Interviewing is an interesting topic because it can be viewed from 2 perspectives. In each interview, there are two parties, the interviewer and the interviewee. Each has a different perspective and plays a different role in the process. Both parties need to approach the process correctly if the interview is to have the expected result which is to determine the best qualified candidate from the pool of interviewees and to determine if they will fit the culture and environment at the client site.
From the Interviewer's Perspective
Conducting an interview can be stressful for the interviewer because a lot can be at stake and because the interviewer may not have much experience conducting them. Since the interview is trying to determine the level of expertise that experts have, the interviewer may not know the subject area as well as the interviewee does. The interviewer may not know the appropriate questions to ask, may not know how to evaluate answers and may not be able to differentiate the answers that are given by different interviewees. In some cases, the interview is conducted so poorly that the interviewer must makes decisions based upon factors that may not be associated with the capability of the interviewee.
It is to the interviewers benefit to get as much information from the interview as possible so that a valid decision can be made.
Here are a few Pointers for the interviewer:
Prepare for the interview before it happens. Ask predefined questions and know what answers to expect.
Start the interview with simple questions or a general discussion which will allow the interviewer and the interviewee to gain some comfort before getting into the more significant questions.
Develop questions that require more than 'yes/no' answers. If a candidate does answer with a 'yes/no' response, ask for additional detail. Anyone can answer YES but that does not mean they really understand the material in detail. If you asked ' Can you sequence DNA?' The candidate could answer YES without actually having that ability. A response could be to ask the interviewee to explain how they would do it.
Do not ask leading questions. For example, if you need someone who could write SQL code, you could say "One of our most important requirements is to find someone who can write SQL code. Can you do that?' It would be better to ask the question "can you write SQL code without adding the additional background.
From the Interviewee's Perspective
The interview is a two way event because it gives the interviewer an opportunity to evaluate the merits of the interviewee but it also give the interviewee an opportunity to do the same for the interviewer.
Here are a few pointers for the interviewee:
Elaborate on your answers. If you are asked a question that can be answered with a yes or no answer, always add some elaboration to your answer. You can say 'Yes and let me give you an example..."
Always treat the interview like a business meeting rather than like an informal meeting between friends.
Never use slang or colloquialisms, use proper language, do not make any statement about religion or politics, avoid confrontational language.
Evaluate the Client. Remember that the interview gives you an opportunity to determine if the client will be a good fit for you.
Avoid criticism of past employers and clients. Maintain confidentiality of past work. Answer questions without giving confidential details of client information.
Maintain honesty while presenting yourself as positively as you can.
Avoid asking any questions about income or benefits until after an offer is received. There will be time for that later in the process.
The Interview Process
Interviews are typically conducted in rounds. Before the first round begins, the candidates are evaluated and a group is selected for the first interview. The candidates who have the weakest resumes are eliminated almost immediately and may never reach the first round of interviews. The first round is an elimination round where general questions are askeed and when the field is narrowed for the next round.
In the second round, the questions become more technically oriented and the competition between interviewees become closer. In some cases, a decision is reached during the second round and an offer could even be made at the end of the interview.
Sometimes, the interviewer will ask a colleague to also interview the interviewee. The likelihood of that type of validation interview increases as the importance of the role being filled increases.
Phone Interviews vs In Person Interviews
Most interviews for Model I consulting jobs will be conducted in person. Interviews for Model II consulting jobs may be a mix of phone and in-person. Interviews for all other consulting models are most likely to be conducted by phone or Skype..