Applying for job, job interviews

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Applying for job, job interviews

Applying for job, job interviews

  1. Strategies

  2. Process

  3. Types

A job interview is an interview consisting of a conversation between a job applicant and a representative of an employer which is conducted to assess whether the applicant should be hired. Interviews are one of the most popularly used devices for employee selection. Interviews vary in the extent to which the questions are structured, from a totally unstructured and free-wheeling conversation to a structured interview in which an applicant is asked a predetermined list of questions in a specified order; structured interviews are usually more accurate predictors of which applicants will make suitable employees, according to research studies.

A job interview typically precedes the hiring decision. The interview is usually preceded by the evaluation of submitted résumés from interested candidates, possibly by examining job applications or reading many resumes. Next, after this screening, a small number of candidates for interviews is selected.
Potential job interview opportunities also include networking events and career fairs. The job interview is considered one of the most useful tools for evaluating potential employees. It also demands significant resources from the employer, yet has been demonstrated to be notoriously unreliable in identifying the optimal person for the job. An interview also allows the candidate to assess the corporate culture and needs of the job.
Multiple rounds of job interviews and/or other candidate selection methods may be used where there are many candidates or the job is particularly challenging or desirable. Earlier rounds sometimes called 'screening interviews' may involve less staff from the employers and will typically be much shorter and less in-depth. An increasingly common initial interview approach is the telephone interview. This is especially common when the candidates do not live near the employer and has the advantage of keeping costs low for both sides. Since 2003, interviews have been held through video conferencing software, such as Skype. Once all candidates have been interviewed, the employer typically selects the most desirable candidate(s) and begins the negotiation of a job offer.


Researchers have attempted to identify interview strategies or "constructs" that can help interviewers choose the best candidate. Research suggests that interviews capture a wide variety of applicant attributes. Constructs can be classified into three categories: job-relevant content, interviewer performance (behavior unrelated to the job but which influences the evaluation), and job-irrelevant interviewer biases.

Job-relevant interview content: Interview questions are generally designed to tap applicant attributes that are specifically relevant to the job for which the person is applying. The job-relevant applicant attributes that the questions purportedly assess are thought to be necessary for successful performance on the job. The job-relevant constructs that have been assessed in the interview can be classified into three categories: general traits, experiential factors, and core job elements. The first category refers to relatively stable applicant traits. The second category refers to job knowledge that the applicant has acquired over time. The third category refers to the knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with the job.

General traits:

Mental ability: Applicants' capacity to listen, to communicate, to work with a team, to have attention to detail, and to learn and process information,

Personality: Conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability, extroversion, openness to new experiences
Interest, goals, and values: Applicant motives, goals, and person-organization fit
Experiential factors:

Experience: Job-relevant knowledge derived from prior experience

Education: Job-relevant knowledge derived from prior education
Training: Job-relevant knowledge derived from prior training
Core job elements:

Declarative knowledge: Applicants' learned knowledge

Procedural skills and abilities: Applicants' ability to complete the tasks required to do the job
Motivation: Applicants' willingness to exert the effort required to do the job
Interviewee performance Interviewer evaluations of applicant responses also tend to be colored by how an applicant behaves in the interview. These behaviors may not be directly related to the constructs the interview questions were designed to assess, but can be related to aspects of the job for which they are applying. Applicants without realizing it may engage in a number of behaviors that influence ratings of their performance. The applicant may have acquired these behaviors during training or from previous interview experience. These interviewee performance constructs can also be classified into three categories: social effectiveness skills, interpersonal presentation, and personal/contextual factors.

Social effectiveness skills:

Impression management: Applicants' attempt to make sure the interviewer forms a positive impression of them

Social skills: Applicants' ability to adapt his/her behavior according to the demands of the situation to positively influence the interviewer
Self-monitoring: Applicants' regulation of behaviors to control the image presented to the interviewer
Relational control: Applicants' attempt to control the flow of the conversation
Interpersonal presentation:

Verbal expression: Pitch, rate, pauses, tone

Nonverbal behavior: Gaze, smile, hand movement, body orientation
Personal/contextual factors:

Interview training: Coaching, mock interviews with feedback

Interview experience: Number of prior interviews
Interview self-efficacy: Applicants' perceived ability to do well in the interview
Interview motivation: Applicants' motivation to succeed in an interview
Job-irrelevant interviewer biases The following are personal and demographic characteristics that can potentially influence interviewer evaluations of interviewee responses. These factors are typically not relevant to whether the individual can do the job (that is, not related to job performance), thus, their influence on interview ratings should be minimized or excluded. In fact, there are laws in many countries that prohibit consideration of many of these protected classes of people when making selection decisions. Using structured interviews with multiple interviewers coupled with training may help reduce the effect of the following characteristics on interview ratings. The list of job-irrelevant interviewer biases is presented below.

