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Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Art of Interviewing - Part 2


I am pleased to say that my 2 days of interviewing went well and I actually got quite a buzz out of it all.

Whether job applicants like it or not, the recruitment interview is probably the most tried and tested way of determining whether to employ someone.

There are many advantages including:

  • Ability to assess person's verbal fluency and communication skills
  • Ability to assess person's fit with the organisation and team
  • Chance to assess job applicant's knowledge
  • Flexible situation with opportunity to ask more questions if required.

As well as some downsides:

  • Can make subjective evaluations
  • Not as reliable as tests
  • Strong likelihood that decisions tend to be taken in first few minutes

Being on the other side of the desk, I could see how much an interview is a two way process. The better candidates make an interviewer's life easier and the interview seems to flow more, compared to weaker candidates where the interviewers have to gather more evidence and probe deeper, taking more time.

Strong candidates can come from any sector, as long as they are able to demonstrate that they are competent by giving thought through evidence and examples from any are of their current or past work or from a social environment. Interviewers want to see the candidates succeed and demonstrate their skills.

There is occassionally debate in the library professional press about changing sectors. Based on my experience of being on an interview panel it can be done, if you can demonstrate and speak with confidence about your skills in your application and in the interview.

On the other side of the desk, you gain a number of valuable skills including those of listening, questionning and assessing as well as gaining a new enthusiasm.

Interviewing is also about teamwork. Everybody on an interview panel is there for a reason and has something to contribute including, for instance, HR who can bring their expertise from other recruitment rounds and knowledge of the job market overall.

All in all I loved it!!

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