When we talk about Interview Skills, we mostly look at it from the point of view of the one going to the interview and the problems they face in preparing and practicing for their big day.
But today I want to take a look at the problems faced the person on the other side of the table – the Interviewer.
If we look at some of their difficulties, we can structure our responses to maximise our chances of making an impression. So; looking at the interview from their point of view, what are some of the problems that they immediately face?
· Is the Interview the right format to choose an employee? With all the technology we have to hand, is there not a better way to make sure that we select the right person for our specific needs? Well, if so, it appears that no one yet has found one. Interviews are conducted for a number of purposes; and we can find ourselves being interviewed for a job; for selection into the police or defence forces; for promotion; for a university place … and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, a number of research projects conducted in the US and the UK have shown what many of us have believed for years … different interviewers rate different applicants … well: differently!! So unless the same person is interviewing all the applicants, the interview appears to be a very ineffective way of selecting the right person.
· So – Why are Interviews still conducted? If the interview is so unreliable, why is it still the major way of selecting our staff? There are many advantages that still outweigh the problems.
First – it is practically speaking, the easiest to organise and conduct. There is no fancy equipment; no expensive outlays and many candidates can be assessed in one day.
· Then; a face-to-face interview does bring out more information than can be obtained by purely mechanical means. Personal interaction gives a much better idea of how the candidate looks, dresses and performs under stress. While appearance seems to be low down on the criteria, remember that the requirements often include the ability to blend into the existing company culture. These personal assessments then become critical.
· It is also been discovered that while we may suffer nerves at the mere thought of an interview; most of us would still prefer that to a more impersonal method. Applicants have consistently declared their preference for a face-to-face interview – and of course it also gives them the opportunity to make their own assessment of whether they would like to work for the company.
So it appears the interview in one shape or form is going to be with us for some time yet. And while we know the problems from our side of the table, what could possibly be problematic to those on the other side?
· We have said one of the benefits of personal interviews is that many applicants can been seen in a short time. And that is the first real problem facing your interviewer – Time. If the company has organised for a number of people to be seen, the time allowed must be allocated evenly across the board. So each applicant will get the same amount of time to show case their ability.
And while experienced interviewers will have a set standard of regular questions each applicant will be asked; it would be a foolish one indeed, who does not take the opportunity to delve deeper, especially if faced with a possible applicant.
The bonus for us is, that if we know that time will be an issue for the interviewer, we can be especially careful not to waste the time we have with them. So, our every response must count; and to make that happen for us we need to understand the types and purpose of an interview, and some of the obvious questions we will be asked.
If we have taken the time to organise our paperwork, and have it quickly to hand, we will not waste precious moments struggling to find that perfect reference that we just know we put in our briefcase. Time available to us in the interview is valuable, so we need to use it wisely.
· Following on from that, is the problem that many interviewers have in actually getting the candidate to talk! Nerves can affect us differently and in some cases it turns us into monosyllable speakers. Remember that time is fleeting, so we need to ensure that we do answer the questions fully and promptly.
Take some comfort in our suggestions on how to control your nerves, and never go into an interview unprepared … then you should not be the tongue-tied terrified loser.
· In contrast to that problem, is the one of keeping garrulous talkers to the point. Again, often an outcome of nerves, in this case the applicant rambles on and on, and often off the topic. With the time available the interviewer may not be able to get to the required information necessary to make a positive assessment. Again – control nerves, and pre-prepare.
These are just some of the more obvious problem facing the interviewer across the table from you. If you are aware of some of these you can apply that knowledge in your preparation.
Rehearse your responses to the obvious questions that you know will be asked and make sure that you keep your answers short and to the point.
This will allow you to maximise the time you are allotted to cover as much information as you can to highlight the qualities that make you an outstanding candidate for this job.
‘P’ – for Problems, Preparation, Practice and of course Provident.
Michele @ Trischel