Attractiveness: Applicant physical attractiveness can influence the interviewer's evaluation of one's interview performance

Race: Whites tend to score higher than Blacks and Hispanics; racial similarity between interviewer and applicant, on the other hand, has not been found to influence interview ratings
Gender: Females tend to receive slightly higher interview scores than their male counterparts; gender similarity does not seem to influence interview ratings
Similarities in background and attitudes: Interviewers perceived interpersonal attraction was found to influence interview ratings
Culture: Applicants with an ethnic name and a foreign accent were viewed less favorably than applicants with just an ethnic name and no accent or an applicant with a traditional name with or without an accent
The extent to which ratings of interviewee performance reflect certain constructs varies widely depending on the level of structure of the interview, the kind of questions asked, interviewer or applicant biases, applicant professional dress or nonverbal behavior, and a host of other factors. For example, some research suggests that an applicant's cognitive ability, education, training, and work experiences may be better captured in unstructured interviews, whereas an applicant's job knowledge, organizational fit, interpersonal skills, and applied knowledge may be better captured in a structured interview.

Further, interviews are typically designed to assess a number of constructs. Given the social nature of the interview, applicant responses to interview questions and interviewer evaluations of those responses are sometimes influenced by constructs beyond those the questions were intended to assess, making it extremely difficult to tease out the specific constructs measured during the interview. Reducing the number of constructs the interview is intended to assess may help mitigate this issue. Moreover, of practical importance is whether the interview is a better measure of some constructs in comparison to paper and pencil tests of the same constructs. Indeed, certain constructs (mental ability and skills, experience) may be better measured with paper and pencil tests than during the interview, whereas personality-related constructs seem to be better measured during the interview in comparison to paper and pencil tests of the same personality constructs. In sum, the following is recommended: Interviews should be developed to assess the job-relevant constructs identified in the job analysis.


Person-environment fit
Person-environment fit is often measured by organizations when hiring new employees. There are many types of Person-environment fit with the two most relevant for interviews being Person-job and Person-organization fit. Interviewers usually emphasize Person-job fit and ask twice as many questions about Person-job fit compared to Person-organization fit. Interviewers are more likely to give applicants with a good Person-job fit a hiring recommendation compared to an applicant with good a Person-organization fit.

An applicant's knowledge, skills, abilities, and other attributes (KSAOs) are the most commonly measured variables when interviewers assess Person-job fit. In one survey, all interviewers reported that their organization measures KSAOs to determine Person-job fit. The same study found that all interviewers used personality traits and 65% of the interviewers used personal values to measure Person-organization fit.

Despite fit being a concern among organizations, how to determine fit and the types of questions to use varies. When interview fit questions were examined, only 4% of the questions used in interviews were similar across the majority of organizations. 22% of questions were commonly used by recruiters in some organizations. In contrast, 74% of the questions had no commonality between organizations. Although the idea of fit is similar in many organizations, the questions used and how that information is judged may be very different.

Person-job fit and Person-organization fit have different levels of importance at different stages of a multi-stage interview proves. Despite this, Person-job fit is considered of the highest importance throughout the entire process. Organizations focus more on job-related skills early on to screen out potentially unqualified candidates. Thus, more questions are devoted to Person-job fit during the initial interview stages. Once applicants have passed the initial stages, more questions are used for Person-organization fit in the final interview stages. Although there is more focus on Person-organization fit in these later stages, Person-job fit is still considered to be of greater importance.

In a single-stage interview, both fits are assessed during a single interview. Interviewers still put more weight on Person-job fit questions over the Person-organization questions in these situations as well. Again, Person-job fit questions are used to screen out and reduce the number of applicants.

Potential applicants also use job interviews to assess their fit within an organization. This can determine if an applicant will take a job offer when one is offered. When applicants assess their fit with an organization the experience they have during the job interview is the most influential.

Applicants felt that they had the highest fit with an organization when they could add information not covered during the interview that they wanted to share. Applicants also liked when they could ask questions about the organization. They also when they could ask follow-up questions to ensure they answered the interviewer's questions to the level the interviewer wanted. Interviewer behaviors that encourage fit perceptions in applicants include complimenting applicants on their resumes and thanking them for traveling to the interview. Applicants like interviewer giving contact information if follow-up information is needed, making eye contact, and asking if the applicant was comfortable.

The Interviewer can discourage fit perceptions by how they act during an interview as well. the biggest negative behavior for applicants was the interviewer not knowing information about their organization. Without information about the organization, applicants cannot judge how well they fit. Another negative behavior is not knowing applicants’ background information during the interview. Interviewers can also hurt fit perception by being inattentive during the interview and not greeting the applicant.

There are some issues with fit perceptions in interviews. Applicants’ Person-organization fit scores can be altered by the amount of ingratiation done by the applicants. Interviewers skew their Person-organization fit scores the more ingratiation applicants do during an interview. Applicants emphasizing similarities between them and their interviewers leads to higher Person-organization fit perceptions by the interviewers. This higher perception of fit leads to a greater likelihood of the candidate being hired.


