The interview is the most common “tool” used in the selection process. Interviews provide both the client and the candidate with an opportunity to gain an understanding of each other and to make an informed decision.
The object of the interview is to determine the best applicant for the position and who best fits the organization’s culture. Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant’s experiences. The interviewer can pursue in-depth information around a topic. Interviews may be useful as follow-up to certain respondents to questionnaires, e.g., to further investigate their responses. Usually open-ended questions are asked during interviews.
Before one starts to design one’s interview questions and process, clearly articulate to oneself what problem or need is to be addressed using the information to be gathered by the interviews. This helps one keep clear focus on the intent of each question.
Types of Interviews
This type of interview is also called non-directive interview. In this type of interview, there is generally no set format. So the interview can take various directions. The lack of structure allows the interviewer to ask follow-up questions and pursue points of interest as they develop. Interviews for the same job may or may not get the same or similar questions. A few questions might be specified in advance, but they are usually not, and there is seldom a formal guide of scoring answers. This type of interview could even be described as little more than a general conversation.
The structured interview is the most frequently used method of interviewing. The interview is a one on one meeting between the client and the candidate.
Questions are based on key selection criteria such as qualifications, work experience, key responsibilities, achievements, and reasons for career change, motivation, teamwork, adaptability and aspirations.
The advantage in using this technique is consistency. All candidates are assessed against the same criteria and have an equal opportunity to demonstrate his/her strengths against the selection criteria. This sort of interview is also reliable and valid. Structured interviews can also help those who may be less comfortable doing interview to conduct better interviews. Standardizing the administration of the interview also increases consistency across candidate, enhances job relatedness, and reduces overall subjectivity.
Administering the interview
Interviews can be administered in various ways-
Personal or individual interview
Personal or individual interviews
Most interviews are individual or one-on-one: two people meet alone and one interviews the other by seeking oral response to oral inquiries. Most interview processes are sequential. In a sequential or serial interview, several persons interview the applicant, in sequence, before a decision is made. Sequential interviews are of two types:
Unstructured sequential interview: In an unstructured sequential interview, each interviewer may ask different questions and from an independent opinion.
Structured sequential interview: In a structured sequential interview, each interviewer rates candidates on a standard evaluations form, using standardized questions.
Panel interviews are often conducted by large organizations, particularly in the public sector. The panel may include a Human Resource practitioner, a line manager, senior manager, consultant or an employee who has the relevant technical expertise. The panel usually consists of 2-5 people. It is a good idea to have at least one member who is of the same gender of the candidate.
Prior to the interview, panel members should be given a copy of the position description, selection criteria, and the Interview Questionnaire to assist them in the process. The aim of the panel interview is to ensure that an impartial and fair decision is made.
Remember that this form of interview could intimidate some people and could favor those who are very confident, or are used to presentations. A one-on-one interview could be a better option.
Group interviews are also conducted by large organizations where several candidates are brought together to discuss work related issues and to provide a solution in a simulated business environment. It is designed to assess candidates on workplace behaviors, team playing, leadership, human relations, communication and presentation skills, and problem solving abilities.
A computerized selection interview is one in which a job candidate’s oral or computerized replies are obtained in response to computerized oral, visual or written questions and or situations. Most computerized interviews present the applicant with a series of specific questions regarding his or her background, experience, education, skills, knowledge and work attitudes that relate to the job for which the person has applied. Other, video-based computerized interviews may also confront candidates with realistic scenario.
Factors that affect the usefulness of interview
Hiring the right people is a crucial management job, and one can’t do that job well if one doesn’t know how to interview. Several things or factors can undermine an interview’s usefulness.
One of the most consistent findings is that interviewers tend to jump to conclusions make break judgments-about candidates during the first few minutes of the interview. First impressions are especially damaging when the information about the candidate is negative. Interviewers seem to have a consistent negative bias. They are more influenced by unfavorable than favorable information about the candidate. Furthermore, their impressions are much more likely to change from favorable to unfavorable than from unfavorable to favorable. Indeed, a common interviewing mistake is to turn the interview into a search for negative information. In a sense, therefore, most interviews are probably loaded against the applicant. An applicant who starts well could easily end up with a low rating, because unfavorable information tends to carry more weight in the interview. An interview who starts out poorly will find it hard to overcome that first bad impression.
