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The purpose of all interviews is to find the best person for the job. However, interviews can be conducted in different ways. Interviewing is a two-way process.
An individual interview is like an in-depth conversation. The interviewer may be the person who will be your supervisor. Hiring decisions are often made based on this type of interview. Count on discussing your skills, experience, training and how they all relate to the duties and opportunities of the job.
There will usually be time for you to ask questions. You must sell your: • skills; • interest; and • enthusiasm; • understanding of the job.
2. A panel interview is frequently used by government agencies and companies filling a professional or managerial position. Usually three or more people sit on the board, and all candidates are asked the same questions. A selection board interview usually involves more structured questions than an individual interview, and generally does not include a discussion of salary and benefits. The process can be stressful because you have to answer questions from several people. Be sure to make eye contact with everyone on the panel. When answering a question, it is especially important to make eye contact with the person who asked the question.
3. The phone interview is another strategy that some employers use. In this situation, the hiring manager or selection committee interviews job applicants over the telephone as a screening technique. Phone interviews are used to make a first round of cuts to the applicant pool. If the employers are interested in candidates they will then schedule face-to-face interviews. Remember, as soon as you pick up the telephone you are making an impression.
4. Stress interviews are another format that some employers, frequently law enforcement organizations, use to evaluate candidates. The interviewers’ job is to intimidate you. They want to find out how you handle stress. The rationale behind the tactic is that if you’re unable or unwilling to handle conditions of imposed stress, it’s unlikely you’ll have the ability to maintain your composure under conditions of real stress. In response to this tactic, it’s important that you don’t react defensively, but instead remain calm and respond appropriately.
5. The observational interview format may be used by an employer. In this format, the candidate is asked to demonstrate his/her abilities with some of the skills required for the position. This may include giving a demonstration of public speaking ability, answering telephone calls, or operating a piece of equipment while the interviewer observes your performance.
Most interviews break into four stages. The better you understand each stage, and what is expected of you, the better your chances of being selected.
1. Introductory Stage The interviewer forms an initial impression that can contribute to acceptance or rejection. The decision to hire is not made at this stage, but it begins here. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
2. Employer Questions The interviewer tries to determine how well your attitude and skills fit with the company image and work culture. The interviewer is trying to match your specific skills and abilities to the job.
3. Applicant Questions The interviewer is trying to determine your level of interest in the job and your degree of knowledge about the company. This is the time to clear up uncertainties.
4. Closing Stage The interviewer will draw the session to a close. If you are sure you want the job, make your intentions clear at this time. Following are some examples of how you may conclude an interview. As you read the examples, remember, assertive is okay, aggressive is not!
TAKE EMPLOYMENT TESTS
Some companies give employment tests as part of the interview process. The tests usually are related to aptitude, basic skills, or attention to detail. Usually they have been normed against people who work in similar positions and have taken the test.
The tests help the employer determine if you are likely to be a good fit with the company and the job. Usually your test scores will be in points that are added into a total rating score that is based on your resume, cover letter, references and your interview. Examples are: • Keyboarding • Work Samples • Physical Agility • Personality
The following is a set of suggestions to use as you take employment tests. Read and consider each suggestion.
1. Read and/or listen to directions carefully. 2. Take the tests seriously. 3. Try to relax while taking the test. 4. Skim the entire test before you start to be sure you know what it is about. 5. Read each question carefully and completely before you begin to answer it. 6. Ask if there is a penalty for guessing answers you are not certain about. In general, if there is a penalty, do not guess unless you can narrow the answer to one of two possible choices. 7. If the test is timed-and many are-ask how the test is being scored to know if accuracy or completion is more important. 8. Write your answers clearly. You cannot get credit for anything that is not readable. 9. Use your time wisely. Do not linger too long on any one question. If you do not know the answer, skip to the next item.
PHONE CALL FOR AN INTERVIEW (CHECKLIST)
Remember, this is your first chance to make a good impression. Your interview begins here. When you receive a call for an interview, be sure to find out the following information.
Position you are interviewing for:
Name and title of person conducting the interview:
Where and when to report:
Anything special to bring to the interview:
Who is calling:
Position of caller:
Return phone number:
INTERPRET BODY LANGUAGE
In a job interview, the interviewer will judge you on how you look and how you act, not just on what you say. Your actions, manner, and appearance add up to your body language. They give nonverbal information about your work-related skills, attitudes, and values. In fact, often nonverbal cues are just as important as verbal information in determining who gets hired. After all, everyone the company interviews will probably be qualified for the job. You want to appear to be more qualified than everyone else. Below are a number of critical nonverbal issues. Familiarize yourself with the positive actions and appearances and use each to your best advantage.
1. Dress for success by following the preceding guidelines. The way you look is the first nonverbal message you send.
2. Offer a firm, warm, whole-hand handshake. Shake hands with both men and women the same way. You wouldn’t give men and women different salutes, so don’t shake hands differently. Practice your handshake before the interview.
3. Make eye contact with the interviewer(s). Your eyes are your most powerful communication tool. Many interviewers use your eye contact to look for enthusiasm, sincerity, and for possible inconsistencies in your responses. If you use natural eye contact, the interview will become more like a conversation between acquaintances, and you will get over some of your nervousness.
4. Sit up straight, but not stiff, and lean forward toward the interviewer, ever-soslightly. Good posture will help you listen and make you look interested.
5. Use natural gestures. If you normally use your hands to gesture as you talk, do so in the interview. Gestures help you relax, convey enthusiasm and release nervous energy. One caution here: Avoid nervous gestures such as drumming your fingers, playing with a pencil or cup of coffee, jingling the change in your pocket, tapping your foot, swiveling in your chair, etc.
6. Speak clearly, and not too fast. Expression is a powerful way to show enthusiasm. Do not speak in a monotone voice. Allow your volume to rise and fall and pronounce words clearly. Use good grammar and think before you speak. The interviewer will assess your communication skills based on how clearly you express yourself.
7. Your face conveys your attitude, and reinforces what you say. Avoid frowning. Frowns are an intimidation factor-you don’t want to intimidate the interviewer. Smile naturally.