Recruiting the right employees is a challenge for any business, and one that can have major and long-lasting implications for the company. Human resources professionals use a wide range of techniques to identify and analyse applicants, including interviews with prospective employees. Despite common use in many different industries, interviews have limitations that both employers and applicants should be aware of.
When an interviewer invites a job applicant to participate, the applicant has a chance to stand out and represent herself, along with her qualifications and skills, in the way she chooses. Human resources professionals use interviews to judge a potential employee's demeanour, professionalism and communications skills. The interviewer can also ask specific questions that pertain to the position, or give the applicant a chance to gather information about the company or job by asking additional questions.
Human resources staff use several types of interviews. Personal interviews that consist of one applicant and one interviewer is one option, but group interviews are another. They may involve several applicants, as well as managers and executives who can ask questions to the group or individual applicants as needed. Phone interviews represent another option, and modern telecommunications makes video conference interviews over the Internet yet another possibility.
Interviews have benefits for both applicants and interviewers. As an interview subject, you get a chance to speak in your own words and present yourself to a potential employer. You'll likely have a chance to speak freely and describe your special skills that make you a good fit for the position. Human resources professionals use interviews to get a sense of an applicant's personality, which may be difficult to discern from a resume or application on paper. Phone interviews have the added benefit of being convenient and easy to arrange with short notice for both parties.
Interviews have definite limitations. Some applicants may feel uncomfortable during personal interviews, causing them to forget key points about themselves or give a bad impression. Human resources professionals may find that interviews take up a great deal of time, including preparation time, which may make resume screening an essential first step toward narrowing the field of applicants before performing interviews. Finally, interviews rely on the interviewer's own sense of judgment and don't guarantee the best outcome.
Interviews are a major subject of business curricula and applicants who show up for an interview may have definite ideas about what to expect or what answers the interviewer wants to hear. Interviewers need to develop intangible skills that allow them to make interview subjects feel at ease and allow them to present their cases for employment. Human resources policies may include techniques or questions designed to help evaluate applicants, but interviews continue to rely on interpersonal interaction and subjective judgments more than other forms of evaluation.