Misunderstanding the job
It’s also important to know what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Interviewers who don’t know precisely what the job entails and what sort of candidate is best suited for it usually make their decisions based on incorrect stereotypes of what a good applicant is. They then erroneously match interviewers with their incorrect stereotypes.
Candidate order error and pressure to hire
Candidate-order error means that the order in which you see applicants affects how you rate them. An error of judgment on the part of the interviewer due to interviewing one or more very good or very bad candidates just before the interview in question. Pressure to hire accentuates problem like this.
Nonverbal behavior and impression management
The applicant’s nonverbal behavior can also have surprisingly large impact on his her rating. Interviewers infer the interviewee’s personality from the way he or she acts in the interview. The interviewee’s personality, particularly his or her level of extraversion, had a pronounced influence on whether or not he or she received follow-up interviews and job offers. In part this seems to because “interviewers draw inference about the applicant’s personality based on the applicant’s behavior during the interview.” Of course, clever interviewees take advantage of this, by managing the impression they present.
Effect of personal characteristics
Interviewers also must guard letting an applicant’s attractiveness and gender distort their assessments. In general, individuals ascribe more favorable traits and more successful life outcome to attractive people. In many cases it is seen that men are given more advantages than female. Even when female managers exhibited the same career-advancing behaviors as male managers, they still earned less money and offer fewer career-progressing transfer opportunities.
Race can also play a role, depending on how one conduct the interview. Such as black or white, majority and minority may influence the interview. But structured interviews produce less of a difference between minority and white interviewees on average than does unstructured interviews.
The interviewer’s behavior also has an effect on the interviewee’s performance and rating. Some interviews talk too much, some interviewers let the applicants dominate the interview. Again some interviewers have pre-interview impressions of the applicant, they tend to act more positively towards the person, possibly because they want to increase the chance that the applicant will accept the job.
Way of Conducting More Effective Interview
There are several things to increase the standardization of the interview or otherwise assist the interviewer to ask more consistent and job-relevant questions, without actually creating a structured situational interview. They include:
Base questions on actual job duties. This will minimize irrelevant questions. It may also reduce the likelihood of bias, because there’s less opportunity to “read” things into the answer.
Use job knowledge, situational or behaviorally oriented questions and objective criteria to evaluate the interviewee’s responses. Questions that simply ask for opinions and attitudes, goals and aspirations and self-descriptions and self-evaluations allow candidates to present themselves in an overly favorable manner or avoiding revealing weakness.
Train interviewers. For example, review EEO laws with prospective interviewers and train them to avoid irrelevant or potentially discriminatory questions and to avoid stereotyping minority candidates. Also train them to base their questions on job-related information.
Use the same questions with all candidates. When it comes to asking questions, the prescriptions seem to be “the more standardized the better.” It also reduces bias.
Use descriptive rating scale (excellent, fair, poor) to rate answers. This ensures that all interviewers are using the same standards.
Use multiple interviewers or panel interviews. Doing so can reduce bias by diminishing the importance of one interviewer’s idiosyncratic opinions and by bringing in more points of view.
If possible, use a standardized interview form.
Control the interview. Techniques here include, limiting the interviews’ follow up questions, using a larger number of questions and prohibiting questions from candidates until after the interview.
Take brief, discreet notes during the interview. Doing so may help overcome “the regency effect”. It may also help avoid making a quick decision based on inadequate information early in the interview and may also help jog your memory once the interview is complete.
Preparation of Interview
Interviewing has been called an art, and there’s no doubt that it calls for insight and creativity. But it’s also a science, requiring process, methods, and consistency to produce truly accurate and effective results. Look at it this way: Your art will flourish within the sound framework of a systematic, scientific approach.
