The interview exists as a mechanism through which formal structured communication concerning a particular problem or requirement can take place, with the objective of resolving that issue. Communication is two-way, with information being given and sought by both parties. It may involve two individuals, an individual and a group, or more than one group. The situations can range from the recruitment of a new employee to the identification of an individual's information needs, as in the library reference or enquiry interview. As such the interview can be viewed as an analogy for many other work situations in which you may be involved, all of which require the use of interpersonal, communication, and organisation skills. So, in that light, why not take the interview as an example, representing the many types of daily interaction you are likely to have, and apply the findings to that wider range of work situations?
Interviews are made up of individuals who assume roles, i.e. that of interviewer or interviewee. These are conducted according to various social rules, depending on the type of interview. However, there are two underlying rules which apply to both roles and in all types of interview. The first relates to preparation. This has already been considered from the job applicant's viewpoint in the previous chapter. Its importance to both interviewee and interviewer will be considered further as each type of interview is discussed.
The second fundamental rule concerns good manners. By the latter I am not referring to the use of 'please' and 'thank you', or shaking hands as you say 'good morning'. The interview is an interaction between individuals with the aim of attaining a solution. The participants need to be able to listen to each other patiently and objectively; exercise tact and discretion; and make decisions based on fact rather than opinion. Sarcastic comment, implied criticism, condescending remarks, or the exhibition of a self-important manner are forms of negative behaviour, and will not result in a successful conclusion of the interview.
How do you set about acquiring the appropriate interpersonal and management skills that will help you in the interview situation, either as a potential employee or as a manager seeking to recruit successfully? The first thing to do is find out about the different types of interview in which