People waiting to be interviewed at an employment agency
One way to think about the interview process is as three separate, albeit related, phases: (1) the pre-interview phase which occurs before the interviewer and candidate meet, (2) the interview phase where the interview is conducted, and (3) the post-interview phase where the interviewer forms judgments of candidate qualifications and makes final decisions. Although separate, these three phases are related. That is, impressions interviewers form early on may affect how they view the person in a later phase.

Pre-interview phase: The pre-interview phase encompasses the information available to the interviewer beforehand (e.g., resumes, test scores, social networking site information) and the perceptions interviewers form about applicants from this information prior to the actual face-to-face interaction between the two individuals. In this phase, interviewers are likely to already have ideas about the characteristics that would make a person ideal or qualified for the position. Interviewers also have information about the applicant usually in the form of a resume, test scores, or prior contacts with the applicant. Interviewers then often integrate information that they have on an applicant with their ideas about the ideal employee to form a pre-interview evaluation of the candidate. In this way, interviewers typically have an impression even before the actual face-to-face interview interaction. Nowadays with recent technological advancements, interviewers have an even larger amount of information available on some candidates. For example, interviewers can obtain information from search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo), blogs, and even social networks (e.g. Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter). While some of this information may be job-related, some of it may not be. In some cases, a review of Facebook may reveal undesirable behaviors such as drunkenness or drug use. Despite the relevance of the information, any information interviewers obtain about the applicant before the interview is likely to influence their impression of the candidate. Furthermore, researchers have found that what interviewers think about the applicant before the interview (pre-interview phase) is related to how they evaluate the candidate after the interview, despite how the candidate may have performed during the interview.

Interview phase: The interview phase entails the actual conduct of the interview, the interaction between the interviewer and the applicant. Initial interviewer impressions about the applicant before the interview may influence the amount of time an interviewer spends in the interview with the applicant, the interviewer's behavior and questioning of the applicant, and the interviewer's post-interview evaluations. Pre-interview impressions also can affect what the interviewer notices about the interviewee, recalls from the interview, and how an interviewer interprets what the applicant says and does in the interview.

As interviews are typically conducted face-to-face, over the phone, or through video conferencing (e.g. Skype), they are a social interaction between at least two individuals. Thus, the behavior of the interviewer during the interview likely "leaks" information to the interviewee. That is, you can sometimes tell during the interview whether the interviewer thinks positively or negatively about you. Knowing this information can actually affect how the applicant behaves, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy effect. For example, interviewees who feel the interviewer does not think they are qualified may be more anxious and feel they need to prove they are qualified. Such anxiety may hamper how well they actually perform and present themselves during the interview, fulfilling the original thoughts of the interviewer. Alternatively, interviewees who perceive an interviewer believes they are qualified for the job may feel more at ease and comfortable during the exchange, and consequently, actually perform better in the interview. Because of the dynamic nature of the interview, the interaction between the behaviors and thoughts of both parties is a continuous process whereby information is processed and informs subsequent behavior, thoughts, and evaluations.

Post-interview phase: After the interview is conducted, the interviewer must form an evaluation of the interviewee's qualifications for the position. The interviewer most likely takes into consideration all the information, even from the pre-interview phase, and integrates it to form a post-interview evaluation of the applicant. In the final stage of the interview process, the interviewer uses his/her evaluation of the candidate (i.e., in the interview form ratings or judgment) to make a final decision. Sometimes other selection tools (e.g., work samples, cognitive ability tests, personality tests) are used in combination with the interview to make final hiring decisions; however, interviews remain the most commonly used selection device in North America.

For interviewees: Although the description of the interview process above focuses on the perspective of the interviewer, job applicants also gather information on the job and/or organization and form impressions prior to the interview. The interview is a two-way exchange and applicants are also making decisions about whether the company is a good fit for them. Essentially, the process model illustrates that the interview is not an isolated interaction, but rather a complex process that begins with two parties forming judgments and gathering information, and ends with a final interviewer decision.

There are many types of interviews that organizations can conduct. What is the same across all interview types, however, is the idea of interview structure. How much an interview is structured, or developed and conducted the same way across all applicants, depends on the number of certain elements included in that interview. Overall, the interview can be standardized both with regard to the content (i.e., what questions are asked) and to the evaluative process (i.e., how the applicants’ responses to the questions are scored). When an interview is standardized, it increases the likelihood that an interviewee's ratings are due to the quality of his/her responses instead of non-job-related and often distracting factors, such as appearance. Interview structure is more appropriately thought to be on a continuum, ranging from completely unstructured to fully structured. However, the structure is often treated as having only two categories (that is, structured vs. unstructured), which many researchers believe to be too simple of an approach.


