Interviewing is usually a very important part of the process of finding a job.
This is when both sides of the process have an opportunity to meet and evaluate "the other side."
Employers try to decide if the person is qualified and seems to be someone who is suitable for the organization.
Job seekers evaluate the people they meet, the questions they are asked, as well as the locations, the commutes, and whether or not the jobs seem like good jobs for them..
Both sides of the process have an opportunity to evaluate the "fit." Does this feel like a good match?
If a job seeker's resume passes the resume screen, the job interviews are usually the next major step in the pre-employment screening process. The result can be, for the job seeker, like running through a mine field. One misstep, and you're OUT - a very stressful situation.
The hiring process can vary widely depending on the size of the employer, the "culture" of the company, and the job being filled.
Hopefully, you will also be evaluating the employer in addition to trying to "make a sale" -- asking good questions. But, millions of people are hired every month in the USA, even in tough economic times. The articles in this section will help you understand what you need to do, help you prepare, and succeed.
The process described below is typical of average-sized employers for an average job. Some employers and jobs will be more complex and difficult, and some will be simpler.
Preparation is key to succeeding in your job interviews. Most employers have seen too many candidates who don't seem to really be interested in the job or who think that getting a job interview is the same as getting a job offer.
Demonstrate your interest in the job (and figure out if you really want the job) by being well prepared for every job interview.
Also, develop your answers to the questions using recruiter Jeff Lipschultz's Smart Answers to Interview Questions. You will impress them, and you will also have a better idea of whether or not you want to work for the employer.
For job candidates who seem to meet the requirements specified for the job and have passed the online research, employers usually begin the interviewing process with a screening interview. Some employers have assessment tests for certain jobs that they want the candidates to take before moving on with the process.
This prescreening process hopefully saves everyone time and effort before moving on to the more stressful and time-consuming in-person interviews.
This step is usually comprised of one of two types of screening that typically take less than one hour:
When you have passed the initial screening and been asked to continue in the process, the first round of interviews may be what you expect -- or they may not.
This step usually involves at least one and as many as three or four hours, or more, of your time interacting with the employer's staff, often in a series of interviews:
If the process continues to a second and third round of interviews, you will probably meet new people, those who would be co-workers or members of other associated departments who would interact with you if you get the job.
Typically, you will be asked the same questions in the second and any following rounds of interviews as you are asked in the earlier interviews.
You might be invited to a newer type of interview which can be more stressful. It is called a speed interview and you may not be the only interviewed. Similar to speed dating, several job candidates in the speed interview are in a room with several interviewers. Each interview is one-on-one for a specified period of time. Then, they move on to the next interviewer.
You may experience other types of interviews including lunch (or dinner) interviews where you need to be careful about talking with your mouth full of food. Some interviews are called audition interviews and you are expected to demonstrate that you can do the job.
See the most frequently asked questions with sample answers plus the best strategies for answering effectively here:
Interviewers typically ask the same questions in job interviews. It's easy for them to do, often working from a prepared list of questions. After the interviews are over, comparing candidates is also easier.
We have compiled a list of the common job interview questions with the best strategies for answering them, from what's your greatest weakness to why are you leaving your current job (or why were you fired from your last one).
The waiting game after a job interview can be the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process. From writing a thank you note to figuring out why didn't they get back to you when they said they would, the post-interview period can drive you crazy and can also, if not handled well, end opportunities for you.
For more details, read:
While it is an important, even critical, part of the hiring process, job interviews are an opportunity for each "side of the desk" to evaluate the other.
As part of your preparation process, pay attention to what you discover about the employer. Did any questions occur to you based on what you find? Evaluate the employer based on your needs and preferences.
Then, in the actual interview, ask questions to collect information about the employer. In the first job interview, don't ask the salary, vacation, and other "selfish" questions (save those for later, when you have a job offer to consider).
In the first interview, ask the questions that help you determine if this job with this employer really represents a good opportunity for you. Does the work sound like what you want to do? Do you like the people and the location? Is this really a place where you want to work?
Even in this economy, job seekers can use this face-to-face interaction, often taking place in the work environment, to evaluate the employer and the opportunity.
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.