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The Process of Interviewing

Find interview tips to successfully navigate the interview process and land your desired job. Employers, get advice on creating efficient recruitment and hiring processes.

Among the things to consider in interviewing is the question of to what degree the interview should be rigidly structured, with a "one-size-up-fits-all" format, as opposed to more spontaneous and fluid, unrehearsed interactions. Although a "check list" approach to interviewing can yield important information and standardized data for comparison of applicants, care must be taken to avoid any appearance of mechanical, perfunctory interviewing.

Other important considerations include whether or not to communicate enthusiasm about the candidate to the candidate. On the one hand, doing so can create an awkward situation, should it turn out that the candidate is ultimately rejected. On the other, it may influence a highly desirable candidate to look less vigorously for an alternative position.
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As a process, an interview can be more or less structured. Among the advantages of a highly structured interview are a high degree of control and predictability over its content, the opportunity to refine the structure with repeated practice and the possibility of point-by-point comparisons of applicant responses to the formulaic questions and presentation.

On the downside, highly structured interviews are not "agile" or spontaneous enough to allow divergence from the quasi-algorithmic script when exploring a tangent may be warranted. Moreover, because standardization of format may make interviewing seem routine to the interviewer(s), the absence of "spark" may be detected by the applicant, who then experiences the process as mechanical.

An interview process is generally an essential part of the hiring practices of an employer, although it can sometimes refer to other activities such as screenings for awards or scholarships. In terms of the hiring process, this is an extremely important part in that it will help to determine whether the candidate for the position is a good fit for the organization.

The interview process when executed properly and effectively will include elements before, during, and after the interview. Before an interview, it is of primary importance to know what kind of questions are important and relevant to the organization's mission, vision, values, and culture, in addition to questions that will focus on the specific position being applied for.

During the interview, attention should be paid to body language, attitude, thoughtfulness, and depth of answers and discussion. Probing deeper on important questions will reveal the applicant's actual knowledge or commitment. The interview should be either recorded or good notes taken so that afterwards a proper assessment may be made as to the next steps for the applicant.

One related issue is that of encouragement of candidates: To what degree and when should an interviewer communicate strong interest in the candidate, e.g., during the interview, or only when an employment offer has been made?