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Communicating at Work: Principles and Practices for Business and Professions, 7/e
Ronald B. Adler
Jeanne Marquardt Elmhorst

Types of Interviews

Chapter Overview

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 interviewer.

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.