The unstructured interview, or one that does not include a good number of standardization elements, is the most common interview form today. Unstructured interviews are typically seen as free-flowing; the interviewer can swap out or change questions as he/she feels is best, and different interviewers may not rate or score applicant responses in the same way. There are also no directions put in place regarding how the interviewer and the interviewee should interact before, during, or after the interview. Unstructured interviews essentially allow the interviewer to conduct the interview however he or she thinks is best.

Given unstructured interviews can change based on who the interviewer might be, it is not surprising that unstructured interviews are typically preferred by interviewers. Interviewers tend to develop confidence in their ability to accurately rate interviewees, detect whether applicants are faking their answers, and trust their judgment about whether the person is a good candidate for the job. Unstructured interviews allow interviewers to do so more freely. Research suggests, however, that unstructured interviews are actually highly unreliable, or inconsistent between interviews. That means that two interviewers who conduct an interview with the same person may not agree and see the candidate the same way even if they were in the same interview with that applicant. Often interviewers who conduct unstructured interviews fail to identify the high-quality candidates for the job. See the section on interview structure issues for a more in-depth discussion.


Interview structure is the degree to which interviews are identical and conducted the same across applicants. Also known as guided, systematic, or patterned interviews, structured interviews aim to make both the content (the information addressed as well as the administration of the interaction) and the evaluation (how the applicant is scored) the same no matter for every interviewed applicant. Specifically, researchers commonly address 15 elements that can be used to make the interview's content and evaluation process similar. An interview's degree of structure is often thought of as the extent to which these elements are included when conducting interviews.

Content structure:

Ensure questions are relevant to the job, as indicated by a job analysis

Ask the same questions of all interviewees
Limit prompting, or follow up questions, that interviewers may ask
Ask better questions, such as behavioral description questions
Have a longer interview
Control ancillary information available to the interviewees, such as resumes
Do not allow questions from applicants during the interview
Evaluation structure:

Rate each answer rather than making an overall evaluation at the end of the interview

Use anchored rating scales (for an example, see BARS)
Have the interviewer take detailed notes
Have more than one interviewer view each applicant (i.e. have panel interviews)
Have the same interviewers rate each applicant
Do not allow any discussion about the applicants between interviewers
Train the interviewers
Use statistical procedures to create an overall interview score
Multiple research studies have shown that using these elements to design the interview increases the interview's ability to identify high-performing individuals. As mentioned, the structure of an interview is on a scale that ranges from unstructured to structured, but it remains unclear which or how many structure elements must be included before the interview can be considered ‘structured.’ Some researchers argue that including at least some, but not all, elements into the interview should be considered “semi-structured.” Others have attempted to create levels of structure, such as Huffcutt, Culbertson, and Weyhrauch's four levels of structure, which point to varying degrees of standardization in each level. Despite being difficult to say exactly what a structured interview is, structured interviews are widely seen as more preferred over unstructured interviews by organizations if an accurate and consistent measure of an applicant is desired.

Types of questions

Regardless of the interview structure, there are several types of questions interviewers ask applicants. Two major types that are used frequently and that have extensive empirical support are situational questions and behavioral questions (also known as patterned behavioral description interviews). Best practices include basing both types of questions on "critical incidents" that are required to perform the job but they differ in their focus (see below for descriptions). Critical incidents are relevant tasks that are required for the job and can be collected through interviews or surveys with current employees, managers, or subject matter experts. One of the first critical incidents techniques ever used in the United States Army asked combat veterans to report specific incidents of effective or ineffective behavior of a leader. The question posed to veterans was "Describe the officer's actions. What did he do?" Their responses were compiled to create a factual definition or "critical requirements" of what an effective combat leader is.

Previous research has found mixed results regarding whether behavioral or situational questions will best predict the future job performance of an applicant. It is likely that variables unique to each situation, such as the specific criteria being examined, the applicant's work experience, or the interviewee's nonverbal behavior make a difference with regard to which question type is the best. It is recommended to incorporate both situational and behavioral questions into the interview to get the best of both question types. The use of high-quality questions represents an element of structure and is essential to ensure that candidates provide meaningful responses reflective of their capability to perform on the job.

Situational interview questions

Situational interview questions ask job applicants to imagine a set of circumstances and then indicate how they would respond in that situation; hence, the questions are future-oriented. One advantage of situational questions is that all interviewees respond to the same hypothetical situation rather than describe experiences unique to them from their past. Another advantage is that situational questions allow respondents who have had no direct job experience relevant to a particular question to provide a hypothetical response. Two core aspects of the SI are the development of situational dilemmas that employees encounter on the job, and a scoring guide to evaluate responses to each dilemma.

