Planning and conducting interviews

Before meeting for an interview, both the interviewer and the interviewee have to make planning and preparation. Many job interviews are failures because either the applicants or the interviewer lack the skills of planning for them. The interviewer must have clear and detailed information about the post for which the candidates are to be interviewed. He should be in a position to tell the candidate the working conditions, details of job operations and other responsibilities. He has to make proper seating arrangement for the candidates in such a way that they may feel relaxed in the waiting room before facing the interviewer. He should know what type of candidate is required for the job. He must have the bio-data of all the candidates who might attend the interview.

Similarly, the applicants too must prepare themselves for the interview situation. He has to know his own abilities in carrying out the responsibilities of the post for which he applies. He has to ask himself whether he really desires to do that work and if it is suitable for his talents. Secondly, he has to know the organization in which he seeks the job. He has also to prepare himself for the probable questions, which would be asked in the interview.

Some specific instructions for the preparation of the interviewer and the interviewees are given below:

  • The interview call letter must be sent well in advance to the candidate. It gives sufficient time to the interviewees for adequate preparation.
  • If several applicants are to be interviewed on the same day, the time schedule must be prepared and the candidates should be informed about it well in advance so that all of them do not come at the same time and nobody will have to wait for a long time to be interviewed.
  • Considering the requirements of the post, the interviewer must know what kind of qualifications, training and experience of the candidates is essential.
  • In order to gather facts, opinions and attitudes of the candidates, the interviewer must prepare a set of questions to be asked in the interview.
  • The interviewer must decide the best order in which he may ask the questions or take up the main topics for discussion.
  • The interviewer can gather information about the candidate’s references and associates by way of correspondence, telephone conversation or face-to-face meetings.
  • The interviewer must know the duties and responsibilities of the post.
  • The interviewer has to make proper seating arrangements for the can. If possible, the provision should be made for the newspapers, magazines, tea and light refreshments, so that the candidates who sit in the waiting room till the interview, may feel relaxed and comfortable.
  • All  the  members  of  the  in  committee  should  be  given  a  copy  of  the candidate’s bio-data.
  • The interviewer should know the kinds of certificates, documents and other papers which the can have to produce at the time of interview.
  • The interviewer should take care that there would be no interruption, disturbances or intrusions in the interview hall in which the interview is in progress.
  • There must be proper seating arrangements in the interview hall. The interview can be conducted across the desk or while sitting on the adjoining sofa-set.
  • If the candidate is to be interviewed by the committees, each member of the interview committee should prepare questions in his specific areas. They should decide among themselves the type of question which each of them would ask the candidate. They should decide their turns of asking the questions.
  • The interviewer must not allow himself to talk more than the interviewee.
  • The interviewer should talk with the interviewee in such a way that it will create an atmosphere of friendliness and mutual understanding. It will put the applicant at ease and he will be able to express his thoughts and feelings freely and naturally.
  • The interviewer has to initiate the dialogue between himself and the interviewee. He should begin the meeting with report and sympathy for the applicant.
  • The interviewer has to make full enquiry about the interviewee’s knowledge, expertise, motives, interests and habits.
  • The interviewer has to give his full attention to the verbal and non -verbal expressions of the interviewee. He must remember that the facial expressions, gestures, postures, eye contact, tone of the voice and body movements of the interviewee is as important as his verbal expressions.
  • The interviewer can acquire a variety of information from the interviewee, but he must decide which information he really needs to get from the applicant during the interview, because in an attempt to secure a variety of details, the interviewer may not be able to spare sufficient time for the major issues.
  • The interviewer should encourage the interviewee by using brief verbal responses while the latter speaks. The brief verbal responses like ‘good’ while the latter speaks. The brief verbal responses like ‘good’, ‘then’? ‘Tell me more’, etc, will keep the applicant talking.
  • The interviewer has to anticipate the interviewee’s resistance on certain issues.
  • The interviewer must keep his patience. He should never argue with the interviewee.
  • The interview’s voice should be clearly audible to the interviewee.
  • The interviewer should use simple language, which will be easily understood by the applicant.
  • The interviewer should not allow himself to snap the speech of the interviewee.
  • The interviewer must be receptive to what the interviewee says. He should never express his disapproval.
  • The interviewer must learn to respect the feelings of the applicant.

Guidelines for the interviewee’s conduct at the interview

  • The interviewee must remember the fact that his first impression is the most lasting.
  • His general appearance must be neat.
  • He should arrive in time.
  • He has to bring all the certificates, documents, essential papers and other material needed for the interview.
  • He should enter the interview room with a straightforward and confident attitude.
  • He should not be nervous and agitated.
  • He should keep himself calm, composed and confident.
  • His expression should be pleasant.
  • He should greet the interviewer with confidence and politeness.
  • He need not wear a stupid smile while entering.
  • He should take the indicated seat.
  • He should not take the seat until he is asked to sit down.
  • He should sit in a relaxed but alert manner.
  • He should not play with the pincushion or the paperweight on the table of the interviewer.
  • He should not bend or lean on the table.
  • He must pay careful attention to what the interviewer says.
  • He must not interrupt the interviewers.
  • His posture must be appropriate.
  • His body movements must not indicate his nervousness or evasiveness. He should not clasp and unclasp his hands.
  • He must tell the truths, because his non-verbal statement will conflict with his verbal statements and it may reveal the fact to the interviewer.
  • His answers must be relevant to the questions asked by the interviewer.
  • He should not boast of his capabilities and vast knowledge.
  • He has to present his strengths to the interviewer, but he must not pretend to be something he is not.
  • He has to retain his dignity while answering even to the annoying and repelling questions.
  • He must always remember that he has to present the best qualities of his character.
  • He need not agree with all the views of the interviewer. He may express his individual views also.
  • He must not annoy or offend the interviewer.
  • He must try to avoid distractions such as chewing gum, smoking, etc.
  • He must express his keen interest and enthusiasms for the job and the organization.
  • All of his attitudes must be positive.
  • He need not criticize himself.
  • He should never become emotional and impatient. He should never lose his temper.
  • He should frankly answer the questions about his previous job.
  • He should not criticize his former employer and colleagues.
  • He should not try to look funny or serious-minded.
  • He should ask relevant questions to the interviewer in order to get essential information about the job and the organization.
  • He must not emphasize the issue of what the organization will do for him, but, on the other hand, he should tell about his potentials service to the organization.

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