What is an Interview?

What is the purpose of an interview? When myriad of options are available, Why have organizations chosen interview as the most crucial stage of the selection process?  If it is "a simple question and answer session", the entire tedious interview process can be done away with a written test.  But this is not the actual case.  Interview is not a simple question and answer session.

In Organizations, there are structured teams of  people constantly work towards achieving financial and other set goals.  These organizations are incorporated with the financial help of many individuals  investing in the corporation by buying shares and many institutionalized bodies like banks by giving loans. As there are thousands of stakes holders vested their interests in these bodies to function, It is necessary for these organizations to satisfy each stake holder.  For example, If a company does not make adequate profit, how can it repay the loans it has taken? Or How can they pay dividends to the share holders of the company?

To accomplish these goals, a comapany has to recruit quality human force. Who is vested with this job? The HR people.  The onus is on the HR people of the company to find the right candidates from virtually hundreds of people applying for the position.  So an interview should be a highly organized process of finding the right candidate to work on like minded, goal oriented teams.                                                      

Compare the interview process with purchasing a laptop.  When you go for purchasing a laptop, do you consider all the important factors like price, configuration, color, after sale service? Infact, we take quotations from several shops and we inquire our friends who earlier purchased laptops from these shops then only we will make a purchase decision.

Similarly, When organizations recruit people, they also do all this due diligence before they select any candidate for their teams.  Your written test scores speak some measurable metrics like aptitude, logical ability and verbal skills which are equally important but the important qualities like, your attitude, team working capabilities, leadership qualities, ability to handle pressure etc. may not be known unless an interview is being conducted.

Having said that, Interview is an interpersonal situation where the interviewer try to understand your personality and how that fits for his organization.  To understand your personality, there are specific questions designed to serve this purpose.  Always remember, each and every question asked in an interview has a purpose. But most people think that interview is a random process.

There are certain myths associated with interview process

1.  Interviewers ask tough questions
2.  If I don't answer a question my interview is over

Interviewers always start with simple questions which can easily be answered by any person with adequate knowledge in his subjects. If the interviewee answers these questions correctly, the interviewer may proceed further to check the depth of the knowledge. In this process you may face one or two tough questions but your failing to answer these may not do any harm to your selection chances.  But if you fail to answer even simple and introductory questions the chances of rejection are more.

If you don't know the answer for any question, the interviewer may choose another area to test your knowledge depth.  That is why, most of the interviewers ask your favorite subject or language before they start asking questions.   The aim of the interviewer is to check your personality.  

Johari Window

This following diagram is called Johari Window after two american scientists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. This is a very important tool to improve interpersonal relationships.  As interview is an interpersonal situation, Let us see how this frames work helps us

Here there are 4 boxes indicating 4 different situations every interpersonal situation may fall.  There are things which are known to us and interviewer.  This part is called arena and indicated by Box 1.  Most of the things you represent in your resume may fall in this category. Box 2 is called blind spot.  Blind spot is the area where interviewer may know about you but you may not aware of them.  Very interesting. is it not? How come interviewer comes to know about the things which you may not aware? Let us see later.There are some things which you know but the interviewer may not.  This is called Facade (Pronunciation: fasadh).  Facade is the front part of a building which may be decorative but behind it may not be attractive or old.     And the last part is unknown part. Both the parties least interested in it.

Tell me when the mutual dependence and trust is more between two parties?  It is when the arena part is large.  So it is our job to provide valuable insights to the interviewer so that he may judge your personality and have trust in your abilities.

Now the interviewer try to judge our weaknesses which may reduce your work efficiency by asking typical questions.  But he may not provide any feedback how to cover your weaknesses.  A professional may be helpful in plugging those loopholes.

So based on the above analysis, the job seekers may fall into 4 catogories.

Ideal window: Where both parties have mutual trust
Interviewer: Kept on asking about others but does not commit to where he stands
Bull in china Shop: Kept on talking about abilities and what he thinks of about others
Turtle: Don't speak much

In the next lesson we learn how to answer most important interview questions.