Define Your Objectives Before You Start
Even if you think you’re an expert interviewer, a “seat-of-the-pants” approach can backfire. Take the time to clearly define what you are looking for before you begin recruiting.
Describe the position’s duties and the technical knowledge and skills required to do the job.
Identify success factors: How did previous top performers in this job behave?
Establish performance expectations: What do you expect this person to accomplish?
For this step, bring in the hiring manager as well as peers or those who have performed the job in the past to make sure that you are painting an accurate picture of the ideal candidate. Armed with this information, you’ll be better able to evaluate each candidate.
Build an Interview Team
Whenever possible, have more than one person interview candidates; you’ll gain a balanced perspective and be more likely to have a fair hiring process. In addition to the reporting manager and a Human Resources representative, think about including some of the people who will be working with the new hire.
Now that you’ve prepared thoroughly, you can begin the interview process. In this series, we’ll address how to select an initial candidate pool, conduct the interview, document your findings, and communicate with candidates for a smooth, professional, and ultimately effective selection process.
Select Questions In Advance
Don’t rely on a job description and a candidate’s resume to structure the interview. You’ll get much better information if you carefully pre-select questions that allow you to evaluate whether a candidate has those skills and behaviors you’ve identified as essential for the job.
You might include some or all of these types of questions:
1. Icebreakers: As their name implies, icebreakers are used to build rapport and set candidates at ease before beginning the formal interview. Examples:
Did you have any trouble finding our office?
Before we start, would you like a cup of coffee or glass of ice water?
Tell me about yourself.
2. Traditional Questions: With these, you can gather general information about a candidate and their skills and experience. Because these questions are asked often, many candidates will have prepared answers to them, so they can be used to help candidates feel at ease in the early stages of an interview. Examples:
What are your greatest strengths?
What is your experience with [competency, skill, function, etc.]?
Why do you want to work for us?
3. Situational Questions: Ask candidates what they would do in a specific situation relevant to the job at hand. These questions can help you understand a candidate’s thought process. Examples:
How would you deal with an irate customer?
If we were to hire you, what is the first thing you would do?
How do you deal with stress on the job?
4. Behavior-Based Questions: These require candidates to share a specific example from their past experience. Each complete answer from a candidate should be in the form of a SAR response—the complete Situation, Action, and Result. If a candidate skips any of these three elements, prompt them to fill in the blanks. Examples:
Tell me about a crisis you could have prevented. Did you do anything differently after the crisis had passed?
Tell me how you resolve crises by deploying your team members. Give me a specific example.
Crises usually require us to act quickly. In retrospect, how would you have handled a recent crisis differently, if you had been given more time to think before acting?
5. Job-related Questions: In a job-related interview, the interviewers tries to deduce what applicant’s on-the-job performance will be based on his or her answers to questions about past experiences. The interviewer asks job-related questions in order to draw conclusions about the candidate’s ability to handle the different aspects of the job to be filled. Job-related questions such as:
Which courses did you like best in business school?
Why are you applying for this position?
What was your starting salary?
6. Culture-Fit Questions: These will help you select candidates who are motivated and suited to perform well in the unique environment of your organization. Examples:
What gave you the greatest feeling of achievement in your last job? Why was this so satisfying?
Why did you choose this type of work?
What motivates you to work hard? Give me some examples.
The Interview and Beyond
Your preparation for the interview has equipped you with a number of questions that will help you get to know and evaluate candidates. But there’s plenty more to do before, during and after the interview. Follow these tips:
Before the Interview-
Put Candidates at Ease
Interviewing can be stressful, so do your best to help candidates relax. Make sure each candidate is greeted and escorted, if necessary, to the interview location. Start with low-key questions.
Don’t Judge on First Impressions
We’ve all met them – people who don’t make a great first impression but end up being great employees. To make sure you don’t overlook these diamonds in the rough, withhold judgment until you’ve had the chance to thoroughly evaluate a candidate’s capabilities and potential.
During the Interview-
Tell the Candidate a Little About the Job
While you don’t want to dominate the interview time, you should start with a brief summary of the position, including the prime responsibilities, reporting structure, key challenges and performance criteria. This will help the candidate provide relevant examples and responses.
