The Interview Format: How to Organize a Job Interview

Category: Articles
Posted: 12-03-2010 04:03 AM
Views: 2046
Synopsis:

Every good job interview has a format. A structure that is well organized and will lead to finding the best possible candidate without using preconceived notions or biases - an interview that uses more than a gut feeling to find the right employee for a job. When your interview is well prepared and has a structure it takes a lot of pressure off of the interviewer. The interviewer just needs to follow the structure and questions and they will feel confident that they have conducted a thorough examination of the candidate.

Every good job interview has a format. A structure that is well organized and will lead to finding the best possible candidate without using preconceived notions or biases - an interview that uses more than a gut feeling to find the right employee for a job. When your interview is well prepared and has a structure it takes a lot of pressure off of the interviewer. The interviewer just needs to follow the structure and questions and they will feel confident that they have conducted a thorough examination of the candidate.

First of all, there needs to be preparation. The interviewer needs to review the job description, review the resume and prepare interviewing questions. Thorough preparation is the foundation for the interview and fills in all the parts of the structure.
 

The introduction is the first moment of the interview. This part is simple. Introduce yourself to the candidate and make them feel at home. The best way to do this is through rapport building questions. You need to find common ground with the candidate to make them feel at ease. This can be as simple as commenting on the weather, non-political current events or even their drive to the interview. Be friendly and cordial and put them at ease. Putting your candidate at ease will allow them to shake off some of the nerves and give a better interview for you.

The interviewing questions come next. The most effective interviews include three different types of questions - informational questions, behavior-based questions and situational questions. Informational based questions are first and are designed to find out specific information needed to qualify the applicant. These questions should be open-ended whenever possible. However, some information can only be gathered by close-ended questions. Open-ended questions like "What are your feelings about handing conflict between co-workers?" make the candidate answer a question without simple yes or no or one word answers.

Behavior-based questions are next and should be designed to find out how a candidate will handle a future situation by finding out how they handled a past situation. Past behavior is the clearest, most unbiased way to predict future behavior. An example of this type of question is "Tell me about a specific time that you had to handle a disappointed customer and what you did to resolve the situation?" Make sure the interviewee answers the questions with a specific past experience and doesn't answer in general terms.

Situational questions are last type of question and are designed to fill the holes left by informational and behavior based questions. Situational questions should only be used if a behavior-based question is not practical or appropriate. These questions should also be open-ended and designed to show a specific skills or knowledge necessary for the job.

Next, an applicant should have time to ask questions of their own. Make sure that they know that they will have this time at the end of the interview so that your interview isn't interrupted by these questions. Lastly, end the interview by telling the applicant that it was a pleasure meeting them. Tell them when you will have a decision and how they will know what this decision is. Escort them out and say good bye.

Specific formatting in an interview takes a lot of pressure off the interviewer and allows them to leave their biases and preconceived notions at the door. It results in better interviews and better hires and as a result a more effective and productive workplace.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of behavioral interviewing video and DVD programs such as More Than a Gut Feeling.

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