Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Interview

A job interview is a process in which a job candidate is evaluated by an employer for prospective employment in their company. During this process, the employer seeks to determine whether or not the applicant is suitable for the job. An interview is also an opportunity for a job candidate to evaluate the requirements, tasks, responsibilities and demands of the job, as well as get a feel for the corporate culture.

After a company has reviewed interested candidates’ resumes, job interviewing typically follows. Often times the initial interview is conducted over the phone. Multiple rounds of interviews are also quite common. Once all candidates have been interviewed, the employer typically selects the most desirable candidate and will present a job offer.

Two of the more common types of interviews are traditional and behavioral interviews. The traditional interview is more conversational and uses a series of broad questions related to things like past work experience, strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. The behavioral interview is also fairly popular. This interview is based on the premise that one’s past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. The interviewer asks questions that draw out responses related to results and outcomes in a candidate’s previous work situations. A few other types of interviews include the panel interview, case interview and peer interview.

Legal Aspects
In many countries, employment equity laws forbid discrimination based on a number of classes, such as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and marital status. Asking questions about these protected classes in a job interview is generally considered discriminatory, and constitutes an illegal hiring practice.

Interviewing Still Key
There are many who question the value of job interviews as a tool for selecting employees. Some hiring experts question how useful the interview process is in predicting how successful any given employee will be on the job. In fact, many characteristics like honesty and integrity are hard to assess in the interview process. Plus there are many examples of individuals who, once on the job, fall short of how they represented themselves in the interview.

Although the interview process is certainly not a science and has its fair share of flaws, it remains as an important, if not the most important, basis for how employers hire and how job seekers land a job. For tips on how to prepare for an interview, check out the “Improve My Chances” section in Career Transitions.

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