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An interview is a vital component of the hiring process. It is a time set aside for an employer to meet with a potential employee to determine the suitability of that person for a specific job. The job interview usually immediately precedes the decision to hire an applicant. Interview applicants are selected from a larger pull of general applicants and are selected based on appropriateness of experience and education. When there are a large number of potential candidates, an employer may hold several rounds of job interviews before choosing the best candidate.
Interview questions are specifically designed to allow an employer to evaluate potential employees, pin-point relevant individual attributes, and assess the capabilities of each applicant to determine whether or not they can successfully perform a job. A job interviewer is typically assessing a few different categories of information during an interview: general personality traits, job-relevant experience, and the knowledge and motivation an applicant has for the job.
Evaluations also tend to be affected by the behavior demonstrated by an applicant during the interview process. Though not necessarily recognized by the interviewee, behavioral performance during an interview can affect the outcome in both positive and negative ways. Subtle actions such as speech rate and pitch, body language such as eye contact, facial expressions and body orientation, and other subconscious behaviors assist an interviewer in evaluating the nature of an applicant.
The majority of the interviewing process involves the candidate being asked questions regarding job history, education, career goals, motivations, self-perceptions, and past performance. However, for senior positions, creative jobs, or other specialized fields, interviews may include formal presentations, performance demonstrations, or psychometric testing to aid in the selection process.
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