THE initial communication is complete when the ‘employer’ invites the short-listed candidates for an interview. As he has ‘invited’ them, he is the ‘host’ for all practical purposes and the onus is on him to provide an environment congenial enough to make the applicant feel comfortable. Before he calls the applicants he must make sure he has allotted sufficient time for each candidate. Squeezing the interviews in between two board meetings or a session with the auditors will defeat the whole purpose. An interviewer who keeps looking at his watch and is preoccupied with his next appointment can put off the interviewee. The interview must be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere and both sides given enough time to assess one another.
The persons comprising the selection panel must be competent enough to handle the responsibility and have sufficient time at their disposal. They should each be given a copy of the candidate’s application and bio data a couple of days in advance, so that they can study them and formulate their approach to each. It is never done, but it would help the interviewee considerably if he’s given the names and designations of the people on the panel so that he is not at a disadvantage when he enters the interview room. As it is, everything is loaded in favor of the interviewer who knows about the organization, the job function, the candidate and the questions. After all, a healthy communication comes out of an equal handicap.
Each candidate must be given different timings for the interview with a sufficient break in between to cushion any delays. Once the time has been specified, it must be adhered to. Offering the candidate a cup of tea will lower the barrier and establish a more relaxed atmosphere. It is well to remember that he is keyed up, anxious and under a mental strain besides physical discomfort. ‘Pouncing’ on him will only precipitate matters and what could otherwise have been a successful interaction, might end in his failure – and that of the interviewers in long run.
The question should be preceded with a brief introduction about the organization and a resume of the job description. This gives the candidate sufficient time to relax and be prepared for the interview. Rather than adopt an examiner’s stance, the interviewer should establish an equation by ‘seeking’ information: “How would you….” Or “If you were to be given….” would present certain scenarios so that the interviewee’s response will indicate his capabilities under various circumstances. It would be interesting to ask him to assess himself in a given situation. What a man thinks of his own ability shows the extent of his confidence in him.
An interview is an important indicator of things to come. It should be conducted with a single aim – to make it a win-win situation.