Behavioral interview questions

Behavioral (experience-based or patterned behavioral) interviews are past-oriented in that they ask respondents to relate what they did in past jobs or life situations that are relevant to the particular job-relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success. The idea is that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance in similar situations. By asking questions about how job applicants have handled situations in the past that are similar to those they will face on the job, employers can gauge how they might perform in future situations.

Behavioral interview questions include:

Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.

Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
Give me an example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
Examples include the STAR and SOARA techniques.

Other types of questions

Other possible types of questions that may be asked alongside structured interview questions or in a separate interview include background questions, job knowledge questions, and puzzle-type questions. A brief explanation of each follows.

Background questions include a focus on work experience, education, and other qualifications. For instance, an interviewer may ask "What experience have you had with direct sales phone calls?" Interviews composed primarily of these types of questions are often labeled "conventional interviews".

Job knowledge questions may ask candidates to describe or demonstrate knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) relevant to the job. These are typically highly specific questions. For example, one question may be "What steps would you take to conduct a manager training session on safety?"
The puzzle interview was popularized by Microsoft in the 1990s and is now used in other organizations. The most common types of questions either ask the applicant to solve puzzles or brain teasers (e.g., "Why are manhole covers round?") or to solve unusual problems (e.g., "How would you weigh an airplane without a scale?").
Specialized formats
Further information: Case interview
A case interview is an interview form used mostly by management consulting firms and investment banks in which the job applicant is given a question, situation, problem or challenge and asked to resolve the situation. The case problem is often a business situation or a business case that the interviewer has worked on in real life.

In recent years, companies in other sectors like Design, Architecture, Marketing, Advertising, Finance, and Strategy have adopted a similar approach to interviewing candidates. Technology has transformed the Case-based and Technical interview process from a purely private in-person experience to an online exchange of job skills and endorsements.

Another type of job interview found throughout the professional and academic ranks is the panel interview. In this type of interview, the candidate is interviewed by a group of panelists representing the various stakeholders in the hiring process. Within this format there are several approaches to conducting the interview. Example formats include;

Presentation format – The candidate is given a generic topic and asked to make a presentation to the panel. Often used in academic or sales-related interviews.

Role format – Each panelist is tasked with asking questions related to a specific role of the position. For example, one panelist may ask technical questions, another may ask management questions, another may ask customer service-related questions etc.
Skeet shoot format – The candidate is given questions from a series of panelists in rapid succession to test his or her ability to handle stress filled situations.
The benefits of the panel approach to interviewing include time savings over serial interviewing, more focused interviews as there is often less time spent building rapport with small talk, and an "apples to apples" comparison because each stakeholder/interviewer/panelist gets to hear the answers to the same questions.

In the group interview, multiple applicants are interviewed at one time by one or more interviewers. This type of interview can be used for selection, promotion, or assessment of team skills. Interviewers may also use a group interview to assess an applicant's stress management skills or assertiveness because in such a group setting the applicant will be surrounded by other applicants who also want to get the job. Group interviews can be less costly than one-on-one or panel interviews, especially when many applicants need to be interviewed in a short amount of time. In addition, because fewer interviewers are needed, fewer interviewers need to be trained. These positive qualities of the group interview have made them more popular.

Despite the potential benefits to the group interview, there are problems with this interview format. In group interviews, the interviewer has to multitask more than when interviewing one applicant at a time. Interviewers in one-on-one interviews are already busy doing many things. These include attending to what applicants are saying and how they are acting, taking notes, rating applicant responses to questions, and managing what they say and how they act. Interviewing more than one applicant at a time makes it more challenging for the interviewer. This can negatively affect that interviewer and his/her job as an interviewer. Another problem with group interviews is that applicants who get questioned later in the interview have more of a chance to think about how to answer the questions already asked by the interviewer. This can give applicants questioned later in the interview an advantage over the earlier-questioned applicants. These problems can make it less likely for group interviews to accurately predict who will perform well on the job.

Group interviews have not been studied as much as one-on-one interviews, but the research that has been done suggests that in the field of education group interviews can be an effective method of selection. For example, a 2016 study found that applicants for teaching jobs thought that the group interview was fair. A 2006 study found conflicting findings. These include that applicants in a group interview who were questioned later in the interview gave more complete and higher quality responses and that group interviews were seen as not fair. They also found that group interviews were not as effective as one-on-one interviews. Further research needs to be conducted to more extensively evaluate the group interview's usefulness for various purposes. This research needs to be done across various domains outside of the education sector. Research also needs to clarify conflicting findings by determining in which situations study results can be applied.

Stress interviews are still in common use. One type of stress interview is where the employer uses a succession of interviewers (one at a time or en masse) whose mission is to intimidate the candidate and keep him/her off-balance. The ostensible purpose of this interview is to find out how the candidate handles stress. Stress interviews might involve testing an applicant's behavior in a busy environment. Questions about handling work overload, dealing with multiple projects, and handling conflict are typical.

