Skills of Interviewing
Key skill & activity for managers & HRM
Problem-analysis & decision-making
What is the best & worst experience that you
As an interviewer
As an interviewee
What made these experiences – best/worst?
What would have prevented & improved the
More than just a conversation
"…. A specialist form of two-way
communication conducted for a
task-related purpose." (Whetton 1995)
Expectations and propositions
Information generated via the interview process
provides data for decision-making
Training enhances performance – both as an
interviewer and interviewee
Types of interview
Your role as a decision-maker/actor
Interview purposes & objectives
Structure and content
Environment (physical and psychological)
The interviewer – NPower, NAch, NRelate
Data collection and processing strategies
The communication exchange (interviewer-
interviewee) – explicit, implicit, verbal and non-verbal
Organisational policy and expectations
The Selection Interview
Preparation and organisation
The interview process
Discrimination between candidates
Finalising the decision & "contract"
Job descriptions & authorisation
Job criteria - competencies
Personnel specification (profile/model of ideal candidate)
Essentials - desirables - disqualifiers
Applicant information from various data sources
Selector preparation and appreciation of
role demands, choices, constraints, ambiguities, priorities, overloads,
pressures/conflicts, organisational change
the social milieu - rules and tensions
Selector egoism, the political process of “justifying” the selection.
The Psychometric-Objective Model
Smooth programmed administration
Measured, controlled, predictable, systematic search often using
Match evidence of qualities to job
Compare with social process approach
Interplay between selection events
Social and ritual aspects. Audition. Power vetting
Candidate & selector feelings/responses
Intra organisational negotiation & adjustment
Candidate - given fair opportunity or “club” scrutiny
• Frank and friendly vs. Interrogation & stress
• Simulate stress. Put on the spot? Validity? Spurious appeal?
• Strengths and weaknesses of
• individual interview
• sequential interviews
• panel interviews
• Biographical journey
• Critical events and experiences - what, why, how, options,
• Problem-solving - “imaging yourself as ...what would you do
The GASP Interview
Greeting Interviewer Preparation
GASP – Greeting & rapport
Genuine positive regard – Move towards
Calm, neutral, no interruptions, safe.
seating voice, eye contact, warmth and body
Preparation & “contract of interest & expectation”
Smooth gear change
GASP - Acquiring Information
Listen more - talk less.
Objectivity, bias, stereotyping & premature judgement
Not adversarial. Halo, horns and doppleganger
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
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)
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
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)
the decision in writing
subject to references
Career advice to rejected candidates? Culture?
Signal closure - NVC plus
clarify future steps - the selection schedule
dates - holidays and availabilities
stand up, move, parting courtesies
The Good Interviewer?
• sharp & in focus, specific & rational
• at times intuitive as well as systematically analytical & evaluating
• picking up nuances and rationalisations
• stepping back to see the whole interaction, fitting things together
and noting the time left and areas to cover....
• Interviewer calmness helps the candidate to relax
• clear perception
• Positive regard for the other
• Aware of self and biases
• Use productive silences & seamless asking of questions.
• Counteracts habituated boredom in interviews
Yourself as an interviewer?
Interview exercise and analysis.
GASP Interview Issues
Tentative, pre-determined views seldom altered at interview
accept/reject within 3-4 min. Gather evidence to confirm first impression
Weak candidates make average candidates look good
interview practice alone does not improve performance, training does
Dramatic performance may not reflect job. Interviewees as actors.
Panels - defer to influential. Poor correlation when choice is confidential
Psychometric tests - weak evidence but belief/practice strong.
Validity of the psychometric-objective model?
The Potential for Distortion
Halo, horns, doppleganger effects
function & dysfunction
Poor listening (active vs. passive listening)
Lack of interviewer competence
What is it? What form does it take?
How does it occur?
Is there positive and negative value?
Problems of signs, signifiers, interpretation.
Presentation of self - Front - stage and audience
What dangers for fairness and equity?
Types of interviews – APPRAISAL
One member of staff (usually a manager)
appraises aspects of the performance of
another member of staff (usually a
Mediation and intervention mechanisms?
Types of Appraisal Interview
Tell and listen
Tell and sell
Mixed model interview
The appraisal process
Establishing the agenda
Pre-interview form filling
Handling disagreements e.g. grand parenting
Types of interviews – COUNSELLING - 1
The manager as counsellor – equipped for the role?
Operational vs. personal counselling
Dependency, confusion & responsibility
Trust and genuine positive regard
GASP: Mixed model with substantial unstructured component
Types of interviews – COUNSELLING - 2
Opening up & expressing concerns (interviewee)
Defining "the problems" – how the interviewee sees and
defines the problem
Courses of action
Closure and follow-up
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"
Rescue the managers and establish KARMA
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
Types of interview – DISCIPLINE - 1
Rights not to be unfairly dismissed
Natural justice & reasonableness in procedure
Formally sanctioned, organisational action in which an
individual is informed that their work-related behaviour is not
Reasons & "fair" dismissal"
Conduct, capability, redundancy, statutory rule, some
other big reason
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
Gross misconduct (severed roots)
Types of interview – DISCIPLINE - 3
Importance of evidence
Defendant's rights – law & natural justice
Very formal, systematic interviews
Corrective versus punitive action
Interview tension and reaction – the "afront"
Recording and communication
Types of interview – DISCIPLINE - 4
Stress, bullying and constructive dismissal
Intra-organisational bargaining & authorisation
Consistency of supervision and communication
The trust/separation puzzle