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Maximizing the Interview Process

May 25, 2010
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While the job search and recruitment process has been greatly aided by the internet, the final connection between employer and job applicant still comes down to the traditional job interview. Employers use the interview to be sure the person they hire has the qualifications, experience and temperament to be a contributing team member. Job candidates want to know that the company they seek to join will be a good career move.

But in today’s busy world, streamlining the process to save time and costs are in everybody’s interests. Here are some tips for making the interview process more efficient and effective.

Phone It In First
Both employers and applicants can benefit from a pre-interview telephone screening. A phone interview can save time and allow both parties to make a more informed decision. It makes sense for an employer to ask these basic questions over the phone before scheduling a face-to-face interview.

1. Why are you leaving your current job?
2. Why do you want to work for our company?
3. What are your career goals?
4. What can you do to help us?
5. What can we do to help you?

There’s no “correct” answer to any of these questions. But the responses can provide the employer with a quick read on an applicant’s commitment and level of interest. And the applicant can get a feel for what is going to be expected of them if they are hired. In the end, both may find that the job is not a good fit and decide to skip the sit down interview.

Look Beyond the Resume
If you do decide to go ahead with a face-to-face interview, don’t limit the discussion to the narrow facts of a resume or job description. Both interviewer and applicant should take the opportunity to get a better feel for the “fit” between them.

For example, the representative of the employer should ask, “What can you tell me about our company?” A well-prepared job applicant should know key facts about the company. There is no excuse not to; with the internet it is easy to research a potential employer. Still, many job seekers arrive at an interview unprepared.

On the applicant’s part, ask questions about the company’s mission, products and competitors. This shows an attention to detail and interest in more than just a paycheck.
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