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Guide to Interviewing

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  1. Guide to Interviewing

  2. Interviews Conducting an Interview • Minimize digression • Listen (Active) • Allow time for thinking • Avoid criticism or condescending remarks • Avoid buzzwords • Be interested and attentive • Avoid distractions and confrontation • Relax and answer politely

  3. Interviews Preparing • Perform background research on unit or process • Identify Respondents • Prepare interview content • Schedule time and place • Perform background research on Respondent

  4. Interview Experience • What is the best & worst experience that you have had • As an interviewer • As an interviewee • What made these experiences – best/worst? • What would have prevented & improved the worst experience?

  5. The interview • More than just a conversation • "…. A specialist form of two-way communication conducted for a task-related purpose." (Whetton 1995)

  6. Expectations and propositions • Information generated via the interview process provides data for decision-making • Training enhances performance – both as an interviewer and interviewee

  7. Types of interview • Research/information gathering • Selection • Counselling/support • Appraisal • Development • Complaint/grievance • Disciplinary • Exit

  8. Types of interviews • Three steps in successful interviewing • The interview schedule • The interview guide • Conducting the interview • Rapport • Questioning • Interview review • The interviewee Dos and don’ts

  9. Interviews Interviews are in essence guided dialogues to gain information, made effective by using a well prepared interview guide. Some examples are: • Requirements gathering interviews • Post implementation review interviews • Job and team selection interviews • Performance review interviews • Exit interviews

  10. Three steps in successful interviewing • Preparation: produce an interview schedule and interview guides. • Execution: conduct the interviews • Review: write up the interview notes

  11. Steps in the interview process Preparation Execution Review Interview Interview guides Interview notes format Interview schedule Who you are going to interview, why, when and where? What questions are you going to ask? • Structure • Rapport • Listen • Probe • Clarify What results were obtained? • Information found • Decisions • Actions An interview guide should be created prior to all interviews to ensure the interviews are focused and efficient and enable comparison and summarisation.

  12. The interview schedule An interview schedule is helpful, to track who is going to be interviewed, when and why.

  13. Preparing the interview schedule • Identify what the objectives of the interviews are, what information you need to find out and therefore what areas of the business you need to obtain information from. • Identify who needs to be interviewed to obtain this information. • Create an interview schedule, allowing time to review and record notes between interviews. • Book the interviews and record them in the schedule.

  14. The interview guide To make the most out of an interview, a well thought through interview guide is extremely helpful.

  15. Preparing the interview guide • Determine the objectives of the interview. • Plan the structure of the interview. • Prepare interview questions. • Prepare additional notes if they assist. For example having an organisation chart helps in clarifying roles and responsibilities. The interview guide enables standardisation of interviews for effective comparison and summarisation

  16. Guidelines for structuring an interview Focused Many interviewees tend to go ‘off on tangents’ during interviews. Your interview guide should clearly state the boundaries for your interview. These should be stated generally at the beginning with more specific instructions to refocus when appropriate. Quantifiable Open questions tend to produce long answers that are difficult to quantify and compare. If you need measured responses ask the interviewee to assign a value to their answer so direct comparisons to be made. For example How reliable is the current system, what score would you give it out of ten? Complete Check that the guide addresses all the objectives of the interview and have a colleague review it.

  17. Interview execution Interviews are exceptionally rich sources of information. However, no two interviewees are alike: some tend to ramble, others are suspicious and curt, some will need only the slightest encouragement to speak their minds, while others will have to be guided along. The interviewer’s job is to conduct the interview to gather the information required, which takes skill, practice and structure. Once you have concluded your interviews, they must be summarised to yield the ‘big picture’. Your questions should therefore allow for valid comparison and summarisation of your interviewee’s viewpoints.

  18. How to conduct the interview Introduction • Conduct at their place of work where possible • Always state the reason for the interview and how it will be conducted • Put the interviewee at ease • Ask the interviewee if they agree to you taking notes • Listen to the answers and request clarification if necessary • Avoid making criticisms or taking sides • Keep control of the interview: refocus the interviewee if they are ramblingor clarify if they misunderstood the question • Stay focused and follow your interviewguide • Allow the interviewee to ask questions Body Wrap-up • Thank the interviewee • Advise them what the next steps are and the timeframe

  19. Build rapport Your interview needs to balance the building of rapport and collecting of required information. Introduction Gain rapport first. Explain the context, set the tone, and make the interviewee feel at ease. The introduction serves to: • Introduce yourself • Gauge the interviewee’s style, expectations and concerns • Confirm the timeframe Sequence the interview items Items should be ordered by importance and sensitivity. The more sensitive your interviewee, the more important it is to avoid an ‘inquisitorial’ interview tone. A non-threatening format for interviews involves the careful arrangement of interview topics: • General before specific • External before internal • Historic before current

  20. Listen and question Listen To reassure the interviewee you are listening and to gain information: • use non-verbal cues such as head nods to show you are listening. • wait until the current question is answered before preparing the next one • listen for emotions and attitudes as well as facts • interrupt only if you sense avoidance of answering the question or if the interviewee has drifted too far from the topic • request clarification and ask follow on questions Ask open questions To initiate discussion on a broad subject and to encourage a comprehensive explanation: • use clear, direct phrasing that asks a single question • ask how, what or when but avoid the intimidating why question Ask closed questions To elicit a specific reply: • use this type of question sparingly to avoid appearing as an interrogator • ask in order to understand rather than impress • be concise

  21. Open questioning Examples: “So what do you enjoy about the role?” “Are there any other issues I should be aware of?” Advantages Disadvantages • Puts interviewee at ease • Interesting for interviewee • Provides depth of detail • Reveals other areas of enquiry • You may lose control • May use up too much time • Interviewer may appear unprepared • Harder to analyse later • Lower reliability of data

  22. Closed questioning Examples: “Is the new form better or worse than the old form?” “Is it Mary or Jane who enter the application details?” “Do you stamp the form before or after the details are recorded? Advantages Disadvantages • Efficient use of time • Easy to compare interviews • Higher reliability of data • Less interviewing skill needed • Focuses interviewee • Can be boring for interviewees • Doesn’t provide the opportunity to qualify answers • You may miss other areas

  23. Probe questioning Probe questioning is honing in on a particular area of interest and drilling down to obtain more detail. It includes asking for more information to clarify a vague phrase or statement made by the interviewee such as ‘quite high’ or ‘often late’. Probe questioning needs to be balanced with open and closed questioning to avoid the interview seeming like an interrogation. Examples: “How does that happen?” “How did that change impact your department?” “What specifically do they do as a result of that?” Advantages Disadvantages • Provides data on new aspects • Supplies detail in context • Shows interest in conversation • Can appear threatening

  24. Paraphrasing Paraphrasing is a technique used to confirm or clarify something the interviewee has said or implied. There are three levels of paraphrasing: • The first level confirms or clarifies expressed thoughts and feelings, for example: “so there are three factors that determine the present situation” • The second confirms implied thoughts or feelings, for example: “so you would really like to change this situation” • The third surfaces core thoughts or feelings, for example: “you are afraid that it might make things worse for you” or “so you think the strategy is wrong” (Note that with paraphrasing of feelings you can trigger a strong emotional response particularly with this third option )

  25. Common approaches • Unstructured • Stress (validity?) • Semi-structured • Structured

  26. Issues • Your role as a decision-maker/actor • Interview purposes & objectives • Structure and content • Environment (physical and psychological) • The interviewer • Data collection and processing strategies • The communication exchange (interviewer-interviewee) – explicit, implicit, verbal and non-verbal • Organisational policy and expectations

  27. The Selection Interview • Preparation and organisation • The interview process • Interviewing skills • Discrimination between candidates • Finalising the decision & "contract"

  28. Reception • Schedule for the day • candidates • receiving applicants • site security, car parks • travel and subsistence arrangements • waiting place

  29. Interview Strategies • Frank and friendly vs. Interrogation & stress • Biographical journey • Critical events and experiences - what, why, how, options, plans, outcomes? • Problem-solving - “imaging yourself as ...what would you do if...? • Strengths & weaknesses of • individual, sequential panel interviews • GASP

  30. Interviewer Preparation The GASP Interview • Greeting • Acquiring Information • Supplying Information • Parting

  31. GASP – Greeting & rapport • Genuine positive regard – Move towards • Calm, neutral, no interruptions, safe. • Maintain rapport • seating voice, eye contact, warmth and body posture.....NVC • Preparation & “contract of interest & expectation” • Smooth gear change

  32. GASP - Acquiring Information • Listen more - talk less. • Objectivity, bias, stereotyping & premature judgement • Not adversarial. Halo, horns and doppleganger • Taking notes • Question carefully (preparation) • well-structured, open-ended questions • probe and link • direct, leading, trick and taboo questions • Emphasise biography/experience, explanation/analysis • Mental agility and hypothetical questions • Interview flow with control: - agenda, space, time • Summarise periodically and conclude

  33. Asking questions • Open-ended, well-sequenced, well-structured • Tell me about …..Six honest serving men • Closed (pros & cons?) • Probe, link and follow-up (control) • Leading (candidate adaptation) • Intrusive