Another type of stress interview may involve only a single interviewer who behaves in an uninterested or hostile manner. For example, the interviewer may not make eye contact, may roll his eyes or sigh at the candidate's answers, interrupt, turn his back, take phone calls during the interview, or ask questions in a demeaning or challenging style. The goal is to assess how the interviewee handles pressure or to purposely evoke emotional responses. This technique was also used in research protocols studying stress and type A (coronary-prone) behavior because it would evoke hostility and even changes in blood pressure and heart rate in study subjects. The key to success for the candidate is to de-personalize the process. The interviewer is acting a role, deliberately and calculatedly trying to "rattle the cage". Once the candidate realizes that there is nothing personal behind the interviewer's approach, it is easier to handle the questions with aplomb.

Example stress interview questions:

Sticky situation: "If you caught a colleague cheating on his expenses, what would you do?"

Putting one on the spot: "How do you feel this interview is going?"
"Popping the balloon": (deep sigh) "Well, if that's the best answer you can give ... " (shakes head) "Okay, what about this one ...?"
Oddball question: "What would you change about the design of the hockey stick?"
Doubting one's veracity: "I don't feel like we're getting to the heart of the matter here. Start again – tell me what really makes you tick."
Candidates may also be asked to deliver a presentation as part of the selection process. One stress technique is to tell the applicant that they have 20 minutes to prepare a presentation, and then come back to the room five minutes later and demand that the presentation be given immediately. The "Platform Test" method involves having the candidate make a presentation to both the selection panel and other candidates for the same job. This is obviously highly stressful and is therefore useful as a predictor of how the candidate will perform under similar circumstances on the job. Selection processes in academic, training, airline, legal, and teaching circles frequently involve presentations of this sort.


Further information: Coding interview
This kind of interview focuses on problem solving and creativity. The questions aim at the interviewee's problem-solving skills and likely show their ability in solving the challenges faced in the job through creativity. Technical interviews are being conducted online at progressive companies before in-person talks as a way to screen job applicants.

Technology in interviews

Advancements in technology along with increased usage have led to interviews becoming more common through a telephone interview and through videoconferencing than face-to-face. Companies utilize technology in interviews due to its cheap costs, time-saving benefits, and their ease of use.

Also, technology enables a company to recruit more applicants from further away. Although they are being utilized more, it is still not fully understood how technology may affect how well interviewers select the best person for the job when compared to in-person interviews.

Media richness theory states that more detailed forms of communication will be able to better convey complex information. The ability to convey this complexity allows more media-rich forms of communication to better handle uncertainty (like what can occur in an interview) than shallower and less detailed communication mediums. Thus, in the job interview context, a face-to-face interview would be more media-rich than a video interview due to the amount of data that can be more easily communicated. Verbal and nonverbal cues are read more in the moment and in relation to what else is happening in the interview. A video interview may have a lag between the two participants. Poor latency can influence the understanding of verbal and nonverbal behaviors, as small differences in the timing of behaviors can change their perception. Likewise, behaviors such as eye contact may not work as well. A video interview would be more media-rich than a telephone interview due to the inclusion of both visual and audio data. Thus, in a more media-rich interview, interviewers have more ways to gather, remember, and interpret the data they gain about the applicants.

So are these new types of technology interviews better? Research on different interview methods has examined this question using media richness theory. According to the theory, interviews with more richness are expected to result in a better outcome. In general, studies have found results are consistent with media richness theory. Applicants’ interview scores and hiring ratings have been found to be worse in phone and video interviews than in face-to-face interviews. Applicants are also seen as less likable and were less likely to be endorsed for jobs in interviews using video. Applicants have had a say too. They think that interviews using technology are less fair and less job-related. From the interviewers’ view, there are difficulties for the interviewer as well. Interviewers are seen as less friendly in video interviews. Furthermore, applicants are more likely to accept a job after a face-to-face interview than after a telephone or video interview. Due to these findings, companies should weigh the costs and benefits of using technology over face-to-face interviews when deciding on selection methods.

Interviewee strategies and behaviors

While preparing for an interview, prospective employees usually look at what the job posting or job description says in order to get a better understanding of what is expected of them should they get hired. Exceptionally good interviewees look at the wants and needs of a job posting and show off how good they are at those abilities during the interview to impress the interviewer and increase their chances of getting a job.

Researching the company itself is also a good way for interviewees to impress lots of people during an interview. It shows the interviewer that the interviewee is not only knowledgeable about the company's goals and objectives, but also that the interviewee has done their homework and that they make a great effort when they are given an assignment. Researching about the company makes sure that employees are not entirely clueless about the company they are applying for, and at the end of the interview, the interviewee might ask some questions to the interviewer about the company, either to learn more information or to clarify some points that they might have found during their research. In any case, it impresses the interviewer and it shows that the interviewee is willing to learn more about the company.

