Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.
What Is a Job Interview?
A job interview is a selection process used by organizations to help determine whether a job candidate has the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to do the job. It may also be used to see if there is a good fit between the applicant and organization from a standpoint of culture and values. In this lesson, we're going to review some of the interview types that are used by organizations in selecting the proper candidate for the position.
Types of Interviews
An initial interview can be used as a screening process to reduce the field of candidates for the position. Common questions in an initial screening interview will usually relate to your qualifications for the job, such as education, experience, and specific skills.
These are interviews that are not standardized. The interview process and questions will differ from applicant to applicant. This is not really a good type of interview because it doesn't provide a reasonable basis to compare job applicants, since each applicant is subject to varying questions, in varying order, conducted in varying ways. Questions may discuss topics such as:
- work history
- strengths and weaknesses
- why you want the job
- why you want to work for the organization
- short- and long-term goals
Unlike unstructured interviews, structured interviews are standardized interviews with the questions usually based upon an analysis of the job. This ensures that all applicants receive the same questions that are based upon the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position. This standardization allows for objective and easy comparison between applicants. You can think of a structured interview as a type of job test because each applicant can be scored using a scoring key. There are two primary types of structured interviews: situational interviews and behavior description interviews.
A situational interview asks candidates how they would react in a specific situation and is based upon a technique called critical incident, where questions are developed based upon hypothetical incidents related to the job. The answers to the questions are supposed to provide the interviewer an idea of how you would behave in a similar circumstance. An answer may score somewhere between excellent and poor. For example, job applicants may be asked what they would do if they saw a fellow employee stealing.
A behavior description interview looks at your past behavior in other jobs or job-related situations. Here, your interviewer is trying to judge the future by looking at the past. These types of interviews usually don't contain questions about knowledge, skills, and abilities. Instead, the questions are more general and are used to learn about a broad range of general skills, such as interpersonal relations, conflict resolution styles, judgment, motivation, and commitment. For example, an interviewer might ask you to tell him about a time when you had an argument with a co-worker and how you were able to resolve the dispute.
This is an interview involving multiple interviewers. A panel interview is usually a structured interview with the only substantial difference being more than one interviewer. Using multiple interviewers has the advantage of reducing the likelihood of interviewer bias. There is also a better chance at accuracy as well because the organization can rely on the recall of a set of interviewers. A panel of interviewers is also able to provide more than one perspective. On the other hand, it's a more expensive process for an organization.
A job interview is a part of the process by which an organization selects someone for a job. Interviews can be structured or unstructured. Structured interviews tend to be more reliable and useful because every applicant is asked the same questions, which can be scored. Structured interviews include situational interviews and behavior description interviews. One or more interviewers can conduct interviews. A panel interview is an example of an interview using more than one interviewer. Panel interviews may be more reliable because there is less of a chance of bias and there can be better recall with multiple interviewers.
By the end of this lesson, you should know how to do the following:
- Define job interview
- Name and describe the different kinds of job interviews
- Explain the pros and cons of the different kinds of job interviews
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