Job Interviewing Overview – Purpose & Process

What is an interview?
An interview is a meeting between a job applicant and a representative of the company. The meeting comes about because the company had a job available. People applied for the job. The company needs to decide who to hire.

What is the purpose of the interview?
The purpose of the interview is for the company to get a good look at you. It is the company’s chance to ask you questions about your work experience. It is the company’s opportunity to see if you would fit in with the other employees.

The interview is also your opportunity to look at the company. You get to ask questions about the company’s business. It is your opportunity to see if the company suits you.

In the 1800’s when a company needed workers, they would put a sign outside the building. If the sign read: “Tall Men Needed”, there would be no reason for you to apply if you didn’t reach the mark on the door.

If you owned a mill and needed a man to work with the grinding stones, the interview would consist of your examination of the applicant’s hands. The hand that worked the stones would be rough and would have stone embedded in it. Smooth hands would tell you that the applicant did not know how to do the job.

Today, an interview is still a visual inspection and usually includes a pre-employment drug screen.

The different types of interviews
There are two basic types of interviews:

  1. Screening Interview
  2. Selection Interview

1. The Screening Interview

  • Determines whether the candidate is in or out.
  • Does the candidate have the skills necessary to perform the job?
  • Questions are designed to collect facts.
  • Clear and concise answers are looked for.

This is usually done by reading the applications and the resumes. Sometimes this screening will be conducted over the telephone.

A manager I know had 23 applicants for an open position. They all looked great from the applications and resumes. The position required excellent telephone skills. She decided to call each person first. All 23 candidates were taken out of the running because of the way they answered their telephones. She saved a lot of time and effort by making the calls first.

2. The Selection Interview

  • Usually conducted by the person with the authority to hire.
  • Can you do the tasks required by the position?
  • Are you willing and motivated to solve the employer’s problems?
  • Are you going to fit in?
  • Will I be comfortable seeing you every day?

Selection interviews can be one on one or panel interviews.

A one on one interview means you are being interviewed by one other person. This could be the manager, the human resources representative, or the owner of the business.

A panel interview means that you will be interviewed by more than one person at the same time. It could be three or it could be seven people. Each person asks you a question. The other individuals are told to observe you and listen carefully to your response.


For a teaching lesson plan for this lesson see:
Interview Overview Lesson Plan

Categories Careers, Interviewing

3 thoughts on “Job Interviewing Overview – Purpose & Process”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *