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Planning the interview

Interview is face to face communication How to find Planning jobs in Ethiopia designed to gather information required to make important decisions. There are different types of interview that mangers carryout for different purposes. Therefore, in this section you will study the types of interview, types of interview questions, process of interview and guidelines to be followed while you act as an interviewer and interviewee

By the term interview we are referring to all types of planned, or unplanned face-to-face encounters in which at least one of the participants has a specific objective in mind. Interviewing, therefore, includes gathering information and research, appraising employee performance, setting grievances and many other interactions.


Anytime two people meet to discuss a particular matter, they are participating in the interview.  In a typical interview, the interviewer, the person who scheduled the session, controls the action.  This individual possess a series of questions, which are designed to elicit information from the interviewee also may seek to accomplish a purpose, perhaps to obtain or provide information, to solve a problem to create goodwill, to persuade the other person to take action.  If the participants establish rapport and stick to the subject at hand, both parties have a chance of achieving their objectives.


Although most interviews are one-to-one interactions, some employment interviews involve either panel of interviewees, a panel of interviewers, or both. The interviewer establishes the style & structure of the session, depending on the purpose of the interview and the relationship between the parties much as a writer varies the style and structure of a written message to suit the situation.


Planning an interview

Dear learners, what do you think of  the major activities in the interview process?

Planning an interview is similar to planning any other form of communication.  You begin by stating your purpose analyzing the other person and formulating your main idea.  Then you decide on the length, style, and organization of the interview.


Even as an interviewee, you have some control over the conversation.  You need to anticipate the interviewer’s questions then plan your answers so that the points you want to make will be covered. You can also introduce questions and topics of your own.  And by your comments and non-verbal cues, you can affect the relationship between you and the interviewer.  If you are the interviewer, responsibility for planning the session falls on you.  On the simplest level, you must schedule the interview and see that it is held in a comfortable and convenient location.  These details may seem trivial, but they can make a big difference.  You also need to develop a set of interview questions and decide on their sequence.  Having a plan will enable you to conduct the interview more efficiently.


A successful interview begins before the parties face one another.  Whether you are the interviewer or the respondent, background work can mean the difference between success and disappointment.


  1. Define the objectives

Sometimes the purpose of an interview seems obvious. Imagine, for instance, that you are the manager of a hotel and have received several complaints about the surly manner of a desk clerk and you have decided to speak to the employee. What would your purpose be?


An obvious answer would be to change the clerk’s behavior, but like many obvious answers, this one is not precise enough to be satisfactory.  Will you reprimand the clerk insisting on a change in behavior? Will you act as a counselor, trying to correct the problem by understanding the causes for the employee’s rudeness? Or will you take the role of an examination teaching the clerk some new customer relations skills? While the general goal of each approach is identical (changing the clerk’s behavior) the specific objectives are quite different.


The same principle appreciates in other types of interviews.  In a selling situation is the goal to get a single order or to build long-term relationships? Is your goal in a grievance interview to ask for specific changes or simply to have you’re past concerns acknowledged?


So far we have stressed that the interviewer ought to have a clear purpose, but the same hold true for the interviewee.  Notice, for example, the interviewee’s purposes in the following grievance and employment interviews.


  1. Analyze the other party

Whether you are the interviewer or the respondent you have the best chance of success when you have analyzed the other person and developed a plan based on your analysis. Your analysis ought to cover four categories:

  1. The other’s concept of self

The self-image of the other party can have a strong effect on what goes on in an interview.  First, imagine yourself as interviewee and consider the self-image of the interviewer. If your boss is interviewing you about a project that isn’t going well, does she/he see herself as a colleague who might be able to help you an authority whose advice you should take or an employee who will be in trouble if she/he has to defend a failure to her own superiors?


Likewise, if you are the interviewer, the self-concept of your respondent will probably determine how you approach the session.  A subordinate who feels personally responsible for a failure will need to be treated differently from one who feels that the failure was not his or her fault.

  1. The other’s knowledge level

The questions you ask and the answers you give ought to be tailored to the amount of information the other person possesses. A sales representative who bombards a prospective client with overly technical information would probably be making a mistake, as would a supervisor who seeks managerial advice from an employee who has no experience in leading others.

  1. The other’s image of you

Who you are/ are not as important as who the other party thinks you are.  In an employment interview, a knowledgeable applicant who appears uninformed (perhaps due to nervousness or lack of preparation) is in trouble.  In the same way, an employee may want to constructively discuss a problem with the boss.  But if that boss thinks the subordinate only wants to complain, the employee’s chances for success are limited.

  1. The other’s attitude

Even if the other party has a favorable image of you his or her feelings about the topic might require some careful planning on your part. While it is important to learn everything about the other party, you can use three sources together useful information.


First, you can listen to what people say.  Coworker friends and even the media can be a source for learning about the other person.  Knowing fact such as your subject’s career history or education might help you build rapport and ask the most useful questions. You can also learn about your subject by listening to what that person says.  If you have known the other person before the interview, past statements can be a good source of information.


Finally, you can discover a great deal about the person you will interview through observation.


  1. Prepare a list of Topics

Sometimes the topics an interview should cover are obvious as soon as you’ve listed your objectives.  In other cases, however, some background research is necessary before you can be sure an agenda is complete. For example, an office manager who is considering the purchase of a new computer might need to do some reading and talk with her staff before she can know what questions to ask the sales representatives who will be calling on her.  She will probably want to learn about the following topics:


  1. Choose the best interview structure

There are several types of interview structures. Each calls for different levels of planning & produces different results.


A highly scheduled interview consists of a standard list of questions and in its most extreme form even specifies. Because of their detailed structure, highly scheduled interviews call for less skill by the questioner during the interview it self. But it may be unsuitable for most situations. The range of topics is limited by a predetermined list of questions. The nonscheduled interview stands in contrast it usually consists of a topical agenda without specific questions.

The conversation may be generally directed at finding out how the employee is doing with her work, whether she is generally satisfied with her job, whether she has any problems personal or work related that the manager should know about. Such interviews allow considerable flexibility about the amount of time and nature of the questioning in the various content areas. After clarifying your purpose setting an agenda, and deciding on a format, you are now ready to think about specific questions.


The purpose of the interview and the nature of the participants determine the types of questions that should be asked.  When you are planning the interview, bear in mind that you ask the following questions:

  1. To get information
  2. To motivate the interviewee to respond honestly and appropriately, and
  3. To create a good working relationship with the other person.

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