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Getting Oriented About Interviewing

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As a senior executive or even the owner of a business it may not occur to you to look at your company from the perspective of a prospective new job applicant.  You might perceive that you are far too busy for that, or that it is not you or the company that needs to impress the applicant – but the applicant that has to impress you!  However, the dynamic is one where both parties need to put their best food forward.

The beginning of the wooing

The first contact betweeen the company and the potential new employee is the job listing.  The job applicant will identify jobs, tasks, responsibilities, etc. listed in the job listing that align with his/her own experience or capabilities.  Both are well served to be honest in their portrayal.  The company should be honest about the role and the applicant should not claim experiences or responsibilities that are not their own.  In years gone by, it might have been possible for companies to get away with stretching the truth about a position’s true nature.  However, now applicants can rely on sites like glassdoor to provide them with an insider’s view of the company (comments written by previous or current employees about the company’s culture, pay rates, and job tasks).

First Contacts

It is advisable for the company to create an interview schedule if more than one interview will be conducted and share that with both the applicant and those conducting the interviews.  This allows the applicant to understand who they will be speaking with (by name and job title), the schedule of interviews, and can better prepare their interview answers based on the functions, responsibilities, and perspectives of the interviewer.  The interviewers can then tailor their questions so that the applicant is not asked the same questions numerous times, but rather each interviewer is tasked with collecting different information.

Transitions

In the event that the interviewers are detained or unable to meet with the applicant at the assigned time, it is especially important to have someone tasked with acting as “host” or “hostess.”  This person will shepherd the applicant from interview to interview, or check in periodically to ensure that the applicant is being tended to, answer any questions that may arise, or allow the applicant to make requests to ensure their own comfort during the process (water, access to a bathroom, chance to make a phone call, etc. – as appropriate).

Engagement on Interviews

While there are different approaches to interviews:

  1. Behavioral interviews are popular where the interviewee is asked for examples of how they have performed in different conditions or scenarios, or how they might behave in simulated situations.
  2. Another less popular form of interviewing, but still occasionally conducted are “stress interviews” where the applicant is seen in a situation that is uncomfortable and then judged on how they handle stress.  An example of this is stress interview .
  3. The traditional approach is the review of one’s career highlights and sharing the position’s key responsibilities.

Treat interviews as important exchanges.

The purpose of the interview should not be forgotten in the pursuit of the techniques.  The interview is designed to give a realistic insight into both the applicant and the job to ensure that there is an alignment between the two.  If either the company or the applicant are not better informed about each other after the interviews have been completed, it was not as successful as it could have been.

Next Steps

Share the expectations after the applicant has completed the interviews.  Will there be follow-ups?  Additional interviews?  Is there any administrative transactions that are to be completed (paying for travel, lodging, meals, parking, or other expenses incurred – and agreed to beforehand)?  What is the timing that decisions be made?

Failure to consider these aspects of the interview process may lead to a less than optimal interview/hiring experience for both the company and the interviewee.

David Zahn

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