CITY COLLEGE, THESSALONIKI

JOB INTERVIEW REPORT
BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
Kimon Mikroulis 12/15/2010

Abstract

This report builds on the existing literature in reference to employment interviewing in order to provide an assessment of the performance of the interviewers and the undersigned interviewee of panel two. It first highlights the importance of the job interview in hiring decisions and how simulated employment interviews can prepare students for real life situations from both perspectives via experiential learning. It then moves on to evaluate the interviewing panel incorporating business best practices in its assessment. It proceeds with the evaluation of the interviewee taking into account the literature informing prospective job seekers. It was found that both parties performed satisfactorily all the essential functions of the job interview. Areas of improvement were identified in intra-panel communication and teamwork, and paralinguistic cues and oral delivery for the interviewee. The report concludes that the job interview, whilst being an emotionally challenging task, remains an essential part of the recruiting process. Finally, this experience should impel the participants to pursue further skill development in career preparation and professional communication.

Contents
Introduction......................................................................................................2 Literature Review.............................................................................................3 Evaluation of the Panel.................................................................................3 Evaluation of the Interviewee.......................................................................4 Recommendations...........................................................................................5 Conclusion........................................................................................................6 References.......................................................................................................7 References

Introduction
The purpose of this report is to provide an assessment of the performance of the interviewing panel - hiring recruiters and the interviewee - prospective employee in a simulated employment interview conducted at the premises of City College, Thessaloniki.

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In today’s job market employers still view the interview as the best recruiting method; although research suggests that “what you see in the interview may not be what you get on the job” (Barrick et al., 2009). Some opponents of the job interview have gone as far as to suggest that interviews are an inefficient and ineffective way of predicting job performance compared to past ratings and work samples and hence should be rejected altogether (Heath & Heath, 2009, cited in Executive Leadership, 2009a; HR Specialist, 2009). These advocates tend to ignore the multiple purposes that interviews stand to serve, not only for the employer but the prospective employee too (Joyce, 2008). In practice, interviews remain the final determinant for employment decisions. In the light of this, Joyce (2008) recommends the use of mock interviews to train business communication students for the hiring process, not only from the perspective of the applicant, but of the hiring manager too.

Literature Review
Evaluation of the Panel
One of the prerequisites of a successful interview is the provision of the proper venue (Barker, 2010, p.93). Choosing a quiet room to conduct the interview should provide the appropriate environment to focus on the answers and minimize distractions. In this case, the necessary accommodations were made by reserving a separate room for the interview. In real-life situations, a comfortable and presentable room serves also as an advertisement for the company (Bayley, 2010). Initially, one of the crucial tasks of the interviewer is to make the applicant feel comfortable. By making them feel at ease, the recruiter increases the chances of receiving honest answers and engaging the interviewee’s real personality so as to make better assessments (Becker & Wortmann, 2009, pp.140-141; Executive Leadership, 2009b; Zeller, 2010). One opening question is mentioned in Executive Leadership (2009b): whether the applicant found the office without trouble. A similar question is employed by the interviewer in this case, with an added reference to the traffic jam. The rapport built

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in the opening minutes and during the interview can be a determining factor in whether the applicant will accept the possible offer or not (Journal of Accountacy, 2008). The opening minutes are also the most important in judging applicant competence and determining the final employment outcome (Barrick et al., 2010; Goodman, 2010). During the interview, the interviewer asked questions relevant to the job and the specific tasks to be performed. These job-related topics provided the appropriate context so that the questions could be centered on the prior parts of the selection process, such as the written job description, the advertised position requirements and the resume. This essential characteristic of questions not only ensures sensitive questions are avoided, but also prevents managers from getting into trouble with discriminatory or exclusionary questions that could initiate costly lawsuits and irreparably damage brand equity, reputation and reduce the potential applicant pool (Fair Employment Practices Guidelines, 2005; HR Specialist, 2010; Liden et al., 1993). Thus, hiring managers should carefully plan their interviews by studying the CVs, and be informed that they are also a reflection of the company and its brand (Liden et al., 1993; Pollock, 2009). The interviewer seemed to use a structured format by choosing questions from prepared notes. From the three distinct kinds of questions used in interviews, open-ended and probing questions were mostly used, avoiding closed-ended conversation. Consequently, the interviewee was allowed to expand and provide further information (Forsyth, 2007, pp.18-20). Listening was also used to generate some interesting new questions. Accordingly, the candidate was given ample time to expound and was listened closely. At the close, the interviewer asked a hypothetical behavioral-situational question in a potential scenario involving a co-worker. Such inquiries lend a degree of uncertainty to the interview and allow for the true character of a well-prepared candidate to manifest. With this tactic, interviewers usually look for candidates who pass personal judgment or blame (Communication Briefings, 2009). Additionally, this tactic tests certain competencies like conflict resolution and is usually utilized in performance based hiring or targeted selection processes (Adler, 2007; Lazarus, 2004)