Don’t Be Afraid to Improvise
Plan your questions, but don’t feel you must ask only those you’ve chosen in advance. “Be responsive to what the candidate tells you, and build new questions off their answers,” says Shelly Goldman, executive recruiter with The Goldman Group Advantage, an executive recruiting firm in Reston, Virginia.
If you are doing most of the talking during an interview, you will not be able to obtain enough information to distinguish between candidates or to determine a candidate’s true competencies. A general guideline is to spend 80 percent of your time listening and only 20 percent talking.
While you won’t want to transcribe everything the candidate says, do write down important points, key accomplishments, good examples and other information that will help you remember and fairly evaluate each candidate. An interview guide, prepared in advance, will make note taking easier and give you a structure for capturing key information.
Invite Candidates to Ask Questions: This can be the most valuable part of the interview. Why do they want to be here — is it the challenge of the job, advances in the industry or something specific about your company? Or is the candidate fixated on salary, benefits and time off? If the candidate has no questions this should be a red flag, especially for senior-level employees. Make a note of what the candidate asks, and be sure to follow up if you can’t provide the answer immediately.
Follow Legal Interviewing Guidelines: It is critically important that every interviewer at your company, from HR clerks to top executives, understands and follows legal hiring guidelines. The easiest way to keep your interviews fully compliant is to ask only questions that relate to the job, eliminating the potential for bias by not introducing questions or scenarios that will elicit irrelevant information.
After the Interview-
Let Candidates Know What They Can Expect: A pet peeve of many job seekers is that they are left “hanging” after an interview, or they are promised follow-up that never comes. If the candidate is a good fit, be clear about what the next steps will be. And if the candidate is not a good fit? “Always end the interview on a positive note, but be genuine,” says Goldman. “Don’t tell the candidate to call you if you don’t mean it.”
Compare Notes and Reach Consensus: The post-interview evaluation is the time to compare notes and advance the hiring decision. Each interviewer should be prepared to back up remarks and recommendations with specific examples and notes from the interview.
Deepen the Questions as You Narrow the Field: Subsequent interviews with finalists are valuable opportunities to learn more about them. Consider adding “show me” exercises such as a strategic planning exercise or a “walk me through what you’d do” activity involving a real business challenge the individual would be facing.
Keep the Interview Legal
Following are some of the key areas that are covered by fair hiring laws. You will see a trend in what is legal and what is illegal — essentially, you cannot ask questions that will reveal information that can lead to bias in hiring, but you can ask questions that relate to job performance.
Affiliations: Do not ask about clubs, social organizations or union membership; do ask about relevant professional associations.
Age: Do not ask a candidate’s age other than “if hired,” can a candidate produce proof that he or she is 18 years of age.
Alcohol or Drug Use: The only allowable question relating to current or past drug or alcohol use is, “Do you currently use illegal drugs?”
Criminal Record: Do not ask if a candidate has been arrested; you may ask if the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime.
Culture/Natural Origin: You may ask if the individual can, “upon hire,” provide proof of legal right to work in the United States. You may ask about language fluency if it is relevant to job performance.
Disability: You may ask if candidates can perform essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation, and you may ask them to demonstrate how they would perform a job-related function. You may ask about prior attendance records. And you may require candidates to undergo a medical exam after an offer of employment has been made.
Marital/Family Status: Questions about marital status and family issues are discouraged except as they relate to job performance, as in the child care example above.
Personal: Avoid questions related to appearance, home ownership and personal financial situation.
Race/Color: No race-related questions are legal.
Religion: If Saturday or Sunday is a required workday, you may ask candidates if they will have a problem working on those days.
Sex: You may ask if a candidate has ever worked under another name. Be sure not to make gender-related assumptions about job capabilities.
How to Deal with Information
That is volunteered. Despite your careful preparation and question selection, some candidates will volunteer information that you would prefer not to know. The best way to handle this situation is not to pursue it or to make note of it. You can’t erase the information from your memory, but you can eliminate it as a discussion point and selection factor.
