In the usual course of business, the executive spends a significant amount of time interviewing. However, a shocking lack of effort was put into systematic attempts to enhance this centuries-old process. Canvassing is one of those tasks that we assume we know everything about because we’ve been doing it for so long; we’ve been lulled into complacency. It appears that a small investment in an investigation of our interviewing skills might pay off handsomely.

In its broadest meaning, interviewing is the process through which two or more people share information. Individuals might be anxious about a job opportunity, a promotion, a special assignment, a product sale, intelligence information, a planned merger, or other issues. The information that is shared does not have to be confined to facts. Meaning and comprehension, in particular, are often more important in business than objective factual assertions.

In today’s corporate world, interviewing is almost often done in a rushed environment. The amount of time allotted for the interview must be regulated. As a result, a nondirective method is rarely used; in the great majority of circumstances, a guided discussion is required. This intrinsic time limitation might have unintended repercussions, such as the interviewer being so obsessed with time management that the content and intent of the interview are tainted. As a result, we must define what a successful interview is. An effective interview, for this article, maximizes the participants’ perceived communication goals, with time as the primary constraint. We’ll concentrate on study discoveries related to:

  • The appropriate level of interview preparation.
  • The importance of routines like making a list of topics to cover and taking notes.
  • Questions and questioning strategies are used (and misused).
  • The type and degree of control the interviewer should have over the conversation.
  • Information gathered is analyzed and evaluated.

Preparation & Planning

The most common flaw I’ve seen in my research into the interviewing process is a lack of proper interview preparation.

1 All too frequently, an unskilled interviewer starts a conversation only to realize that his preparation is lacking halfway through. Such terrible events can readily be avoided with a little forethought.

When the interview’s goal is established ahead of time, it’s typically a good idea to give the person involved plenty of time to prepare for the conversation before engaging in it. The interviewer offers the interviewee an advantage and underlines the precise objective of the session by specifying the issues to be covered ahead of time and in writing. The interviewee’s expectations are frequently at odds with those of the interviewer. If not rectified, this mistake might have severe consequences.

Too much preplanning and preparation for an interview, on the other side, might be as destructive. The interviewee may then come up with traditionally right replies or platitudes, which, of course, decrease the interview’s factual content to almost nothing. In other words, he just needs a guide, a “steer”—and nothing more.

Developing Relationships

To decrease the initial hurdles to open communication, the general tone of the interview should be one of helpfulness and friendliness. In this context, it’s worth noting that privacy is a prerequisite for effective interviewing. Freedom from annoying interruptions is a crucial part of this. (The phone is frequently a source of distraction.)

A real endeavor should be made to put the interviewee at ease—especially in the job application, promotion, or other interviews when major inequalities in status exist—to develop the crucial factor of rapport with the interviewee. Unfortunately, phrases like “Now, don’t be scared!” or “Relax!” are occasionally used to establish connection.