Current Affairs

What is an Interview – Interviews and a Concept of Mutuality

The Oxford Dictionary defines an interview as a face-to-face meeting, especially for the purpose of obtaining a statement or for assessing the qualities of a candidate. Interview is derived from the French word entrevoir which means glimpse. This, therefore, indicates a physical meeting of people with two possible objectives:
(a) To obtain a statement or opinion as is done when film stars are interviewed to get their views on any particular role, or when the prime minister is interget a statement on result of his discussion with another political leader.
(b) To assess a person for selection such as interviews for jobs, admission to educational institutions or even for finding a suitable partner in marriage.

This article will be concerned with the second objective with special reference to interviews for jobs. The principles governing an interview would, however, remain the same even for interviews having the first objective.
It seems clear from the definition and objectives given above that the purpose of an interview is to create an opportunity for people to meet and converse with each other on a matter of mutual benefit. The participants include an interviewer or interviewers who pose questions relating to the objective of the interview and an interviewee who answers them. This does not exclude the interviewee from asking questions too and therein lies the concept of mutuality where both parties benefit. A successful interview cannot be a one-way street. It must be an occasion for discussion in which questions and answers are posed by both sides. Most of us fear being interviewed because we approach the interview as a one- sided affair. Since we are concerned with job interviews in this post, let us see how the organisation, interviewer and interviewee are all stakeholders in an interview and have something to gain from it.

What the Organisation has at Stake
The success of any organisation depends on its people. An organisation may have expensive assets, extensive facilities and efficient systems and processes. The successful usage of these lies in the hands of the persons in the organisations. The persons have to possess the right knowledge, skills and attitudes to accomplish the necessary tasks and functions. Therefore, one of the main concerns of an organisation is to have the right person for the right job. The interview enables
organisations to choose the right person for a given vacancy. Hence, those who are assigned the task of finding the right people are as anxious in making the right selection as the interviewees are interested in being selected.
An organisation spends vast sums of money in selection processes thereby deploying dear financial resources that could have been used elsewhere. Organisations are under pressure to make these investments productive by selecting people who will ultimately bring returns to the organisation with their own contributions towards the organisation’s goals and objectives which will far exceed the investment in recruitment expenditure. If one had to add up the prohibitive costs of job advertisements in newspapers and journals together with airfares, board and lodging, interview hall and local transportation costs, it would amount to a fairly expensive investment. A job vacancy sometimes takes an organisation several months to have it filled. This lead-time is a loss to the organisation as the position becomes unproductive with out the person. When the interview takes place, the organisation must make sure that the wait was worth it by selecting the right person.

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