Carefully planned questions and a structured interview process that is the same for all candidates will ensure equal treatment of all who apply. Keep the focus on what the job requires and how each candidate has performed in the past. Perhaps most importantly, make fair hiring part of your company’s mission and value statement, championed from the top down and an integral part of the selection process.
Immediately After Interview
Verify if the tape recorder, if used, worked throughout the interview. Make any notes on your written notes, e.g., to clarify any scratching, ensure pages are numbered, fill out any notes that don’t make senses, etc.
Write down any observations made during the interview. For example, where did the interview occur and when, was the respondent particularly nervous at any time? Were there any surprises during the interview? Did the tape recorder break?
Evaluating the Interview
At the end of the interview, write a brief evaluation of the candidate. In particular, note what struck you as the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses relative to the requirements of the position. Did you get sufficient coverage in terms of the candidate’s technical skills? What about the candidate’s work ethic and values? And what did you think about the candidate’s personality?
Next, turn the pencil on your performance during the interview. Did you obtain the information you needed? Did you listen enough? Did you stay in control? How might you adjust your technique for the next interview? This exercise will improve your interviewing skills exponentially. And as your interviewing skills improve, most likely your hires will improve.
A Case Study-An interview procedure of Aristopharma LTD.
Here there is an interview procedure of “Aristopharma LTD.” a renowned pharmaceutical company of our country. The Human Resource Department conducts the interview. Here the interview process of Medical Representative is given. The following steps are taken through the process of this interview.
Call for an interview
To feel the vacant post or increase the manpower, the Human Resource Department of Aristopharma LTD. First give job vacancy or recruiting circular in some daily newspapers. The circular contains the eligibility and the key responsibility that the candidates have to meet. It also contains about the sending of bio-data, interview date and time.
Screening of the interviewee
After getting the personal information of candidates, Human Resource Department screens the interviewee. Among them the selected interviewee are called for the next interview, which is informed to the candidates through letters and/or telephone.
Preparing the interview tools
Human Resource Department prepare the inter view guideline. Interview guidelines are-
Interview schedule & Board Members
Preparing Benchmark Questions
Candidates Selection Criteria
Score Sheet Format (Blank)
Reading Ability Test Sheet
Writing Ability Test Sheet
Date : 13th & 14th February 2006
Day : Monday & Tuesday
Venue : Principle Office, Dhaka
Duration : 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Each Day)
Prayer & Launch Break : 1:30 am to 2:30 pm
In the meanwhile, Human Resource Department builds 4 interview boards. Each board contains 3 persons. The persons of each board are already informed about interview objectives. The ultimate vacant posts are also informed to them. As it is like a panel interview so there is no possibility of biasness. Both written and oral interview is taken.
Sl. No. Name of the Members Designation Board Name
01 Mr. SM Noor Hossain
Md. Kazi Monir Ahmed
Mr. A.N.M. Salim Ullah Product Promotion Manager
Deputy Sales Manager
Product Executive Board “A”
02 Md. Nurrullah
Md. Jahangir Alam Sales Manager
Assistant Manager, PMD
Product Executive Board “B”
03 Md. Mehedul Islam
Md. Lail Hasan Chowdhury
Dr. Akhter Hasib Dewan Sales Manager
Senior Product Officer
Medical Services Office Board “C”
04 Md. Mizanur Rahman
Md. Parvez Kabir
Dr. Hasan Mahmood Deputy Sales Manager
Assistant Manager, Training
Training Officer Board “D”
Preparing Benchmark Question: The Human Resource Department prepare some Benchmark questions. The questions bank contains academic, behavioral, general knowledge, mathematical, analytical, sales skill related questions. The Benchmark questions are provided to all members of the interview board.
Selection Criteria for Medical Representative
Basic Criteria of Candidates:
Qualification: Minimum Graduate from any discipline with science up to HSC level.
Age Limit: 30 years i,e, dead line of Date of Birth 31-01-1976.
