Interviewing

Interviewing is the process during which an interviewer or interviewers ask questions of an interviewee. The aim is to ascertain information for a particular purpose. Interviewing may be conducted according to multiple formats, in a range of settings, and for different reasons.

In today's competitive market the way a candidate masters an interview is crucial. Preparation is essential. Prospective employees are advised to have as thorough an understanding of the company as possible, to gain a clear sense of the future employer's needs and goals. Appropriate dress is always important.

Preparation involves being familiar with the types of questions that might be posed. Researching these questions, having well-prepared answers and rehearsing for the interview process is helpful. Delivering answers related to strengths and weaknesses often requires adequate preparation. Additionally, it is useful to practice for the eventuality that unexpected questions may arise, and be able to know how to manage these situations. The language one uses is also important. Candidates are advised to use language that is clear, appropriate and in consonance with the environment, particularly when presenting a professional image. There are certain questions that are deemed illegal in many states, such as inquiring from a potential employee his or her age or marital status.

When interviewing for an employment related position or acceptance into a course of study, it is generally expected that the interviewee will have questions pertaining to the job or institute of learning. Candidates are advised to be prepared regarding what they would like to ask.

In most instances an interview takes place following an initial form of communication or correspondence. This may comprise an introductory phone call or email by either party. A resume and cover letter are often prerequisites prior to the interview itself, and prepare the way toward a broader picture of the person's background, qualifications and experience. Students are often asked to write an autobiographical outline, including stating why they wish to pursue a particular academic route. The information gleaned as part of the application facilitates the interviewer's overall assessment.

Lists of standard questions are available on many online sites. At the same time, there are questions to be avoided. Appropriate manner and behavior is a significant aspect of the interrelationship occurring between parties during the interview. Both during the interview and outside of it, it is important to present the image that best suits the position. Thus, if someone is applying for a job and expecting to be called by a professional organization, it is worthwhile to consider the type of voicemail message that exists on one's phone. Likewise the proliferation of social media networks has created a need to ascertain appropriateness of personal information placed on public web pages.

Interviews generally take place in person as a conversation between the interviewer and the person being interviewed. An interview may occur over the telephone. In the present digital era it is common for interviews to be performed through video conferencing technology online.

Interviews may be carried out in a formal or an informal manner. The tone is set by the interviewer.

Journalists require efficient and effective skills for interviewing. These interviews may occur to gather information about a person or event in order to write material based on these facts. At times, for news, television and other media broadcasts, interviews take place live or to be edited prior to broadcast. Thorough homework is required to ensure that essential facts are presented in an accurate way. Skills in interviewing people who may be reluctant to share information, as well as those who may be overly bombastic, are some of the challenges facing the interview journalist. While it is necessary to prepare questions in an organized manner, an alertness to new areas opened up during the interviewing, as well as a level of flexibility, are crucial to conducting successful interviews.

Open-ended rather than closed questions are the key to ascertaining useful information during the interviewing process. This applies equally to researchers such as anthropologists entering the field to speak to people. In these instances, the interviews are designed to yield qualitative research. An understanding of cultures and the nuances and subtleties relating to norms, as well as psychological aspects of attentive listening and rapport, are a few features of non-judgmental and effective interviewing.

When interviewing children particular strategies are required, as well as certain legal constraints. In many instances consent from the parents is necessary. Who is present at the interview is important regarding correct protocol, as is the best environment for the interview to take place. Great sensitivity is required to ensure trust is established.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Psychiatric Interviewing: The Art of Understanding
Shawn Christopher Shea; Meg Maloney.
W. B. Saunders, 1998 (2nd edition)
Basic Interviewing: A Practical Guide for Counselors and Clinicians
Michel Hersen; Vincent B. Van Hasselt.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
Explorations in Nonverbal and Vocal Behavior
George F. Mahl.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of nonverbal and vocal behavior in interviews in multiple chapters
Interviewing: A Guide for Journalists and Writers
Gail Sedorkin; Judy McGregor.
Allen & Unwin, 2002
The Social Work Interview: A Guide for Human Service Professionals
Alfred Kadushin; Goldie Kadushin.
Columbia University Press, 1997 (4th edition)
A Guide to Interviewing Children: Essential Skills for Counsellors, Police, Lawyers and Social Workers
J. Clare Wilson; Martine Powell.
Allen & Unwin, 2001
Mass Media Writing
Elise K. Parsigian.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Designing the Interview Plan: It's in Your Collected Data," Chap. 8 "Designing the Interview Plan: The Secret Is in the Asking," and Chap. 9 "Conducting the Interview "
The Management Skills Builder: Self-Directed Learning Strategies for Career Development
Ralph S. Hambrick.
Praeger Publishers, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Interviewing: A Skill for All Professionals"
Interactive Oral History Interviewing
Eva M. McMahan; Kim Lacy Rogers.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994
Culture-Centered Counseling and Interviewing Skills: A Practical Guide
Paul B. Pedersen; Allen Ivey.
Praeger, 1993
Was That Question Illegal?
Varner, Katrin C.; Varner, Carson H.
Review of Business, Vol. 25, No. 2, Spring 2004
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