Friday, June 16, 2006

Will you encounter structured interviewing?

Interviewing job candidates is a skill that most people just don't seem to have, and the process at most companies consists of a series of unstructured interviews with unskilled interviewers. Some companies, though, have an actual plan.

Mark Tsimelzon contributed a detailed explanation of his company's approach on Will Price's blog. Structured Interviewing (Via Dana VanDen Heuvel):

Like any complex process, the interviewing process is best structured and analyzed as a sequence of phases. At Coral8, we have four phases: email interview, phone interview, the first in-person interview (with 1-2 person), the second in-person interview (3-4 others). Whether you have the same stages or not is not important. What's important is having a clear understanding of a) why you are having each phase b) what you are trying to accomplish, and c) how you are going to evaluate the results. It helps if all the interviewers share this understanding, and keep the process as consistent across candidates as possible.

Read the post for the full explanation of what they do, and why, in each phase. There's also a warning about role-playing interviewers in on-site (group?) interviews:

Now, the candidate passed your interview, and you invited him to come again to "meet the team." Sounds innocent, but this is one of the more challenging parts of the process.

...For example, the team may agree that during the interview,
one team member will try to push the candidate a bit, disagree with him strongly on some issues, and see how the candidate handles it.

A structured process like this can be good news for the jobseeker, because it's designed to be an effective filter—much better than a simple keyword search. If you're qualified, the early knowledge test won't be a barrier, and you won't be lost in a sea of résumés from unqualified applicants. If you're unqualified, at least you won't waste your time on a job that you're not going to get.

Once you get the job, you can put everything you've learned about the hiring process to work on the other side of the table.



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