The purpose of a screening interview is to narrow the field of finalists, provide basic information about the organization or position and satisfy equal opportunity goals. Increasingly, this is done by telephone, e mail, or computerized questions. In preparation materials, applicants are also coached to practice and rehearse answers to potential questions. Interviewers should develop questions that quickly qualify or disqualify candidates during this process.
The usual purposes are to adhere to formal hiring guidelines and to provide objective input from a variety of staff members. If you are a member of a panel, make eye contact with the applicant. If you are an applicant, make eye contact with everyone in the group, even if they did not pose the current question. The panel may be composed of representatives from training, human resources, management, finance, or quality control. Panel members should review the job description and required competencies described in job announcements. Panel members usually receive the questions in advance and should practice them. Applicants are coached to rehearse their answers in front of a mirror, on a tape recorder, or with trusted friends or family.
The purpose is to reduce the time and resources expended on a large volume of applicants. During the telephone interview, you should listen carefully, make notes, and prepare focused follow-up questions. Focus most carefully on the key requirements of the position such as education and quality of experience. Select an environment that is free of distractions. If you are an applicant, answer questions with short, succinct answers. Applicants are also coached to ask questions that reveal information about the organization. The interviewer should have concise answers to questions about the organization that are asked frequently. Some of these questions will probably involve products, markets, sales and company culture.
Walk Around Interview
The purpose of this type of interview is similar to that of the panel interview. The difference is that the candidate will meet various members of the organization. The walk-around interview also helps to determine how the candidate will fit into the organization. As the candidate completes the session with different members of the organization, get as much accurate feedback as possible. This format also provides an opportunity for each person involved in the interview process to prepare and ask some key questions. Later, the interview coordinator will be able to evaluate the applicants’ responses as a part of the overall selection process. You will use this information to help determine the degree to which the applicant is accepted by the organization.
Candidates will be coached to observe dress and communications at various levels, physical and hierarchical codes such as size of office or placement of cubicles, departmental expectations, desired expertise, computers, and budget. Candidates will note how much they have in common with the people they meet, their reactions to the work environment, and how they were treated. They are also trying to determine if the organization and the position is a fit for them. The walk around is tricky for the applicant and the organization. The organizational representatives and the chief interviewer must ensure that mixed messages are not communicated.
This type of interview is designed to determine how candidates solve problems, think through issues, and react under stress. The key to behavioral questions is to ask the candidate to solve a real or theoretical problem or to demonstrate their knowledge of certain factual information and application of processes. It is also acceptable to ask a candidate to provide a sample of previous work or to produce an answer (product) on site. Interactive computer simulated assessments based on actual work situations are now widely used in the selection process. Applicants are coached to thoroughly understand the required competencies and the responsibilities of the position. They are also advised to use the standard scientific problem solving methods when responding to case study questions.
The meal interview is used to evaluate a candidate’s social competence. Many jobs require the organizational representative to entertain prospects, customers, vendors and other external contacts. The casual conversation over a meal is designed to elicit and evaluate the candidate’s interests, perspectives and skills to help determine their fit with the culture of the organization. Applicants are coached to avoid contentious topics, politics, religion, smoking, and alcohol. They are advised to demonstrate a balanced lifestyle, a sense of family, community, and cultural involvement. Expect candidates to bring a leather portfolio or a day-timer on which to take notes and record names.
Final or Selection Interview
The selection interview is to validate interest in the candidate among key decision makers and agree to make an offer of employment. There may be two or three finalists at this stage. The expectation after this process is to decide which candidate will be offered the position. This is also a very important position for the candidate as well. They will realize that they are in a relatively strong position now. They are coached not to accept an offer on the spot.
This is a critical juncture for the employer because you must prepare a written offer to the selected candidate. The candidate will expect the offer to provide details about benefits, salary, and conditions of employment. After receipt of the offer, expect the candidate to ask for time to consider the offer and raise specific questions that were not previously discussed. During this phase, the candidate will usually confer with trusted advisers, colleagues, and in effect does a reference check on the employer.
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