Interview is the widely used (election method. It is a face-to-face interaction between interviewee and interviewer. If handled carefully, it can be a powerful technique in having accurate information of the interviewee otherwise unavailable. At the same time, if the interview is not handled carefully, it can be a source of bias, restricting or distorting the flow of communication. Different scholars have defined ‘interview’ differently. According to Scott and others, “an interview is a purposeful exchange of ideas, the answering of questions and communication between two or more persons”. Bingham and others define an interview as a ‘conversation with a purpose”. Thus, interview can be defined as an attempt to secure maximum amount of information from the candidate concerning his/her suitability for the job under consideration. It tries to achieve an accurate appraisal of the applicant in terms of his/her educational qualification, training, family background, previous work experience and judge the applicant’s certain qualities like manners, appearance, conversational ability, meet other people pleasantly, etc.
Objectives of Interview:
In the selection process, interview serves the following objectives:
1. Verifies the information obtained through application form and tests. 2. Helps obtain additional information from the applicant otherwise not available. 3. Gives the candidate necessary facts and information about the job and the organisation. 4. Helps establish mutual understanding between the company and the candidate and build the company’s image. According to Richard Calhoon, employment interview serves the following three objectives: First, it is the only way to see an applicant in action – how he looks, his manner, his bearing. Second, it is the only way to witness how he interacts and how he responds, his way of thinking, the effect of his personality on others. Third, it is perhaps the best way to get at the ‘will do’ features of a performance- motivation, initiative, stability, perseverance, work, habits and judgments.
Types of Interviews:
Four types of interviews for selection have been identified.
1. Preliminary Interview:
The interviews conducted to screen the applicants to decide whether further detailed interview will be required are called preliminary interviews. The candidate is given freedom by giving job details during the interview to decide whether the job will suit him. One of the drawback associated with the preliminary interview is that it might lead to the elimination of many desirable candidates in case interviewers do not have much and proper experience in evaluating candidates. The positive argument, if any, for this method is that it saves time and money for the company.
2. Patterned Interview:
In this interview, the pattern of the interview is decided in advance. What kind of information is to be sought or given, how the interview is to be conducted, and how much time is to be allotted to it, all these are worked out in advance. In case interviewee drifts, he/she is swiftly guided back to the structured questions. Such interviews are also called standardised interviews.
As the term itself implies, depth interview tries to portray the interviewee in depth and detail. It, accordingly, covers the life history of the applicant along with his/her work experience, academic qualifications, health, attitude, interest, and hobbies. This method is particularly suitable for executive selection. Expectedly, depth interview involves more time and money in conducting it.
4. Stress Interview:
Such interviews are conducted for the jobs which are to be performed under stressful conditions. The objective of stress interview is to make deliberate attempts to create stressful or strained conditions for the interviewee to observe how the applicant behaves under stressful conditions. The common methods used to induce stress include frequent interruptions, keeping silent for an extended period of time, asking too many questions at a time, making derogatory remarks about the candidate, accusing him that he is lying and so on. The purpose is to observe how the candidate behaves under the stressful conditions – whether he looses his temper, gets confused or frightened. However, stress-inducing must be done very carefully by trained and skilled interviewer otherwise it may result in dangers. Emotionally charged candidates must not be subjected to further stressful conditions. The candidate should be given sufficient chance to cope with such induced stress before he leaves.
Limitations of Interview:
Research studies have firmly established that, among all selection methods, interview has been the most researched and carefully documented method.
However, interview suffers from some limitations also.
1. Interviewers may not have a clearly defined technique developed. This results in lack of validity in evaluation of the candidate. 2. There is always variation in offering scoring points to the candidate by the interviewers. 3. Interview can help judge the personality of the candidate but not his ability for the job. 4. A single characteristic of the candidate found out on the basis of interview, may affect the judgment of the interviewer on other qualities of the applicant. This is called ‘halo effect’. 5. The biases of interviewers may cloud the objectivity of interview. 6. Finally, interview is a time consuming and expensive device of selection. The above listed limitations or defects in interview underline the need for observing certain guidelines to make interviews more effective.
Guidelines for Effective Interviewing:
Below are given some guidelines, if observed, can make interview more effective:
1. The interview should have a definite time schedule known to both the interviewers and the interviewee. 2. Interview should be conducted by the competent, trained and experienced interviewers. 3. The interviewers should be supplied with specific set of guidelines for conducting interview. 4. The interviewers should ensure an element of privacy for the interviewee. 5. A resume for all the candidates to be interviewed should be prepared and the same be made available to the interviewers before the interview starts. 6. The interview should not end abruptly but it should come to close tactfully providing satisfaction to the interviewee. 7. The interviewers should show their sensitivity to the interviewee s sentiments and also sympathetic attitude to him/her. 8. The interviewers should also evince emotional maturity and a stable personality during the interview session.
Some major findings from research studies on the interview seem worth mentioning:
1. Structured interview are more reliable than unstructured interviews. 2. Interviewers are influenced more by unfavorable than by favorable information. 3. Inter-rater reliability is increased when there is a greater amount of information about the job to be filled. 4. A bias IS established early in the interview, and this tends to be followed by either a favorable or an unfavorable decision. 5. Intelligence is the trait most validly estimated by an interview, but the interview information adds nothing to test data. 6. Interviewerscanexplamwhytheyfeelanapplicantislikelytobeanunsatisfactoryemployee but not why the applicant may be satisfactory. 7 Factual written data seem to be more important than physical appearance in determining judgments. This increases with interviewing experience. 8 An interviewee is given more extreme evaluation (positive/negative) when preceded by an interviewee of opposing value (positive/negative). 9 Interpersonal skills and motivation are probably best evaluated by the interview. 10. Allowing the applicant time to talk makes rapid first impressions less likely and provides a large behavior sample. 11. Nonverbal as well as verbal interactions influence decisions. 12. Experienced interviewers rank applicants in the same order, although they differ in the proportion that will accept. There is a tendency for experienced interviewers to be more selective than less experienced ones.