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Why Are Interviews So Important?

Employers across all industries utilize interviewing as one of the biggest determining factors in the hiring process.  Interviews offer a chance and an opportunity for the recruiter and the hiring manager to meet the candidate and assess their qualifications and capabilities.  Ultimately, interviews are important because it is the first face-to-face between the recruiter, the hiring manager, and the candidate.

The importance of interviews cannot be overstated.  It is why we’ve written tips on how to prepare for an interview and how body language can affect your chances at nailing your next interview. 

All of your hard work is put on the line during an interview.  The time you spent on your resume, perfecting the outline and adding in the keywords.  The research that you put into finding out about the company and their reviews and offerings.  The time you spent writing and rewriting your cover letter and customizing it for each job application.  All of that time and effort comes into full fruition during the interview.

Interviews are a candidate’s chance to fully showcase themselves and their abilities to accomplish the responsibilities of the role.  But, it’s more than that.  In addition to showcasing your abilities and understanding of the role responsibilities, an interview is a first impression.  It is showing your professionalism and your etiquette in front of the hiring manager.  It is being personable and likeable and making a lasting impression that will lead to a job offer.

What Do Interviewers Look For From A Candidate In An Interview?

Assessment of Understanding

At the end of the day, the interviewer wants to see that the candidate understands the required skills.  They are looking to assess a candidate’s ability to utilize those skills and to handle the roles and responsibilities that will be presented in the job role.  They want someone who is able to accomplish and excel in the role.

The interviewer will likely ask specific, pointed questions regarding the required skills.  They will also ask about your previous experience utilizing those skills and where you learnt those skills.  This is typically where a candidate would use the STAR method to answer those questions effectively.

An Interpersonal Connection

Let’s face it, we like working with people that we like and are cordial with.  A hiring manager will likely want to see how personable a candidate is and if they make a good first impression.  If the candidate is polite, cordial, professional, and likeable, then the hiring manager may feel more inclined to offer them the position.

Though this is only one factor amongst many, it is definitely an important one.  Having an immediate connection with the hiring manager and allying yourself with them will put both of you at ease and create a more open, relaxed conversation and mood.

Speaking and Communication Skills

Perhaps one of the most important skills in the corporate world is the ability to speak and communicate effectively.  Being able to communicate effectively helps to avoid problems and can lead to faster issue resolution.  In addition, effective communication can help with departmental needs and ensuring that your ideas and wants are properly conveyed.

During an interview, the hiring manager will look to see how well a candidate speaks and is able to communicate.  Though they don’t expect you to be perfect, they will want to see how you respond to a question, how you ask one, and how you present yourself when speaking.

Before the interview, you should practice speaking and preparing your questions and answers.  You can do this in front of a mirror or with a trusted friend or family member.

Confidence Levels

Again, while the hiring manager doesn’t expect you to have the confidence level of a Hollywood actor, they do want to see a certain level of confidence and self-assuredness. This confidence should be the ability to speak and interact in front of people and potential coworkers, colleagues, and clients.

Confidence is also particularly important for when an employee will need to speak or present to a large group of people.  This confidence level will assist them in that task and is something that the hiring manager will look for.

Social Behavior

A major factor that hiring managers look into is a candidate’s social behavior and their ability to read social cues.  Is the candidate cognizant of their surroundings?  Do they understand underlying, subtle, and unspoken rules?  A lot of business is done in “gray” areas.  That is, where there is no formal protocol or process.  By being able to read social cues properly, a candidate would be given a major leg-up over the other candidates.

Body Language and Etiquette

We’ve discussed previously how body language can affect your chances at nailing an interview.  Body language can be properly conveyed by sitting upright, smiling often, and utilizing your hands properly.  A candidate that slouches, appears disinterested, and doesn’t show much care during the interview shows that they do not care for the job role and will likely not be offered the position.

The Quality of the Answers

An interview is inherently different than speaking with a family member or a friend.  The interviewer and the hiring manager want to ensure you understand the questions and what is being discussed.  By utilizing industry terminology, acronyms, and words you can show the interviewer that you have a good grasp on the industry and the job.

Why Are Interviews Conducted?

Nearly every organization, whether large or small, conducts some form of an interview before hiring for an open position.  These interviews are meant to gather more information on the candidate and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the organization.

Legal Reasons

Legally, the company is beholden to the owners and shareholders.  They must follow certain regulatory and legal guidelines.  By conducting an interview, the recruiter and hiring manager ensure that the potential candidate is an individual fit and capable of working for the company.

Reduce the Overall Number of Candidates

For many open positions, dozens of candidates submit applications for the role.  While reading through those candidates resumes and cover letters can help to reduce the overall number of potential candidates, there is no better way to fully reduce the candidate pool then to conduct interviews.

Interviews provide hiring managers direct access and communication with the candidate.  By speaking directly with the candidate, they are able to better assess their qualities and skills and make a more informed decision on whom to hire.

Intellectual Assessment

Hiring managers can determine a candidate’s intellectual assessments via an in-person interview.  By asking direct and specific questions, the candidate is forced to provide an answer on the spot and without guidance or direction from outside sources. 