Most interviewees also find that practicing answering the most common questions asked in interviews helps them prepare for the real one. It minimizes the chance of their being caught off-guard regarding certain questions, prepares their minds to convey the right information in the hopes of impressing the interviewer, and also makes sure that they do not accidentally say something that might not be suitable in an interview situation.

Interviewees are generally dressed properly in business attire for the interview, so as to look professional in the eyes of the interviewer. They also bring their résumé, cover letter, and references to the interview to supply the interviewer the information they need, and to also cover them in case they forgot to bring any of the papers. Items like cell phones, a cup of coffee, and chewing gum are not recommended to bring to an interview, as it can lead to the interviewer perceiving the interviewee as unprofessional and in some cases, even rude.

Above all, interviewees should be confident and courteous to the interviewer, as they are taking their time off work to participate in the interview. An interview is often the first time an interviewer looks at the interviewee firsthand, so it is important to make a good first impression.

Nonverbal behaviors

It may not only be what you say in an interview that matters, but also how you say it (e.g., how fast you speak) and how you behave during the interview (e.g., hand gestures, eye contact). In other words, although applicants’ responses to interview questions influence interview ratings, their nonverbal behaviors may also affect interviewer judgments. Nonverbal behaviors can be divided into two main categories: vocal cues (e.g., articulation, pitch, fluency, frequency of pauses, speed, etc.) and visual cues (e.g., smiling, eye contact, body orientation and lean, hand movement, posture, etc.). Oftentimes physical attractiveness is included as part of nonverbal behavior as well. There is some debate about how large a role nonverbal behaviors may play in the interview. Some researchers maintain that nonverbal behaviors affect interview ratings a great deal, while others have found that they have a relatively small impact on interview outcomes, especially when considered with applicant qualifications presented in résumés. The relationship between nonverbal behavior and interview outcomes is also stronger in structured interviews than in unstructured interviews, and stronger when interviewees’ answers are of high quality.

Applicants’ nonverbal behaviors may sway interview ratings through the inferences interviewers make about the applicant based on their behavior. For instance, applicants who engage in positive nonverbal behaviors such as smiling and leaning forward are perceived as more likable, trustworthy, credible, warmer, successful, qualified, motivated, competent, and socially skilled. These applicants are also predicted to be better accepted and more satisfied with the organization if hired.

Applicants’ verbal responses and their nonverbal behavior may convey some of the same information about the applicant. However, despite any shared information between content and nonverbal behavior, it is clear that nonverbal behaviors do predict interview ratings to an extent beyond the content of what was said, and thus it is essential that applicants and interviewers alike are aware of their impact. You may want to be careful of what you may be communicating through the nonverbal behaviors you display.

Physical attractiveness

To hire the best applicants for the job, interviewers form judgments, sometimes using applicants’ physical attractiveness. That is, physical attractiveness is usually not necessarily related to how well one can do the job, yet has been found to influence interviewer evaluations and judgments about how suitable an applicant is for the job. Once individuals are categorized as attractive or unattractive, interviewers may have expectations about physically attractive and physically unattractive individuals and then judge applicants based on how well they fit those expectations. As a result, it typically turns out that interviewers will judge attractive individuals more favorably on job-related factors than they judge unattractive individuals. People generally agree on who is and who is not attractive and attractive individuals are judged and treated more positively than unattractive individuals. For example, people who think another is physically attractive tend to have positive initial impressions of that person (even before formally meeting them), perceive the person to be smart, socially competent, and have good social skills and general mental health.

Within the business domain, physically attractive individuals have been shown to have an advantage over unattractive individuals in numerous ways, that include, but are not limited to, perceived job qualifications, hiring recommendations, predicted job success, and compensation levels. As noted by several researchers, attractiveness may not be the most influential determinant of personnel decisions but may be a deciding factor when applicants possess similar levels of qualifications. In addition, attractiveness does not provide an advantage if the applicants in the pool are of high quality, but it does provide an advantage in increased hiring rates and more positive job-related outcomes for attractive individuals when applicant quality is low and average.

Vocal Attractiveness Just as physical attractiveness is a visual cue, vocal attractiveness is an auditory cue and can lead to differing interviewer evaluations in the interview as well. Vocal attractiveness, defined as an appealing mix of speech rate, loudness, pitch, and variability, has been found to be favorably related to interview ratings and job performance. In addition, the personality traits of agreeableness and conscientiousness predict performance more strongly for people with more attractive voices compared to those with less attractive voices.

As important as it is to understand how physical attractiveness can influence the judgments, behaviors, and final decisions of interviewers, finding ways to decrease potential bias in the job interview is equally important. Conducting structured interview with elements is one possible way to decrease bias.

