You know, when we are obsessing over our upcoming interview, we tend to forget that there is another point of view. It is often very useful to look at the interview from the other side of the table. If we can understand what the interviewer is trying to achieve we can get a better feel for how we can present ourselves in a positive way.

So why do companies conduct interviews? Well, it is the easiest way to provide the organisation and the prospective candidate with an opportunity to make informed judgements. From our point of view, we want to know more about the job and to present ourselves as the best candidate for the vacancy. The object in conducting interviews for the companies is to determine who is the best applicant in terms of qualification and experience for the position – and equally important, who would best fit in with the company’s culture.

To make sure that their requirements are met the company will prepare for the interview; and a quick look at some of the criteria they may consider can help us understand the interview from their point of view.

1. What are the key competencies and skills which are required for this job?

2. What are the main selection criteria to be used?

3. What questions will help us target our key areas?

4. What type of interview will best suit our needs?

5. What, if any, Equal Employment Opportunity principles must we be aware of?

A full interview process often consists of three parts:

1. Telephone or brief Interview – These can be conducted by the organisation’s Human Resource Department, or more and more often by a specialised Recruitment Agency. It will usually cover the preliminaries: an explanation of the organisation, a description of the vacancy and will seek an indication of the candidate’s interest in obtaining the job. It is also a good opportunity to make an initial assessment of the candidate’s presentation skills. If the initial interview is conducted by telephone, how do you rate your telephone communication skills? Just because the first contact is by the ‘phone, it doesn’t mean that we are not being assessed on our ability to present ourselves positively.

2. First Interview – If is becoming more common for Recruitment Agencies to organise the first interview. From their client base they usually select a short list of suitable candidates and forward it to the company, along with their CV and any consultant reports.

The company will then select from the submitted list those people who they believe are best suited to fill the vacancy taking into consideration experience, qualification and indications that they would fit into the unique culture of the company. They will then arrange the date and time of the first interview.

3. The Second Interview – In many cases the obvious candidate can be identified from this first interview. And if so, the appropriate letters should be sent out to all people interviewed, and the process ends. However, if there are two or three people who are imminently suitable for the position, the company may choose to conduct a more in depth second interview to make a final selection.

Some understanding of the Interview Process from the prospective employer’s point of view may help us prepare better for our interviews.

On Wednesday I will look at the types of interviews we may find ourselves attending, and on Friday explore the discrimination laws and interviews: – but why don’t you begin your preparation for your future interviews by booking into our next “Interview Skills Workshop being held on 26th July.


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