is conducted to judge the candidates in a competitive environment. In this form of interview all or batches of candidates are put through a series of activities to observe and judge their different capabilities as well as their interaction as a team member or as an opposing contender. Sometimes they are given a topic to argue in its favor or against and sometimes nominated as a judge to decide among different debaters and give reasons. Sometimes candidates are asked to interview each other for the post they are being interviewed for and either select or reject and give out reasons. A panel of interviewers, make judgment on different qualities or traits exhibited by different candidates. Mostly Group Interview is followed by the final interview to verify the data collected at the Group Interview for selecting the best candidate.

Committee or Panel interview

Panel / Committee interviews are mostly done for selection on important positions that need judgment on different important aspects and traits. Usually each member of the panel makes determination on specific traits required for the position by asking questions about those traits. It is important for the interviewers to decide before the interview the sequence in which each one of them will question candidates to avoid any confusion during the interview which could cause embarrassment and reflect organization adversely. It is also proper to put the candidates at ease by introducing the members of the panel.

The Stress Interview

It is one of the most feared and controversial form of interviewing. The purpose is to judge the candidate’s patience, his reaction under trying circumstances and self management under pressure. This is mostly done by putting odd, unexpected questions, deriding the answers given, communicating harshly and challenging the candidate’s beliefs and point of view. Even if the candidate is prepared for a stress interview it becomes difficult for him not to lose the patience and become involved in a matching game. It is a lose-lose situation for him, hurting his dignity if he shows too much patience or otherwise hurting his chances. The use of sense of humor appears to be the best way in handling the stress interview and to realize that it is not personal and take it as a game. The interviewers on the other hand must clearly demarcate the line between putting pressure and ridiculing.

The Follow-up Interview

Follow-up interview is part of some company’s selection process, while some companies resort to follow-up interview on the need basis.

The main purpose of a follow-up interview(s) is to either verify some unclear aspects about the candidate or to get judgment about his qualities from different people before presenting the candidate for final decision before a panel comprising senior officials. Follow-up interview indicates company’s interest in the candidate, but as some information is needed or there are matters that need clarification, it is considered proper to have another meeting with the candidate.

The Informational Interview

This type of interview is rare and mostly undertaken on the request of future candidates planning for a job. It consists in a candidate approaching concerned officials of the company to discuss the nature of jobs proper to his knowledge and personality in the company and ask advice about his future course of action. Most of the companies avoid this interaction, but some companies find it feasible to have such an interaction for their future human resource needs.

Serial interview

Mostly undertaken for entry level selection, Serial Interviews comprise of a series of interviews for a candidate, following one another in the day. The last interview determines the result of all the interviews. This type of interview looks inconvenient for the candidates, but for the company it is found convenient and effective as the interviewers are free to chose their time and before the final interview all the data that is fresh is conveyed to the final interviewing panel.

The Behavioral Interview

The behavioral interviews have become very popular among employers. The main purpose of this form of interview is to judge a candidate on the basis of his previous behavior that is expected to indicate his future behavior as well. The candidate is asked questions about the manner in which he acted in different situations or managed different areas of his responsibility as well as the reasons for doing that and the results accruing. The different traits required for the position like decision making, problem solving, flexibility, inter-personal skills and leadership qualities are thus explored through behavioral questioning.

As behavioral interview is one of the most important forms of interviewing a separate post will be written about it later.

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