The other side of the desk –
A lot has been said, spoken, and written about the various techniques of preparing for an interview. However, most of this material has been developed keeping the interviewee’s point of view in mind. All aspects right from clothing to behavior to body language and a host of other things have been discussed. Do’s and don’ts have been laid out. Etiquette and vocabulary handbooks on the topic are bestsellers. Everyone is looking to make a quick buck at the poor interviewee’s expense. But, as my readers are aware that I look for the uncommon. So here I am standing at the opposite end. I wish to take a peek into the interviewer’s mind. I want to understand if it is that big of a deal anyway. I’m sure this will be a very interesting revelation.
To all the interviewees out there who are feeling needlessly worried, I want you to know that you are not alone. It's completely normal to feel nervous before an interview, and even the interviewers themselves experience those same butterflies in their stomachs. Remember, you have made it this far because you possess the skills, qualifications, and potential that caught their attention. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Embrace your unique qualities and let them shine during the interview. View it as an opportunity to showcase the best version of yourself. Embrace any nervousness as a sign that you care deeply about the opportunity and are eager to give it your all. Take a deep breath, stay positive, and remember that an interview is not just about answering questions; it's also a chance to learn more about the company and its culture. Be authentic, be confident, and trust that your hard work and preparation will pay off. You've got this! Go in there and show them why you're the perfect fit for the role.
How did the process of an interview originate?
The process of an interview has a long history that dates back centuries. The word “interview” itself comes from the Middle French term “entrevue,” which means a meeting or encounter. The concept of interviews as a method of gathering information or making decisions has evolved over time. It has been used in various contexts throughout history.
One of the earliest recorded uses of interviews can be traced back to ancient China. The rulers would conduct interviews with potential government officials to assess their knowledge, skills, and loyalty.
In the Western world, interviews gained prominence in the 19th century. Industrialization led to the growth of large organizations and businesses. Employers began using interviews as a way to evaluate job candidates and determine their suitability for specific roles.
During the early 20th century, the structured interview format, with predetermined questions and standardized evaluation criteria, became more common. This was particularly in the context of academic and social research.
As technology advanced, the interview process expanded beyond face-to-face interactions. Telephone interviews became prevalent. With the rise of the internet, virtual interviews became an integral part of the hiring process.
Today, interviews are widely used not only in employment settings but also in journalism, research, market research, and various other fields. Gathering information and assessing individuals’ capabilities are essential. The format and purpose of interviews continue to evolve with the changing needs of society and technology.
What was the need to have an interview, how did this process become so popular?
The need to have an interview arose from the desire to assess individuals in a more direct and interactive manner. The need to know the candidate beyond what could be gathered from written documents or credentials. As societies evolved, so did the complexity of roles and responsibilities. Employers, government officials, researchers, and others sought a reliable way to gauge the qualifications, skills, personalities, and suitability of candidates for specific positions or tasks.
Here are some key factors that contributed to the popularity and widespread adoption of the interview process:
Human Interaction and Assessment: Written documents, resumes, and applications can provide valuable information. However, they may not fully reveal a person’s communication skills, demeanor, or interpersonal abilities. Interviews allowed decision-makers to meet candidates in person, ask questions, and gauge their responses.
Personalized Evaluation: Interviews provided a way to tailor questions to each candidate. Thus enabling the interviewer to explore individual strengths, weaknesses, and experiences more effectively.
Real-time Information: By engaging in a conversation with candidates, interviewers could obtain immediate feedback. Also, follow-up questions can be asked to delve deeper into specific areas of interest.
Cultural Fit: Interviews became essential in assessing whether candidates aligned with the organization’s values, culture, and work environment.
Trust and Rapport: Face-to-face interactions helped build trust between the interviewer and the candidate. This makes it easier to assess authenticity and sincerity.
Adapting to Roles: As job roles became more specialized, interviews allowed employers to evaluate if candidates had the requisite knowledge and expertise.
Standardization and Objectivity: The structured interview format with standardized questions helped ensure a consistent evaluation process across multiple candidates.
Evolution of Hiring Practices: Industrialization and economic growth led to an increase in the number of applicants for jobs. Interviews became an efficient way to screen and select the most qualified individuals.
Technological Advancements: The advent of telecommunication and the internet further popularized the interview process. Today it is possible to conduct interviews remotely, transcending geographical barriers.
Legal and Ethical Considerations: Interviews also served as a means to comply with equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws. Thus promoting fairness in the selection process.
Over time, the interview process proved to be a valuable tool for decision-makers across various domains. Leading to its widespread use and establishment as a fundamental component of hiring, research, and information gathering. Its continued popularity can be attributed to its versatility and effectiveness in assessing human capabilities and potential.
What are the disadvantages of having interviews?
While interviews are widely used and have several advantages, they also come with certain disadvantages. Some of the key disadvantages of having interviews include:
Subjectivity: Interviews can be subjective, as the evaluation of candidates heavily relies on the interviewer’s perception, biases, and personal preferences. This subjectivity may lead to potential inconsistencies in the hiring process.
Nervousness and Performance Anxiety: Candidates may experience nervousness and performance anxiety during interviews. This could hinder them from presenting their true capabilities and qualifications accurately.
Incomplete Picture: Interviews may not provide a comprehensive view of a candidate’s skills and abilities. Certain skills may not be easily assessed through traditional interview questions, leading to an incomplete understanding of the candidate’s potential.
Overemphasis on Presentation Skills: Candidates who are charismatic and excel in interviews may be favored over others who might be equally or more qualified but lack strong presentation skills.
Interviewer’s Inexperience: Interviewers may lack proper training in conducting interviews. This is a leading factor to ineffective questioning and an inability to recognize the best fit for the role.
Time-Consuming: Interviews can be time-consuming, especially when a large number of candidates need to be assessed. This could slow down the hiring process.
Pressure to Impress: Candidates may focus on saying what they think the interviewer wants to hear. This can deter candidates from providing genuine responses, leading to a distorted representation of their true capabilities.
High Costs: In-person interviews can incur expenses related to travel, accommodation, and logistics, especially for international candidates.
Limited Diversity: Unstructured interviews may perpetuate biases and contribute to a lack of diversity in the hiring process.
Post-Interview Regrets: Interviewers may sometimes make hasty decisions, leading to regrets. They realize later that the selected candidate may not be the best fit for the role.
Despite these disadvantages, interviews remain a valuable tool for assessing candidates’ qualifications and fit for specific roles. To mitigate some of these issues, interviewers can use structured interview formats, incorporate objective evaluation criteria, and supplement interviews with other assessment methods such as practical tests or work samples. Additionally, providing a positive and supportive interview environment can help candidates showcase their true potential more effectively.
In life’s journey, remember that an interview is but a stepping stone, not the ultimate destination. Embrace the experience, learn from it, and stay open to new opportunities that align with your purpose and passions. Trust in the process and your path will unfold with divine timing.