A job interview is conducted to determine a potential employee’s ability to work for an employer. It serves a variety of purposes.
Job interviews typically take place after a job has been announced and applications from candidates have been received. The employer will review the resumes to determine the most qualified job seekers for the available position. A small number of initial candidates are selected to interview (perhaps as many as 10). Job interviews are valuable, but the demand a lot of company time and resources, so candidates are selected carefully. Typically, several rounds will occur:
- A phone interview, which allows the employer and candidate to get an initial feel for each other and determine if their goals are in line.
- An initial interview, which is typically shorter and less in depth. It will involve fewer staff members.
- Follow-up interviews may be conducted where the top candidate from the initial interview comes in to meet upper management and under go more rigorous questioning.
Once all candidates have been interviewed, the negotiation process will begin.
Anatomy of an interview
Typically an interview involves one candidate who meets with one to three people who represent the employer. This usually includes the immediate potential supervisor of the candidate and a human resources representative when one exists. Interviews typically last less than two hours and involve the candidate answering questions about work history, interests, personality and skills in addition to other factors that are relevant to employment. The candidate is also typically given the opportunity to ask questions about the job he or she is interviewing for.
Typically, the more prestigious the position, the more in depth the interview.
A behavioral interview involves the candidate describing how he or she would handle a specific situation. The goal is to determine a candidate’s ability to handle specific situations that may arise in the course of employment.
In many Western countries, employment equity laws exist to protect a candidate from being discriminated based on race, disability, age, gender or marital status.