The interview process is a part of nearly all hiring decisions, and is considered by many experts to be the most important form of hiring practices. Through a series of questions and answers, the interview process allows both the potential employer and prospective employee to get to know one another and discuss the position and workplace. While resumes can give a good idea as to skill level and basic qualifications of a candidate, the interview process can provide insight into the attitude and character of the applicant.
For the job-seeker, the interview process can reveal many things about the job, workplace, and employer. Many people try to get interviews after seeing only a short advertisement or posting that gives only the general title and basic requirements of the job. Going for an interview allows the applicant to ask questions about exact duties, chain of command, potential for advancement, workplace atmosphere, and salary or benefits. Although the interview may seem to be about whether the candidate is right for the job, it is also for the candidate to decide whether the job is right for him or her.
Employers may conduct an interview process in a variety of ways. Often, interviews are a second or final step of the hiring process, after initial applications and resumes have been submitted. An employer may choose to interview all of the candidates, or a few top applicants that seem to have the most experience. Getting an interview may depend on the candidate's applicable skills, personal contacts, reputation within the industry, or even the number of applicants.
Interviews may be conducted over the phone or in person. Phone interviews are often a preliminary step to in-person interviews, and may be done to narrow the field to only a few candidates. Since the interview process may take place weeks or months after applications are submitted, phone interviews allow the employer to establish whether the applicant is still interested in the job. In person interviews permit the most detailed examination for both the candidate and the employer, and may take much longer than a phone interview.
During the interview process, the employer may ask a variety of questions about the applicant's motives, ambitions, experience, education, and personality. These help determine why the applicant wants the job, whether he or she is prepared for the duties of the job, and what type of attitude he or she may bring to the workplace. Some employers may rate or grade applicants based on their answers, though this information is generally kept private. Ratings and grades may be weighted depending on the employer and the job; some may consider skills more important than attitude, for instance. After all interviews are completed, the employer will usually give the job to the person with the highest weighted rating, though several rounds of interviews may be conducted to reach this conclusion.
Pro tip: make sure to send a thank you email after your interview.