Interviewing

Date: Feb 4, 2019
Category: Interview

Pre-interview Steps

Description of Concrete Experience

Throughout my professional experience I have worked as human resource executive and human resource manager for many organizations. With my experience as consultant and as human resource professional, I have learned that managers should have deep insight about the interview process and expectations of candidates before they start actual interview. I have always believed that requirement gathering is the most important phase for any project and I admit that pre-interview process is indeed requirement gathering phase. During my tenure as HR professional, I used to consult with the top executives of the company and get an idea about the number of offers that can be made and the compensation that can be given to any suitable candidate. In 2002, I was working with Dahar Chemicals; there as a pre interview step, I used to have a discussion with other departments so as to know, what kind of people they are looking for. Based on this discussion I used to design the job description part that was sent over to candidates. Once the job description was completed, I used to finalize the method of communication by which news can be spread to interested candidate. I used to take a mix approach of online and offline mediums such as newspapers and web portals. For routine interviews that do not require technical expertise, for instance, interview for receptionist, advertisement in local daily was a preferred medium and for the high skilled jobs, I preferred advertising on various web portals. The last step for the pre-interview step was to review the resumes of interested candidates; by doing so, I create a picture of candidates in my mind before I actually meet them.

Reflections

I believe that interviews are one of the best ways to judge the potential of candidates in given duration of time. This face-to-face method can be completed in limited period of time; typically, time may vary from 10 minutes to 100 minutes. I believe that 30 minutes is an idle time to judge the personality of any candidate. Still, today when I am ready to take any interview, I try to complete the interview within 45 minutes, though I have learned that duration also depends and vary from candidate to candidate. As a pre-interview preparation, I used to allot half an hour time to each candidate and plan the entire duration of interview process, and obviously, I used to add some buffer time.

Generalizations, Principles, & Theories

I have understood that being a manager, it is imperative for me to do my groundwork about the candidate before starting actual interview process. This is one of the reasons why it is highly recommended that candidates should be succinct and point the necessary information in their resumes. As a pre-interview step, it was essential for me to understand the personality of candidate before I start any interview. It is a human resource manager responsibility to make sure that place of the interview is appropriate. I believe that these are the hygiene factors that must be taken care of. In 2004, I was working for DynCorp International; there I used to arrange proper lunch and coffee for candidates so that they are happy about the overall interview process. Pre-interview steps decide the course of action for the actually interview and thereafter evaluation.

Testing and Application

A lot of people would say that first two minutes decide the course of action during any interview process. People would say that rejection and selection decisions are made during the first minute itself; however, I believe that first impression is established before the interview process itself. During my tenure, the impression of job candidates was created when I first glanced at their CV. Hence, I strongly believe that pre-interview process should have the parameter of analyzing the CV from the side of managers. As a testing measure, I used to provide the resume of candidates to different team members and then their perception about the candidates was noted down. In 2007, I was the VP of Caretakers Services; I used to design questions for all sorts of interviews. Once the questions were designed, I used to circulate them to corresponding department to take their input and feedback. This way I used to test and check the questions that I was going to ask. Sometimes I used to take a mock interview of my subordinates so as to test if all the pre-interview steps are accomplished and to find out any loophole in the interview process.

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Establishing Rapport

Description of Concrete Experience

Establishing rapport is vital for both employer and employee. I still remember that in year 2002, I was the human resource manager at Dahar Chemical Company. I always used to hear from my superiors that at the time of interview, we, as interviewers, should also try to build rapport at the opening of any interview. As a best practice, I always used to introduce myself to candidates, if interview was conducted over phone or videoconference then I always used to ask if voice is clear or the time is suitable to talk. I used to start the interview in a light way like, how the day is so far or how is candidate feeling, the idea was to bring every candidate in his or her comfort zone so that a two way communication can be established. At the time of interview, I always told candidates that they are free to ask any question.

Reflections

I have observed that many organizations believe that rapport should be established with job seekers so that candidates can feel free at the time of interview. When I was at Dahar chemicals, together with my senior colleague, I were interviewing a candidate, the candidate proactively asked us why we as interviewers want to give a comfortable space to candidate. I still remember my senior who was of the opinion that candidates can deliver best in the interview only when they are comfortable and there exists a good relation between job seeker and interviewers.