An abundance of information is available to instruct interviewees on strategies for improving their performance in a job interview. Information used by interviewees comes from a variety of sources ranging from popular how-to books to formal coaching programs, sometimes even provided by the hiring organization. Within the more formal coaching programs, there are two general types of coaching. One type of coaching is designed to teach interviewees how to perform better in the interview by focusing on how to behave and present themselves. This type of coaching is focused on improving aspects of the interview that are not necessarily related to the specific elements of performing the job tasks. This type of coaching could include how to dress, how to display nonverbal behaviors (head nods, smiling, eye contact), verbal cues (how fast to speak, speech volume, articulation, pitch), and impression management tactics. Another type of coaching is designed to focus interviewees on the content specifically relevant to describing one's qualifications for the job, in order to help improve their answers to interview questions. This coaching, therefore, focuses on improving the interviewee's understanding of the skills, abilities, and traits the interviewer is attempting to assess, and responding with relevant experience that demonstrates these skills. For example, this type of coaching might teach an interviewee to use the STAR approach for answering behavioral interview questions.

A coaching program might include several sections focusing on various aspects of the interview. It could include a section designed to introduce interviewees to the interview process, and explain how this process works (e.g., administration of interview, interview day logistics, different types of interviews, advantages of structured interviews). It could also include a section designed to provide feedback to help the interviewee to improve their performance in the interview, as well as a section involving practice answering example interview questions. An additional section providing general interview tips about how to behave and present oneself could also be included.

It is useful to consider coaching in the context of the competing goals of the interviewer and interviewee. The interviewee's goal is typically to perform well (i.e. obtain high interview ratings), in order to get hired. On the other hand, the interviewer's goal is to obtain job-relevant information, in order to determine whether the applicant has the skills, abilities, and traits believed by the organization to be indicators of successful job performance. Research has shown that how well an applicant does in the interview can be enhanced with coaching. The effectiveness of coaching is due, in part, to increasing the interviewee's knowledge, which in turn results in better interview performance. Interviewee knowledge refers to knowledge about the interview, such as the types of questions that will be asked, and the content that the interviewer is attempting to assess. Research has also shown that coaching can increase the likelihood that interviewers using a structured interview will accurately choose those individuals who will ultimately be most successful on the job (i.e., increase reliability and validity of the structured interview). Additionally, research has shown that interviewees tend to have positive reactions to coaching, which is often an underlying goal of an interview. Based on research thus far, the effects of coaching tend to be positive for both interviewees and interviewers.

Interviewers should be aware that applicants can fake their responses during the job interview. Such applicant faking can influence interview outcomes when present. One concept related to faking is impression management (IM; when you intend or do not intend to influence how favorably you are seen during interactions). Impression management can be either honest or deceptive. Honest IM tactics are used to frankly describe favorable experiences, achievements and job-related abilities. Deceptive IM tactics are used to embellish or create an ideal image for the job in question. Honest IM tactics such as self-promotion (positively highlighting past achievements and experiences) may be considered necessary by interviewers in the interview context. Consequently, candidates who do not use these tactics may be viewed as disinterested in the job. This can lead to less favorable ratings. Faking can then be defined as "deceptive impression management or the intentional distortion of answers in the interview in order to get better interview ratings and/or otherwise create favorable perceptions". Thus, faking in the employment interview is intentional, deceptive, and aimed at improving perceptions of performance.

Faking in the employment interview can be broken down into four elements:

The first involves the interviewee portraying him or herself as an ideal job candidate by exaggerating true skills, tailoring answers to better fit the job, and/or creating the impression that personal beliefs, values, and attitudes are similar to those of the organization.

The second aspect of faking is inventing or completely fabricating one's image by piecing distinct work experiences together to create better answers, inventing untrue experiences or skills, and portraying others’ experiences or accomplishments as one's own.
Thirdly, faking might also be aimed at protecting the applicant's image. This can be accomplished through omitting certain negative experiences, concealing negatively perceived aspects of the applicant's background, and by separating oneself from negative experiences.
The fourth and final component of faking involves ingratiating oneself to the interviewer by conforming personal opinions to align with those of the organization, as well as insincerely praising or complimenting the interviewer or organization.
Of all of the various faking behaviors listed, ingratiation tactics were found to be the most prevalent in the employment interview, while flat out making up answers or claiming others’ experiences as one's own is the least common. However, fabricating true skills appears to be at least somewhat prevalent in employment interviews. One study found that over 80% of participants lied about job-related skills in the interview, presumably to compensate for a lack of job-required skills/traits and further their chances for employment.

Most importantly, faking behaviors have been shown to affect the outcomes of employment interviews. For example, the probability of getting another interview or job offer increases when interviewees make up answers.

Different interview characteristics also seem to impact the likelihood of faking. Faking behavior is less prevalent, for instance, in past behavioral interviews than in situational interviews, although follow-up questions increased faking behaviors in both types of interviews. Therefore, if practitioners are interested in decreasing faking behaviors among job candidates in employment interview settings, they should utilize structured, past behavioral interviews and avoid the use of probes or follow-up questions.
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