Interviewing Skills Training

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Begin at the Beginning

Related:   Analysing the Position    > Begin at the Beginning <   Requirements of the Corporate Culture   Self Management Skills  
Begin at the Beginning

Beginning at the Beginning

Beginning at the beginning is always the sensible thing to do. That's especially true when it comes to conducting employment interviews. But just where does the road to a successful job interview begin? The answer: with the job itself!

Begin by embarking on a systematic review of the job, a process known as introspective investigation. Your objective is to collect as much information as possible about how the job is done and what knowledge and skills are needed to perform it. Here are a few suggestions that will help you collect the information you need:

  • Take a close look at the official job description, paying particular attention to established performance standards.
  • Consider the environment in which the job is performed. Are there any special skills required? For example, a public relations or sales position will usually be performed in an environment requiring exceptional interpersonal skills and an ability to relate to people with diverse interests.
  • Determine the product produced by the job and what is required to ensure consistent quality of that product.
  • Examine business plans that may affect the position. Will the job change as a result of changes in business strategy? A few years ago a friend of mine was hired as west coast field sales manager by a large national insurance company. In six months he was asked to relocate to the home office located in the Midwest. The company was implementing a portion of its business plan that changed the way in which its products would be sold. Direct marketing would replace field sales. The business plan had been developed prior to the time my friend was hired, but no one bothered to inform him of the impending changes.
  • Make note of any machines or tools that must be used to perform the tasks of the job.
  • Solicit the input of the person who supervises the position.
  • Talk with workers in the organization who regularly interact with the position to determine their perspective on what qualifications the successful applicant should possess.
  • Don't forget to talk with those who have held the job in the past. What competencies and skills contributed to their success? Did the lack of certain competencies or skills cause or contribute to difficulties that they experienced on the job?

Through introspective investigation, you gather the information that you need to begin the hiring process. There are no shortcuts, but if you're serious about matching the right job with the right candidate, time invested in this task will be well rewarded.

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