Generalizations, Principles, & Theories

Many researchers and experts are of the opinion that rapport building is required to create a positive mind in the eyes of interviewer. Being an interviewer myself, I can say that rapport building is important stage that is a two way process and not only candidate but interviewers also try to build rapport with candidate. Human resource literature has thought us that rapport building is required in order to bring the candidate in comfort zone and it is essential that candidate should feel in comfort zone so that they can give their best input at the time of interview.

Testing and Application

I used to conduct the mock interview with my team members and the feedback was taken as learning experience. From this feedback, I get to know if my questions help in building rapport or not. I used to know about my mood and tone of the questions as reflected in the telephony or in person interview. When I was director of human resource, I used to instruct and train my team so that they can also get a feedback from candidate about each of the interview process. This always helped for the future interview.

Questioning

Description of Concrete Experience

In true sense questioning can includes the questions from every field, it can be personal questions to judge the confidence of the candidate or it can be the technical questions that can be asked to know the technical knowledge of the candidate. During the period of 2005 to 2007, I was working as a manager of human resource with The Home Depot, situated at Jacksonville. While taking interviews, I observed that managers should ask a mix of questions that should have both technical and non-technical questions.

Reflections

Questioning is an art and it is a science. From my experience, I have understood one thing that every interviewer should understand the basic science behind questioning and every interviewer should master the basic art behind questioning. With full time employment, since 2005, I am also working as an ad hoc consultant with Caretakers Services. I have been providing advisory services to these organizations in the field of human resource. I have always suggested the Caretakers Services that whenever their employees go for any interviewing they should always ask the pertinent questions, they should try to judge the basic personality of candidates by asking the right mix of questions.

Generalizations, Principles, & Theories

The theory of asking right mix of questions can be generalized over any interview for any industry. Every human resource manager knows that right questions at right time can deliver the results for any organization. My experience as human resource manager has thought me that questioning reduces and removes all sort of doubts. Relevant questions should be asked from the side of candidates also. My personal theory is that lots of candidates are shy and they do not ask much of the questions. I remember when I used to interview, employees sometimes are under the impression of fear or they are shy and they missed up asking questions, this kind of situations are awkward and being an interviewer, I used to encourage the candidates to ask more and more questions.

Testing and Application

As a matter of fact, it is never possible to test the relevance of questions. At Goodwill Industries Big Bend, I have created certain best policies to know the relevancy of questions. I have directed my team that after any candidate is selected and is the part of organization; he or she should be asked about the questions that were asked to him or her at the time of interview. I also used various techniques such as focus groups etc to know about the questions.

Other Forms of Data Gathering

Description of Concrete Experience

I strongly believe that interviews are probably the best way to gather the data and gauge about the personality of the candidate. Still, while I was working with Goodwill Industries, Big Bend as a VP and Director, I used to instruct my team that they should gather the data about the candidates before going into actual interview. Some of the data gathering methods that we use to adopt at Goodwill Industries Big Bend were questionnaires, surveys etc. Before going into any interview, we use to float a form to the candidates; they were asked to fill the form and based on the output of that form an initial perception of the candidates was created. I also used to perform the reference check on candidate to know about the candidate’s past records. Focus group was another method that I have used in my human resource career to gather the data. I also appreciate psychometric tests to gather information and to gauge into the personality of candidate. There have been situations when I have felt that some candidates are not comfortable giving psychometric tests; however, I believe that these tests, though difficult to held, can be really effective.

Reflections

Our rich literature has suggested a lot of method of data gathering. Data gathering is an ongoing process that starts well before the interview, continues at the time of interview and is followed after the interview also. I, along with my team, used to have in build templates inside the organizations and after the data is gathered we used to store the data in those templates. This way the compiled data was easy to use and information was inferred in a better way.

Generalizations, Principles, & Theories

Data gathering is a process that requires the involvement of both interviewer and interviewee. The responsibility to collect data in a right way lies on the organization and consequently, the responsibility to provide correct and up to date information lies on candidate. Being an interviewer and human resource professional, I know that there are lots of discrepancies that may arise when data is collected.

Testing and Application

Once the data is collected, it is required that data be validated and verified. In my professional career, I have worked with number of organizations, each time I go for an interview my employer runs a background check on me so as to verify if the data that I have provided is correct or not. The testing and application is done for the internal record of the organization and at the same time, it is made in order to be sure that candidates are not providing false information at the time of data collection. This may appear a complementary process; however, I know that this process of data gathering and verification supports the main function of entire interview process.

