Definition: the word interview means ‘view between’ or ‘sight between’. It suggests a meeting between two persons for the purpose of getting a view of the each other or for knowing each other. Interviews are a type of oral communication in the business world

Types of Interviews

  1. Selection Interviews: the kind of interview where someone is considered for a job
  2. Promotion Interview: takes place when an employee wishes to be considered for a job at a higher grade within the organization.
  3. Appraisal Interview: takes place annually to review progress and discuss the future
  4. Grievance Interview: carried out when an employee feels that they’ve been treated badly or unfairly by another member of staff
  5. Disciplinary Interview: carried out when an employee has been accused of breaching company procedures
  6. Counselling Interview: may be held to find out what has been troubling an employee or why one hasn’t been working to their usual high standards
  7. Exit interview: carried out when employees are leaving the company either on their own or through dismissal


Various interviewers are going to apply different interviewing techniques depending on the natureof the job being applied for as well as the urgency to fill the vacant position. Some of the interviewing techniques usually applied include;

  1. Screening

This applies for positions where the number of applications is very high. Usually, companies screen the applications to rule out unqualified applicants. Preliminary interviews are then held to eliminate some more and only the few who are highly qualified are invited for the final interview.

  1. Random appearance

In this instance the interviewer invites all the applicants for an interview and usually judgement is given by personal/physical appearance rather than on the basis of the application. E.g. positions such as for bouncers, policemen, promoters, air hostesses etc.

  1. Tests

Here, written or oral tests are designed to judge the candidate’s intelligence, general knowledge, proficiency language etc. Candidates who qualify these tests are invited for the final interview.

  1. Experience

Some employers will only consider candidates with practical experience thus eliminating any candidates that don’t have the experience in the position; they hold the belief that practical experience is more important than paper qualifications.

  1. Under- stress interview

This is a special technique to ascertain how a candidate will acquit himself under conditions of exceptional stress and strain. The interviewee is exposed to embarrassing questions and provoked in various ways to find out whether he can retain his poise. This kind of interview is useful to select candidates that require great presence of mind and composed temperament.

Interviews Objectives

Interviews are held with a fourfold objective in mind:

  1. To find out the most suitable candidate for the job
  2. To give candidates sufficient information about the job and the company so that they can decide whether the job will suit them
  3. To create a sense of confidence and understanding in the selected candidate
  4. To promote the goodwill of the company by giving the right kind of impression to all the candidates whether or not they are to be selected. The realization of this objective definitely calls for careful preparation.

Interviewer’s Preparation for the Interview

As an interviewer, you must make the following preparations;

  1. You should have a clear picture of the company profile and the nature of job for which the interview is being held
  2. You should know the type of personality, character and temperament required for the job
  3. You should communicate with the candidates well in advance so that they prepare themselves sufficiently. Clearly mention the documents you want the candidates to bring with them
  4. Make proper seating arrangement for the candidates in the waiting room.
  5. The interview should be conducted in a quiet room where there is no interruption.
  6. If candidate is to be interviewed by a committee, each committee member should be in possession of a copy of the biodata of the candidate so that there’s no confusion or wastage of time
  7. You should decide before hand as to which member of the committee is going to initiate the interview.

How to Conduct the Interview

  1. Welcoming the Candidate
  • Welcome the candidate as you would a friend who visits at your office
  • Give them a warm smile and talk to them in a friendly tone of voice
  • Hold small talk in area you think is familiar to them
  • Most candidates could be nervous and interviewing them before overcoming it could make them not reveal the best in them.


  1. Contents of the Interview
  • After making the candidate feel at ease, you should start talking to them on the subject you want to know about. This could include;
  • The candidates technical qualifications (ability to do the job)
  • Drive and aspirations (willingness to do the job)
  • Social effectiveness and emotional balance (relations with others and self)
  • Character (trustworthiness)
  • Other facts related to physical vigor and energy, spouses attitude towards the job, financial stability, willingness to travel, willingness to make permanent moves.
  • Make special notes of these aspects of candidate’s personality that relate to interest patterns, attitudes, character and temperament
  • Ask also about details of previous experience, duties, salary earned and reason for changing job if working elsewhere
  • While asking all these show keen interest on what they are saying
  • If you feel the candidate is suitable and might offer the job to them, give all details about your company and the job


  1. Parting
  • It’s as important as welcoming
  • Thank the candidate for coming for the interview and inform them they will soon be informed of the outcome
  • It’s desirable to give a specific date they will be informed and keep this date. Alternatively, you could tell them that if selected they will get communication by a certain date so that if they don’t hear from you by that date they presume they’ve not been selected.


