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Conducting an Effective Interview

An employment interview is a goal oriented conversation in which the interviewer and the applicant exchange information. Even though interviews are a poor selection tool for most jobs, they are often the primary method used in evaluating applicants. The main players in the job interview are the interviewer and the applicant.

The interviewer should have a pleasant personality, empathy, and the ability to listen and to communicate effectively. He or she should be aware of stereotyped views of the capabilities of women and minorities, and should be knowledgeable of the laws governing employment practices. In addition, a solid knowledge of the job and its requirements are indispensable to properly assess the applicants' qualifications. Through open-ended and probing questions, four major areas of information should be obtained from job candidates: job related knowledge, personal qualities as they relate to the job, willingness to do the work, and career orientation. The interviewer must keep in mind that all questions should be job related.

The job applicant that is most polished in job-seeking techniques is often the one who gets the job offer, even though he or she may not be the best candidate, according to Robbins (1993). An article entitled "Employee selection: a role of the dice?" (1990) offers the following suggestions on how to evaluate candidates:

? Don't depend on the candidates' self-evaluation; ask for examples of how they handled specific situations.

? Go beyond titles. A candidate may have been a supervisor, but that does not mean that he or she was a good supervisor.

? Don't always trust your first impressions; you may dismiss a great candidate.

The goal of job seekers is to make a favorable impression, a situation that could lead them to misrepresentation. Conducting an effective interview that brings forward all pertinent information would be most beneficial, not only for the interviewer but also for the applicant.


Employee selection: a roll of the dice? (August 1990). Training (Minneapolis, Minn.) v27, p59.

Dori Kelsey is owner operator of SpainExchange. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spring Arbor College (Michigan) in Management and Organizational Development, and a Master of Liberal Studies from The University of Toledo (Ohio). Through her 25-year career in the United States she acquired professional experience in the fields of international education, employment and training, and human resources development along with effective skills in the development and coordination of programs and the provision of services to foreign nationals.

As owner operator of SpainExchange, she has developed educational tours of Spain, school exchanges, and customized training programs for various schools, universities and educational services. All programs have successfully met the clients' objectives as they provided relevant learning as well as enjoyable activities for the participants.

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