Interviews: What do they
Interview, according to
Collins Concise English Dictionary, is a formal discussion,
especially one in which an employer assesses a job applicant.
'A formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications (as
of a prospective student or employee)', defines Webster's
Dictionary. It can be meeting with a candidate to ascertain,
by questioning and discussion, letters suitability for a
The art of interviewing forms the very basis of the utmost
input requirement, in the form of humans, of organisations.
The process constitutes an important part of the recruitment
The interview Board, in the allotted time, has to bring out
the best and the worst in the candidates and then arrive at
conclusions, most subjectively, on a common-sense basis,
since assessing a candidate on each and every attribute
infallibly is neither possible nor feasible for the
interviewers; rather there are chances of faltering.
To find the ideal candidate for any post is not possible, nor
it is easy to define the concept completely in the context of
the metamorphosing managerial and administrative values. The
best course left to the Board is, therefore, to pick the best
of the available candidates; to obviate repetition of the
entire gamut of the selection procedure. This holds good,
more often than not, in the case of selections for senior
Often for the purpose, the Board evolves a check-list, an
exhaustive but practical one, where under ratings are accorded
for different personality traits. Experience has shown that
this strategy works quite satisfactorily in all types of
The under mentioned can be the tentative parameters for the
Board to look for its picks; not necessarily in the same
order or weight age, for they may vary from post to post and
from organisation to organisation, depending upon their
The candidate, prima facie, ought to have the needed
potential and keenness for the purpose of being developed
into a better one, in the near future, and on, to impart
benefits to the organisation, for it spends its resources on
the new incumbent with an eye for good returns.
Self-acceptance of the past failures, if any, by the
candidate will prove an asset, a qualification. It will speak
of his frankness and will inculcate value ethics in management
compelling need of the hour the world over.
The candidate should be able to 'look within' as Christ has
said, in the face of taking decisions, especially when
confronting with hard situations. He must have a clear vision
of himself and of the assignments required to be
accomplished. As a matter-of-fact, his performance itself is
a perennial source of inspiration to him; a source of fulfillment
and pleasure; and a robust antidote to (counter)
the stress, both in his personal and official life.
To be receptive and considerate to the aspirations and
expectation of colleagues is the need of the time. The
Selection Board therefore, looks for such a possibility and
potential in the prospective candidate. Not only that, the
ability to inspire confidence among the staff, while
inter-acting with them, is also a pre-requisite to be
searched and found out by the interviewers.
Another sought-after trait is candidate's ability to communicate not
only his ability to express, as is generally
mixed up. For this purpose, the interviewers have to try for
all the essential parameters of a good communicator viz;
logical flow of thoughts, directiveness in the needed side
for the needed purpose, maturity in expression and
communication, ability to listen and the art of a rational
persuasiveness in arriving at the right decisions and passing
on the instructions germane thereto to achieve the results.
The art of communication is the hub of successful and
result-oriented human relations.
The candidate should evince an abiding interest in updating
his knowledge to qualify for being selected by the Board.
Especially, such a policy plank is more needed when the
interview is for the selection of a specialist. Both depth
and breadth of the candidate's knowledge are indicators to
his intellectual seasoning.
The candidate is expected, rather is required, to exercise
self-check in all situations that he will face in his would-
be organisation. He is to be assessed on his ability to
shoulder both, praise and criticism, success and failure,
authority and responsibility, with equanimity. Self-control,
self-management, shedding of false egos are the time-tested
recipes for successful managers, together with courage and
conviction, backed-up, nevertheless, by firmness of action. A
stiff and artificial stance will never be appreciated by the
And over zealousness in conduct may also jeopardize the
chances of being selected. If not checked, temperament can
always sway away one's decisions to an un-wanted level of
human relations, which may turn out to be a point of
no-return. On part of the candidate, the deepest mental
posture, even if provoked during the course of interview by
the Board members, is sure to carry the day. This will help
him give balanced answers to the satisfaction of the
The interviewers end up, with the best available of the lot:
the near-ideal; but not the ideal.
Some Frequently asked Questions in Selection Interviews
Tell us about yourself.
Why do you want to do this course/job?
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Who is your role model and why?]
What do you think about the current economic/political
What are your hobbies?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
If you are not taken, what will you do?
Questions about your background and academic record.
Questions about your habits, likes and dislikes.
Prepare for the interview: Do not leave preparation for the
interview for the last stage, or hope to say anything that
comes to your mind at the moment. Developing confidence is a
long-term process. Make it a point to discuss issues with
family and friends. Carry your certificates in a file. Make
it a habit to read extensively. This will prepare you for the
Dress formally: Be neat. Boys should make sure they are
shaved while girls can apply a light make-up. Well groomed
hair, cleanliness, polished shoes are some essentials. Avoid
jewellery, trendy clothes and casuals such as jeans. Formal
dress should be worn: keep a suit away for special occasions
and do not wear your everyday clothes for the interview.
Be on time: Err on the side or caution. Take a bus to the
destination a few days before the final day. If that is not
possible, allow yourself adequate time to find the place or
unforeseen circumstances such as traffic jams. If you are
early, do not go directly to the office but to a nearby
restaurant and have something to eat.
When you enter: Greet the interviewer by saying, "Good
morning, sir". Do not be over-friendly. Do not sit down until
asked. Sit straight and do not fold your arms. Look in the
interviewer's eye while answering questions.
Avoid controversy: Always stick to the subject, without
giving opinions. Do not be critical of your insitute or past
employer. If you do not know a particular question, say, "I
don't know, sir."
Listen carefully: Pause before answering a question to gather
your thoughts. Listening will help you realise what the
interviewer wants. Do not ramble or use long-winded examples.
Be pleasant: Keep a cheerful disposition, do not contradict
the interviewer even if he is wrong, keep a pleasant outlook.
Do not be funny, though one can be witty.
Tricky situations: If you are nervous, admit it. Stay calm,
even if provoked. Of course, one cannot anticipate all
questions so be ready for some surprises, too.