Experience: No experienced candidate will be selected.
Any kind of physical disability
Referred by any doctors
Experience in pharmaceutical company
Previously rejected candidates (either in interview or in training) are not eligible to be selected
Marking of Interview Score Sheet:
Academic Qualification: Candidates having M.Sc will get full marks (05), Having B.Sc (Hon’s) will get 4 marks and those who are graduate from any discipline with science up to HSC level will get 3 marks out of
Age Limit: 30 years; age up to 25 years will get full marks (05) and age above 25 years will get 4 marks out of 5.
Job Need: Job need may be judged by questioning of family history. And candidates may be asked whether he is interested in Govt. job like BCS or others. If yes, marking for Job Need will be negative.
Language Perfection (oral): Candidates with extreme local accent will get less preference.
Attitude: To be judged by the board members.
Physical Grooming: To be marked as per outward appearance.
Academic Knowledge: Academic Knowledge may be judged by questioning of candidate’s relevant subject & fundamental science.
General Knowledge: Questions may be asked in context of current affairs (sports/culture/history etc.)
Candidates will agree with the following points:
Posting: May be posted anywhere in Bangladesh (Posting will be decided by the Management. There is no option for candidate).
Original Academic Certificate: Candidates will submit all Original Academic Certificate to the company while joining.
Training: Candidates will participate in a comprehensive training program at our principle office, Dhaka.
Leave: No leave will be allowed during training period.
Final Selection: Final Selection will depend on the cumulative result of different part of the interview process.
Benefits and Career Prospect:
Our salary structure for this position is above the industry average range.
Board members may discuss briefly regarding Sales Incentives, Bonus, and Provident Fund & Leave Encashment with the selected candidates.
Salary & benefits for the position are as follows:
Initial Gross Pay Gross pay after confirmation Daily Allowance (Tk.) City Allowance (Tk.) Upkeep Allowance (Tk.) Entertainment Allowance (Tk.)
Tk. 6500/= Tk. 7000/= H.Q.=1000
Out. Sta-220 Dhaka-1000/=
Other Depot-500/= Tk. 500/= Tk. 500/=
There is a scope for Rapid Evaluation and Promotion for the good sales achiever (s).
Any kind of personal influence will be considered as disqualification for the candidates.
Result will be given through letter or by conducting through telephone.
Board members should impress the candidate in a way, which will enhance company image.
Reading Ability Test:
Give an English paragraph from any journal or from newspapers & ask the candidate to read the Para. It is to identify the candidate’s reading ability. The accent & vocal power on English is identified through this procedure.
Writing Ability Test:
Medical Representative (MR) Selection Test
(Writing Ability Test)
Candidate’s Name : Signature :
Roll # : Date :
For the post of: Medical Representative (Fresh) Roll #
1st Phase: Initial Screening
English Reading & Writing Ability
If yes, please proceed according to following steps:
2nd Phase: Interview for Detail Analysis
Sl. No. Measurable Fields Further Details Marks Marks Obtained
1 Academic Qualification 05
2 Age 05
3 Job Need 15
4 Language Perfection Oral 15
5 Writing Ability 10
6 Attitude 15
7 Physical Grooming 15
8 Academic Knowledge 10
9 General Knowledge 10
Total Score 100
Minimum Pass Mark 60% of Total Score
Comments of the interviewer (s)
Evaluation & Selection
After the completion the interview, all information of the interview is reviewed. Then by crosschecking the information with the required quality is accepted. And finally the selected are informed through letter and/or telephone. Then the selected people are sent for an extensive training program.
Aristopharma Ltd. follows the standard interview procedure. Human Resource Department of Aristopharma through this interview can select better employee. As the company’s operation is spread in different segments such as production, sales, marketing, distribution, accounts etc., the quality manpower is very much needed to perform these all operations. The only way of select or identify eminence person is the effective interview. In this respect Aristopharma is successful. They have the enriched Human Resource Department who is capable to conduct effective interview which is well organized and structured through which effective, skilled and qualified candidate are selected.