How to Become an Effective Interviewer

  1. Let the applicant do most of the talking. If you talk more than 50% of time, you are interviewing yourself not conducting an interview
  2. Use brief verbal responses that will keep the applicant talking-prod with questions such as ‘tell me more’ ‘that’s interesting’ ‘what happened then?’
  3. Give your entire attention to the interviewee and respond by encouraging facial expressions, movement and expression of the eyes and nods of the head
  4. Allow pauses in the conversation if you think the applicant will reveal important information.
  5. Try to understand the applicant, who in turn may volunteer really useful information
  6. Make self-expression easy for the applicant
  7. Respect the feelings of the other person even though you consider the person wrong
  8. At all times accept what the applicant says. Never fawn, show surprise or show disapproval
  9. Avoid the urge to cut the applicant off or change the subject abruptly
  10. Never argue
  11. Sit on the same side of the desk as the applicant and use informal, plain language


Interviewee’s Preparation for the Interview

If you are an interviewee, you should prepare yourself on the following lines;

  1. Know yourself
  • Try to find out what you want to achieve through your work- inner fulfillment, fame, position in society, wealth, security, comfort, travel, power.
  • Before you apply for a job, be sure that you know why you are applying for it and if it will suit you.
  1. Know the company
  • Find out as much as you can about its activities, its growth over the years, its future prospects etc
  • If you reveal a sincere interest in the company and show that you’ve acquired information on it on your own initiative, you will create a favorable impression on your interviewer
  1. Prepare for the interview questions
  • Anticipate the questions that you will probably be asked and prepare answers to them. You could be asked on questions about; your interests, hobbies, achievements, prospects, relationships with friend and members of the family etc…
  • Try to be clear in your mind about the answers you will be giving
  • Don’t lie
  1. Prepare the questions that you would like to ask the interviewer (s)
  • If the interview doesn’t offer you full information about the company and the job, you must ask questions to gain this information.
  • These questions could relate to formal and informal training, promotional avenues, fringe benefits etc

Arriving for the Interview

  1. Dress appropriately
  • You should be suitably dressed; your clothing as well as general appearance should be neat
  • Fingernails should be clean, shoes polished and hairstyle appropriate
  • Lotions, creams and perfumes should be used sparingly. Accessories should complement suit or dress.
  1. Take with you your certificates
  • If the interview invitation requested certificates, testimonials and other documents it’s important to take them with you
  • Carry any other papers or documentation that could be of use to you during interview
  1. Arrive for the interview on time
  • Try to arrive at the place of interview at least 10-15minutes before the scheduled time so as to give you enough time to relate and prepare yourself for the interview.

How to Conduct Yourself during the Interview

  1. Walkcarefullyintotheinterviewroom;donotwearascowlorastupidsmilewhen entering the interview room.
  2. Greettheinterviewerspolitelyavoidshakinghands unlesstheinterviewersstretchtheir hands to you.
  3. Donotsitdownuntilyouhavebeenaskedtodoso,adoptanaturalandupright composed posture when seated.
  4. Pay attention to what is being said and do not interrupt the interv
  5. Whenrespondinggiverelevantanswersonlyandbeaudibleenoughforallthe panelists tohear you.
  6. Do not boast of your capabilities or qualifications.
  7. If there is something you don’t know admit it straight away.
  8. Ifyouarebeinginterviewedbysomeonewhodoesnotpossessasmanydegreesas yourself do not put on airs. Give the interviewers your co-operation and respect.
  9. Becalmthroughouttheinterviewdonotloseyourtemperorarguewiththepanelists these may not work your way.
  10. Adoptapositiveapproachthroughouttheinterview;expressyourenthusiasmforIfyougiveanimpressionthatyouarenotinterestedyou may realize that the interviewer is also not interested in hiring you.
  11. Avoidshiftinginyourseat,chewingfingers,smoothingyourhair,adjustingthe knot of  your  tie  or playing  with  the  pen  or    All these are signs of nervousness. Nervousness is your worst enemy in interview.
  12. Whenyouareaskedaboutyourpreviousemployer,befrankbutdonotcriticizeyour former employer. Mention only positive aspects of your former employer.
  13. Ask questions where full information hasnot been provided by the interviewer.
  14. WhentheinterviewisoverdonotforgYoucanask tactfully when the results will be made known to you.

Additional suggestions to ensure success of an interview

The responsibility for the failure of an interview lies both with the interviewer and the interviewee. The following are suggestions to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness and wastage;

  1. The interviewer shouldn’t form an overall opinion about the candidate on the basis of a single aspect of his personality
  2. The interviewer should keep aside any personal bias or personal preferences
  3. The interviewer shouldn’t judge a candidate’s mental capability and character on the basis of such factors as his personal appearance, ethnic background, physical disability, political affiliations etc
  4. The interviewer must vary the nature of his questions and the tone of his voice to suit individual candidates.
  5. The interviewer should try to judge the candidate independent of the former employer views/opinions
  6. The interviewer shouldn’t accept all the facts stated by the candidate without probing to determine their meaning and accuracy
  7. The interviewer shouldn’t try to intimidate the candidate by being cold and unfriendly
  8. The interviewer must be keen on nonverbal cues such as gestures, facial expressions, voice changes, hesitations etc
  9. The interviewer should prepare his questions really well
  10. The interviewee should come well prepared for the interview
  11. The candidate must not try to anticipate the needs and preferences of the interviewer and respond accordingly. Some candidates try to be over smart
  12. The human element should not be allowed to intrude into the interview. A candidate should be given a job because he deserves it.
  13. Neither the interviewer nor the candidate should be discourteous towards each other
  14. Neither of them should try to dominate the interview
  15. Neither of them should try to interrupt the other during this talk


K.N.E.C Sample Exam Questions

  1. Outline 4 measures that an interviewer should take to ensure a successful job interview (4 marks)
  2. Some companies conduct preliminary interviews over the telephone. Outline 4 ways in which an interviewee can impress the interviewer during this interview (4 marks)
  3. List 4 types of interviews that may be held in an organization (4 marks)
  4. Highlight 3 ways in which the chairman of an interviewing panel can make the interview successful (3 marks)


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