Many new as well as experienced interviewers prepare sufficiently for their meetings with applicants, but don’t know how to proceed when they’re face-to-face. What should they do first? Jump right in with the first question? If so, what should that first question be? Should they let the applicant start out by asking a few questions? Or perhaps the interviewer should begin by providing information about the job and the company; but won’t that give too much away? Is there a correct order in which information should be provided and received? Maybe no one should say anything at the outset—should interviewers allow silence so the applicant can settle in and feel at ease? But isn’t silence awkward? Won’t that make the applicant feel even less comfortable? And once the process is underway, how can interviewers encourage applicants to continue talking but still keep them on track? Then there’s the matter of ending the interview: Is there a point when interviewers know definitely that it’s time to close?
These are all excellent questions concerning the components of an interview. Let’s identify and explore these components and make some sense out of how to proceed with the face-to-face meeting.
Every interview requires a structured format. The format is beneficial to both interviewers and applicants. It provides interviewers with a checklist of sorts, ensuring coverage of all the necessary information and assuring applicants of a comprehensive exchange of information. The format of an interview should incorporate five critical phases:
1. Making introductory remarks concerning what is to take place during the interview.
2. Asking questions about an applicant’s education and prior work history as they relate to the requirements of the job, as well as about relevant intangible categories.
3. Providing information about the job opening and its salary and benefits and about the organization.