Controlling the Interview

Description of Concrete Experience

I understand that at certain point of time during interviews, candidates can drive their interview forward. From my personal experience, I have understood that interview is one such process that is very dynamic in nature. It is very difficult to decide the course of interview well in advance and this holds true for both interviewer and interviewee. Candidates can control their interview if they answer in the right direction. Candidates can answer questions in an open ended way by which interviewers are intrigued to ask the questions from the previous answer statement itself.

Reflections

It is imperative for managers to be able to control the interview. Before starting any interview, interviewers have a fixed agenda and they know that what is to be asked from each of the candidate. Still, a different CV of each candidate makes interview a dynamic process. For this reason, it is suggested that interviewers should do their groundwork before they start taking any interview. I believe that interview can be a controlled process if both interviewer and interviewee are well-prepared. The role and job description are known to each of the candidate and it is expected that each of the candidate should understand the job position so that interview can be conducted in a controlled environment.

Generalizations, Principles, & Theories

I believe that employee can control the interview to some level. With my professional experience, I have learned that there are two ways in which interview can move forward. The interview can be carried forward and it can be either an open-ended interview or close ended interview. It has been observed that when interviews are moving forward as an open-ended then candidate can control the interview in some respect. I understand that when I was the part of interview committee, we had set norms and some pre-defined questions that we used to ask. There were two type of questions, I always believe that some of the questions should be fixed that should be asked from every candidate and at the same time, there must exists certain flexible questions that should be asked based upon the CV and past experiences of employees.

Testing and Application

After the interview is completed, interviewer has the fair idea about the type of interview. Being on the interview panel for lot of time, I know when the interview can be termed as a controlled interview and when it cannot. There does not exist any great deal of testing that can be done to know about the controlled environment of the interview. I have learned that most of the times, it is the gut feeling and speculations with which the success or failure of any interview is judged.

Evaluation and Follow-Up

Description of Concrete Experience

I was a manager at VT Griffin and working with this organization, I realized that taking interviews is one part of the entire selection process; the second important part is the evaluation of test and interview process. I used to prepare a record for each of the candidates that had the cumulative scores of his written test and several interview rounds. The information gathered from the reference and background check was also added in this record. During post interviews, it is required that candidates are called and followed up. I used to call each of the candidates and ask if he or she is interested in the offer. Once the suitable candidate is found, I used to inform the corresponding department about the same.

Reflections

In my past experience, there have been cases when only one interview was not enough, there were times when follow up interviews were required. I believe organizations should do proper follow up with candidates. I have observed that organizations have lost good employees, just because there were no regular follow-ups. Subsequent discussion with candidates and follow up are also required when there has to be any salary discussions or negotiations, just to make the future discussions smooth, I used to attach all the letters, resume, reference check notes, and additional notes to the record of candidate. Each record was saved in the different file and these files were also used when any employees leave the organization and there is a vacancy.

Generalizations, Principles, & Theories

Being an HR manager, I can definitely generalize one thing that the goal of organizations is to get best employees and I strongly believe that any organization can get best employees if they are given good salary and at the same time, there must be the policies of evaluation and follow up. I remember that I used to incorporate certain measures when I was working as an HR executive; I used to keep a track of every interview that I have conducted. It does not matter if candidate is selected or rejected; the follow up should be done in a nice fashion. Organizations must have information about each of the candidate that they interview. The profile of the candidate should be maintained for the future references also; this might be possible that candidate is rejected at that particular time, because there is no suitable vacancy; however, in future he or she can be contacted. When I started my career, my seniors used to guide me that follow-ups are an integral part of interview process.

Testing and Application

It is correct that current way of doing business have changed. There was a time, when I was a human resource executive in 2002, when organizations used to be in demanding position and candidates did not have much say in the interview process. However, I believe that things have been changing recently, today when I conduct interview candidates may ask any question during the interview. Candidates have the right to turn down the offer and job seekers have become much more educated in term to their knowledge of organization’s functionality. Today, candidates also have a say in the evaluation and follow up procedures of the employees. As a human resource professional, I believe that we, people, the employees are the biggest asset of any organization and hence organizations strive to get the best people in the market place.

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