Tuesday, April 7, 2020

An Interview is a Bilateral Process

An Interview is a Bilateral Process

Planning & Preparation

The lack of adequate planning for an interview is the greatest single fault found in my 20+ years of reviewing the interviewing process for companies ranging from small business, start-ups, and multi-national corporations.  It is important to start with knowing what you want.  Take the time to figure out what you are looking to get out of the interview and to plan and prepare accordingly.

Building Rapport

The general tone of the interview should be one of helpfulness, positive engagement, and an overall relaxed and organized environment so as to minimize any immediate barriers to forthright communication.

This includes having the interviewer(s) or a representative of the organization greet the individual upon their arrival, offer them a glass of water, a private area to wait so that they avoid running into other candidates or employees they may know, and explain that someone would be there take them to the interview shortly.

Upon commencement of the interview, avoid jumping in and rattling off questions.  Ease into the meeting in order to build trust and rapport.  You will notice that individuals who feel more “at ease” are more apt to provide detail and offer expansive responses.  In addition, they tend to provide more insight into who they are vs what you are reviewing on their resume.

Although not relative for an initial interview, something to consider as a 2nd or 3rd touch point in the interview process would be to meet at a neutral location for a coffee and have a more relaxed conversation.  Try to have the discussion focused less on the role, but more about establishing fit for the team.  This can also be done via Zoom or any other video platform!

Developing Information

As my Marketing 101 instructor reinforced to us…”Clarify. Clarify. Clarify”

In reviewing questioning techniques, we’ve had the opportunity to review thousands of interviews held for the purpose of selecting job applicants, appraising executive performance, or counseling employees in their careers with a diverse spectrum of clients and within all industry segments. One of the many conclusions from this experience was the positive utilization of broad, general questions as an interview pattern. This allows the respondent to answer, which once this information is released, the interviewer can sharpen the focus with specific questions eliciting more specific answers.
Life Experience

Life experiences are the significant events in your own personal history you remember because they made you feel good, satisfied, engaged, invigorated, inspired, and in the flow. Looking back, whatever the outcome, you feel proud and fulfilled by those experiences.

It’s important that an interviewer explore this as it will provide further insight into the exposure the individual has with diversity, culture, adversity, adapting, compassion, and empathy.

Examples are vast.  Whether it’s extensive volunteer work with a global initiative, playing professional or amateur sports, being the first person in your family to graduate from University, overcoming tragedy, or traveling the world, all of these experiences build the foundation of who we are and what separates us from others.


Art of listening

The art of listening is about finding out what the speaker thinks about. When employees listen to one another, they learn from one another. A free flow of ideas that are truly listened to can lead to a workplace where employees are constantly learning from each other.

The art of listening isn’t simply about staying quiet 100% of the time, it’s also about asking questions.  These questions are for clarification or for further explanation so that you can fully understand what the speaker is telling you.  Other key initiatives in order for you to master the art of listening include:

Make eye contact
Refrain from interrupting
Show you understand
Listen without judgement
Listen to non-verbal communication
Create a suitable environment (privacy/confidentiality)
Observe others

Concluding the meeting

The conclusion of the interview is perhaps the most important as it usually consists of a plan of action—something to be done or achieved by either or both parties. A clear, concise summary of this plan is a useful technique for achieving good results. The summary is helpful to both parties because it enables them to realize exactly what has been accomplished, allows for time to clarify questions, and discuss potential next steps in the process.


Take a breath and don’t be in a hurry to get to the next interview.  Take 15 minutes to take adequate notes of significant events, impressions, and information while your thoughts are fresh. By documenting a series of events, one is able to see things which, if merely left to the fragile human memory, may fuse into meaningless, disconnected scenes in a panorama of multiple interviews.
Avoid the impatience of quickly moving onto the next interview and succumbing to behavior resulting from a self-satisfying need to prove to yourself that you are busy.

Although not completely lost in our society, send an email (or better yet) a thank you card or gift certificate to the individual you just interviewed to acknowledge their time and commitment to the process.

NOTE:  All of this his can also be adjusted to accommodate interviews via Zoom or any other video platform!

Discover what we have to  offer...

Allan Welyk
President & Director
ELEVATE Search Group
6th Floor - 777 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC  V6Z 1S4 
 Phone:(604) 678 5627  I Fax: (778) 650 9801 
Email: allan@elevatesearchgroup.com

People. SolutionsCulture. Results.

Elevate Search Group collaborates and partners with companies to identify, recruit, and retain top-tiered professionals within all levels of leadership and non-leadership careers within business development, sales, marketing, operations, human resource, and supply chain management. Our client profiles range from local, regional, national, and global organizations.

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