This intellectual assessment allows the hiring manager to make a more informed decision as to the candidate’s ability.  By ensuring that the candidate understands the questions and is able to offer a specific and direct response, it will reinforce the information on the candidates resume and cover letter.

The Unknowns

Most resumes and cover letters are under one-page in length.  There can only be so much information provided on that page and will likely need to be trimmed or reduced in order to fit that requirement.  As-such, there is usually a ton of information, experience, and skills that the candidate has but has chosen to not include on their resume.  By meeting in-person for an interview, the candidate and the hiring manager are able to broach and discuss those experiences and skills in depth.

Applicant Expectations

An interview is a two-way street.  While it is helpful for the hiring manager to learn more about the candidate, their experience, and their skills, so-too is it helpful for the candidate to ask questions and inquire more on the role and the company.

A candidate should be prepared for the interview and come with a list of questions.  These questions should broach both the specific role which they are applying for and the company as a whole.

Role Specifics

The interview is also the quintessential time to discuss the specifics of the role.  The hiring manager should let the candidate know what the expectations of the role are, what they will be handling on a daily basis and who they will be reporting to.  During an interview, both the candidate and the hiring manager should discuss expectations and any role specific needs.

Clarification

Role and company clarifications should be provided during the interview.  The hiring manager should open the conversation to allow the candidate to ask any questions they may have.  They should be open and engaging with the candidate and ensure that they fully understand the requirements of the role.

Why are interviews important, man waiting for interview at table

The Importance of Interviewing in the Selection Process

The interview provides a space and an environment where the candidate can be seen, heard, and understood.  It is a time when the hiring manager can assess a candidate’s abilities and determine whether or not they are suitable for the position and are capable to accomplish the roles and responsibilities.

Suitability

The hiring manager should determine whether or not the candidate is suitable for the role.  While this is mainly in terms of their ability to accomplish the tasks of the role, it also includes whether or not the candidate will fit in with the company culture and be able to work well with other members on the team.

Information Gathering

The interview is the time to gather all relevant and pertinent facts.  Both the hiring manager and the candidate should be upfront, honest, and transparent on their experience and expectations.  By gathering all of the information before making a decision, the hiring manager places themselves in a better position to make a more informed decision.

Open Dialogue and Opinions

Through the interviewing process, the candidate is able to keep an open dialogue with the hiring manager and may be able to express their own opinions and thoughts on company and department process.  By taking initiative, the candidate can provide helpful, out of the box ideas as an impartial, third-party.

Determine Ineligibility

While the interview is a great opportunity for a candidate to showcase their skills and capabilities, it also allows the hiring manager to “see through” a candidate that may have exaggerated on their resume.  The interviewer will ask pointed, specific questions and dependent on a candidate’s ability to answer coherently and correctly, the hiring manager can make a more informed decision.

Too often, candidate’s will exaggerate their experiences and skills on their resume and their cover letter.  An interview will force the candidate to answer honestly and quickly without the ability to look-up the information online.  This will help the hiring manager cull the list of candidates and choose the one most suited for the position.

To Get the Best Candidate

At the end of the day, the interview should lead to the hiring of the best candidate.  Only by meeting and discussing in-person can a hiring manager make that determination.  Their decision impacts not only their team, but the company as a whole.  By hiring the best candidate, the department and the company can move forward and tackle any issues that may arise.

What Are The Qualities Of A Good Candidate?

All companies look to hire the best, most capable, and most experience candidates.  They want candidates that will be able to perform the roles of the job with little oversight and to remain with the company for a number of years.  In addition, they want a candidate who is confident, well-spoken, knowledgeable, and has proper etiquette and business sense.

While these qualities are sought after, they are difficult to determine in a single in-person interview.  You can take certain steps to help the hiring manager see that you are a perfect candidate for the role.

Communication Skills

Above all else, you should practice and work on your communication skills.  You should be able to effectively and properly answer any questions posed by the hiring manager and should have a list of questions to ask the interviewer.  In addition, you should be confident and show that you fully understand the responsibilities of the role.

Analytical Skills

Though difficult to prove verbally, you should be able to show how you are able to assess an issue or problem and come to a resolution.  You also want to show that you are capable of understanding nuance and any “gray” areas.

Body Language

Body language plays a huge role in the interview process.  By showing yourself as engaging, caring, and “in the moment”, you help the hiring manager feel that you are a capable candidate.

Energized

First impressions are hugely important in an interview.  By being engaging and energized, you set the tone for the interview and can show your energy and enthusiasm for the role and position.

Professionalism

The hiring manager wants the candidate to be a professional.  By showing up on time, being respectful, and asking good, thought provoking questions, you showcase your professionalism and ability to work well in a corporate environment.

Conclusion

Most people don’t enjoy interviews.  They are unpredictable and there is a ton on the line and each candidate wants to put their best foot forward and make a great first impression.  While interviews are nerve-wracking, they are necessary and will likely be around for a while.

But their importance cannot be overstated.  They are helpful to both the recruiter, the hiring manager, the company, and the candidate.  It is a time to be open, honest, and transparent and to get a better understanding of both the company and the candidate.

Don’t forget, most people are nervous before an interview and that is normal.  Try to remain calm and practice breathing techniques to help you.  Just go in and give them your best, they will definitely see that and appreciate it.

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