  34. GASP - Journey • Recent & significant jobs/projects • contributions, events/phases, initiatives, products, achievements, decisions. Strengths and gaps • Competencies from REAL experience • knowledge/understanding, analytical skill, written/numeric, specialist & technical. • attitudes & values, drives & motivation • Interpersonal relations – visualise with others • Education, training, learning & development • Personal & domestic topics - relevance/irrelevant • Applicant’s questions about • the organisation and the job - current & prospective • terms of employment

  35. Yourself as an interviewer? Good Points? Weaknesses? Interview exercise and analysis.

  36. GASP: Supplying Information • cutting it short (horns/halo, premature judgement) • equal opportunity to all candidates • intimation of acceptance (verbal + non-verbal) • Potential for misunderstanding. No promises. • Communicating a decision • hints to attractive candidates (in a competitive situation) • intra-organisational bargaining • the decision in writing • subject to references • Career advice to rejected candidates? Culture?

  37. GASP: Parting • Signal closure - NVC plus • maintain concentration • clarify future steps - the selection schedule • verify • dates - holidays and availabilities • phone, post • stand up, move, parting courtesies

  38. Anderson and Shackleton, Successful Selection Interviewing, Blackwell, 1993 pp 69 “Utilised properly; depending on its exact purpose, the interview emerges as a valid reliable tool in candidate assessment. ..... its flexibility to .... as a medium for mutual preview or as a final stage for negotiation between the parties, renders the interview more useful in selection than narrowly focused definitions of validity & reliability can convey”

  39. Validity and Reliability Issues • Premature decision • tentative pre-determined views seldom altered at interview • accept/reject within 3-4 min. Evidence to confirm first impression • Weak candidates make average candidates look good • Propositions • practice alone does not improve performance • training and performance review does • The drama may not reflect the job • Panel interviews - defer to influential members • Poor correlation of views when choice is confidential • Psycho tests - strong, belief and practice (cf: evidence).

  40. The Potential for Distortion • Halo or horns effect • Stereotyping (function and dysfunction) • Physical environment • Psychological state • Poor listening (active vs. passive listening) • Lack of interview competence

  41. Types of interviews – APPRAISAL • Appraisal interview • One member of staff (usually a manager) appraises aspects of the performance of another member of staff (usually a subordinate)

  42. Types of Appraisal Interview • Tell and listen • Tell and sell • Joint problem-solving • Mixed model interview

  43. The appraisal process • Establishing the agenda • The Interview • Action planning • Pre-interview form filling • Handling disagreements e.g. grand parenting

  44. Types of interviews – COUNSELLING - 1 • The manager as counsellor – equipped for the role? • Operational vs. personal counselling • Directive çè Non-directive • Dependency, confusion & responsibility • Trust and genuine positive regard • GASP: Mixed model with substantial unstructured component

  45. Types of interviews – COUNSELLING - 2 • Opening up & expressing concerns (interviewee) • Defining "the problems" – how the interviewee sees and defines the problem • Testing reality • Mirroring assumptions • Courses of action • Closure and follow-up

  46. Types of Interviews – COMPLAINT/GRIEVANCE - 1 • Moan, gripe, complaint • Grievance - a formal complaint made by an employee against a colleague or the organisation • Problems of "policy and procedure" • Problem perception, information and power/status • I'm OK, You're not OK. "Now I've got you, you SOS" • Neutral processing • Rescue the managers and establish KARMA

  47. Types of Interviews – COMPLAINT/GRIEVANCE - 2 • Verifying the claim rights • Importance of shared, agreed information • Safeguards in procedure • Formality of the interviews • Recognising "the person" - perception of self and acting on the problem • Equity – the complainant and the "complained about" – the discrimination issue

  48. Types of interview – DISCIPLINE - 1 • Rights not to be unfairly dismissed • Natural justice & reasonableness in procedure • Disciplinary action • Formally sanctioned, organisational action in which an individual is informed that their work-related behaviour is not acceptable. • Reasons & "fair" dismissal"Conduct, capability, redundancy, statutory rule, some other big reason • Automatically unfair.

  49. Types of interview – DISCIPLINE - 2 • Informal, prior supervisory communication & guidance • Minor conduct which runs counter to express & implied contractual obligations • From irritation to substantial, non-fulfilment of obligations • Gross misconduct (severed roots)

  50. Types of interview – DISCIPLINE - 3 • Importance of evidence • Defendant's rights – law & natural justice • Equitable procedures • Very formal, systematic interviews • Representation • Corrective versus punitive action • Interview tension and reaction – the "afront" • Recording and communication