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The Interview Process

A job interview is the meeting of a company manager, a job applicant, and/or a recruitment specialist (working for either the employer corporation or an intermediary company) in one session in order to get to know each other better. The first interview session aims to examine the candidate’s adaptability to corporate culture. At this stage, how the candidate expresses himself/herself through the words he/she uses is of utmost importance, and, in order for the interview process to come out well, it should be parallel to the corporation’s/institution’s values and the competencies it seeks.   

A job interview also helps the applicant to have an opinion about the corporation, such as;

  • The corporation’s work approach,
  • Job description and priorities,
  • Work environment,
  • Human Resources Applications,
  • Its institutionalism.

I. The Job Interview Agenda:

The topics that determine a job interview agenda are the candidate’s:

  • Personal background
  • Personality / behavior
  • Wealth of knowledge
  • Skills
  • Academic accomplishments and career goals

II. The duration of the Interview

This can vary according to the type of interview, the number of applicants, and the nature of the corporation’s recruitment process.

III. Types of Interview

a. Competency Based – Behavior Focused Interviews

Competence in professional life can be thought of as the behavior fields that the candidates are required to be skilled at in order to be successful, and make a difference, that is, display top performance. In order to judge the candidate’s success potential, Competency Based – Behavior Focused Interviews focus on how a candidate’s past experiences reflect on his/her behavior.

  • The candidate’s past performance in similar environments is examined as an indication of his/her future potential,
  • In recruitment decisions, it helps to reveal concrete examples of past experiences,
  • It requires detailed, evidence-based thinking.

b. Traditional Interviews

In Traditional Interviews, the interviewer asks general, open-ended questions. The candidate is asked situation-based questions such as “Suppose ..., what would you do?”

c. Panel Interviews

In Panel Interviews, a competency based interview can be held together with a traditional interview. This type of interview involves a number of interviewers sitting as a panel. The interviewers take turns asking the candidate questions. According to the recruitment policy of the corporation, the panel consists of people from the Human Resources department and the administrators related to the position for which the interview is held.

d. Group Interviews

Following a company presentation, Group Interviews are usually carried out as group case discussions and Q&A sessions. Several candidates are present in one session of the interview. The behaviors of all the candidates are observed simultaneously and compared to one another.  The candidates are also assessed according to their clothing, behavior towards one another, communication skills (including body language) and participation in the group discussions. 

IV. The competencies assessed in a Job Interview

There are two important sources that candidates can make use of to form an opinion about the characteristics (competencies) sought by corporations in candidates. One is the corporation’s web page and the other is the job ad it posted. If the candidate’s competencies are consistent with those stated in the company’s job ad, up to 50 percent of success will be achieved for the first stage.  

In general, corporations have been assessing the following competencies in candidates in recent years:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Problem solving skills
  • Self-confidence and motivation 
  • Team working and communication skills
  • Inclination to professionalism
  • Planning skills
  • Leadership and having initiative
  • Flexibility (Being able to work in uncertainty and under stress)

V. Sample Interview Questions

Following a company presentation, Group Interviews are usually carried out as group case discussions and Q&A sessions.

  • What is your most outstanding quality that should lead us to consider you for this position?
  • What was your biggest gain from your internship/work experience at X Company?
  • What was your greatest contribution to that company where you did internship / worked for …. months/years?  
  • Tell us about a time when you didn’t agree with the decisions of your co-workers. What did you do in that situation?
  • What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
  • What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
  • What kind of people do you find difficult to work with?
  • What are your greatest strengths and what are your qualities that are open to improvement?
  • Tell us about a project you completed with your co-workers. What was your part in that project?
  • Tell us about a situation in which you had to finish multiple tasks by the end of a short period of time, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them. 
  • Tell us about a time when you communicated your opinion/idea effectively to others? What was it? What was the result? If you were in that situation again, what would you do differently?
  • What was the biggest problem that you have ever faced in your work life, and how did you resolve it? 
  • Tell us about a time when you had to make an important decision quickly in order to get through a difficult situation or not to face a problem.  

VI. What the candidate should do during a job interview

  • Arrive in time for the interview, which means 10 minutes before the scheduled time.
  • Present yourself to the assistant / secretary at the reception.
  • Try to relax while you are waiting outside the interview hall. Meanwhile, take a brief look at the leaflets or booklets related to the company if there are any near you.   
  • When you enter the interview hall, shake hands with the interviewer(s).
  • Other than a briefcase or datebook, do not take much with you into the interview hall.
  • Prove yourself to be a careful listener by making the right amount of eye contact throughout the interview.
  • Use effective forms of body language to show that you are interested.
  • Take your time to speak clearly and distinctly.
  • Demonstrate confidence.
  • Be honest. In case of negative remarks, do not respond angrily.
  • At the end of the interview, thank each person who interviewed you, shaking hands with them.
  • If you want to ask the interviewer(s) some questions, try to ask politely and at the right time.

VII. Some questions you may want to ask at the job interview 

  • What is the size of the department that you would consider me for working at?
  • What are the ongoing and forthcoming projects at the department?
  • What are the job exit rates?
  • How long has your most senior employee worked for this company?
  • What kind of an orientation program / pre-service training do the newly hired employees go through?
  • How often are performance evaluations held?

Please click if you would like to make an appointment for a mock interview.

Suggested resources available at the METU Library about the interview process:

The image of success [electronic resource] : make a great impression and land the job you want 

10 minute guide [electronic resource] Conducting a job interview

The everything job interview book [electronic resource] : all you need to make a great first impression and land the perfect job

The interview expert [electronic resource] : get the job you want

High-impact interview questions [electronic resource] : 701 behavior-based questions to find the right person for every job

Job interviews for dummies [electronic resource]