This chapter focused on three important types of interviews: information-gathering,
selection, and performance appraisal. The most common type of information-gathering
interview aims at conducting research. The research interviewer should begin
by collecting background information on the subject and the interviewee. This
information is used to define the general goals of the interview and identify
the specific questions that should be asked. Equally important is identifying
whom to interview to get the desired information.
Employment interviews are critically important for even the most qualified
job applicant, since the person who receives a job offer is often the one who
knows the most about how to get hired. Since many positions are never advertised,
a job seeker should begin the selection process long before an official job
interview. The first step involves building a network of personal contacts by
conducting a series of three-R interviews to research potentially interesting
fields, to be remembered by the interviewee, and to gain referrals for other
helpful contacts. When these three-R interviews or other sources lead to a job
interview itself, candidates should be prepared not only for the standard one-on-one,
question-and-answer format, but also for panel interview, behavioral interview,
and audition interview formats. Whatever the format, interviewees should constantly
focus on showing how they can help the organization reach its goals. Effective
behavior for the interviewee includes looking good, being honest, answering
questions briefly, and finding common ground with the interviewer. Every employment
interview should be followed by a letter of thanks from the applicant to the
Federal and state laws restrict interviewers from asking questions that are
not related to the bona fide occupational qualifications of a job. In this chapter,
we listed both acceptable and unacceptable questions and practices and suggested
strategies for responding to illegal questions.
Performance appraisal interviews give superiors and their subordinates a structured
way to look at the quality of the subordinate's performance. When conducted
skillfully, these sessions are welcomed by most employees as a chance to learn
how they are viewed by management.
Three styles can be used in performance appraisal interviews: tell-and-sell,
tell-and-listen/listen-and-tell, and problem-solving. The best style varies
from one type of employee to another. Whatever the approach, all appraisal interviews
should begin with a definition of the criteria used to evaluate the employee.
Next, the employee's performance should be evaluated according to these criteria.
Finally, manager and employee should set goals for the next evaluation period.