Evaluation of the Interviewee

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The interviewee dressed professionally for the interview. Having appropriate business attire is crucial to the applicant’s job prospects, as the review of literature confirms (Broker Magazine, 2008; Hartman, 2003; Teller Vision, 2006; Walker, 2010). Mary Civiello, President of Civiello Communications Group, suggests that the interviewer should dress similarly to the attire of the most conservative members of the organization, to prove that he or she is a good fit (Civiello, 2009). This visual was confirmed in our case, as the interviewer , who seems to be the most senior member of the panel, wore a tie, and the interviewee showed adherence to the senior member’s dress code by also wearing a tie. A recent UK survey from Hays underscores the increased attention given to appearance by job seekers in the highly competitive job market (Recruiter, 2009). Being a recent college graduate, the interviewee took the opportunity of the opening question to talk about his academic achievements. He also emphasized the attributes that make him stand out from the rest, like the fact that he has combined two fields of study as an undergraduate student; finance and computer engineering; and linked these two to the demands of the job. He thus showed concern about helping the company and its bottom line in addition to what the company can do for him (Alderman, 1995; Civiello, 2009; Stateman, 2008). During the interview, the interviewee demonstrated that he was knowledgeable about the company by matching the company’s ownership status, mission and corporate culture to his employment needs. He also showed that he has done research about the choices of the company in the current economic crisis that prevented it from financial predicament. According to Ryan (2009a), the more knowledge gained about the company, the better. By researching about the organization, a better understanding of the job is attained and a connection with the underlying business plan of the company can be made (Walker, 2010). The interviewee exhibited this by referring to the company’s mission of providing credit to low-income people and its focus on customer satisfaction and demonstrated that his motivations and aspirations match the company’s philosophy and culture (Muir, 2005, p.156). In addition, the interviewee has indicated that he has already taken actions to realize his ambitions of being a top financial analyst of the company in the future by

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preparing for the CFA exam. This approach is beneficial to recruiting prospects as it exudes an action oriented attitude (Walker, 2010). The interviewee didn’t ask questions until he was invited to so, and when given the chance, he avoided to inquire about benefits or work hours that could prove off-putting or seem presumptuous (Broker Magazine, 2008; Teller Vision, 2006). Instead, he asked a pointed forward-looking question exhibiting intellectual curiosity about the company’s future outlook (Alderman, 1995; Hartman, 2003)

Recommendations
The panel could have delegated the questioning amongst the group to convey a sense of teamwork and community, instead of assigning the role of interviewing to one person whilst the others mostly observed. As the public relations component of the job interview is important, non-communication amongst panel members might lead to inferences about the state of employee relations and team spirit within the organization. The interviewee could have paid more close attention to paralinguistic cues that refer to vocal characteristics, such as intonation and speech rate (DeGroot & Gooty, 2009). Practicing answers beforehand on behavioral questions could have eliminated some unnecessary rumbling, such as “um”, that occurred when the unexpected hypothetical question about a co-worker’s drinking problem was asked. Congruently with this observation, Joyce (2008) recommends more practice for students in answering situational/ behavioral questions.

Conclusion
To sum up, interviews are an emotionally challenging process for candidates and both parties should take into consideration this fact when participating in the interview process (Hoffmann, 2008). The basic functions of the interview, that is to determine whether the applicant meets the demands of the position (Person-Job fit), if he fits well inside the

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organization (Person-Organization fit), and how well he is at managing people assessed with behavioral-match and performance-oriented questions, were sufficiently performed (Jenks & Zevnik, 1989). Lastly, the employment interview remains a ubiquitous tool for employee selection and measurement of various constructs, including personality traits. For this reason the performance of the panel and the interviewee in this simulation exercise should provide a launching pad for further career preparation and communication skills development.

References
Adler, L. (2007) Hire With Your Head: Using Performance-Based Hiring to Build Great Teams. 3rd ed. USA, Wiley. Alderman, L. (1995) What you need to ace today's rough-and-tough job interviews. Money, 24 (4), p.35. Barker, A. (2010) Improve Your Communication Skills: Present with Confidence; Write with Style; Learn Skills of Persuasion. 2nd ed. USA, Kogan Page. Barrick, M.R., Shaffer, J.A. & DeGrassi, S.W. (2009) What You See May Not Be What You Get: Relationships Among Self-Presentation Tactics and Ratings of Interview and Job Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94 (6), pp.13941411. Barrick, M.R., Swider, B.W. & Stewart, G.L. (2010) Initial Evaluations in the Interview: Relationships with Subsequent Interviewer Evaluations and Employment Offers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95 (6), pp.1163-1172. Bayley, B. (2010) 20 Tips for Interviewing. Management Today, October 2010, pp.82-84. Becker, E.F. & Wortmann, J. (2009) Mastering Communication at Work: How to Lead, Manage, and Influence. 1st ed. New York, McGraw-Hill.

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Broker Magazine (2008) Expert Gives Job Seekers Interview Do's and Don'ts. Broker Magazine, 10 (3), p.6. Civiello, M. (2009) Communication Counts In Landing A Job. T+D, 63 (2), pp.82-83. Communication Briefings (2009) Add uncertainty to job interviews. Communication Briefings, 28 (11), p.2. DeGroot, T. & Gooty, J. (2009) Can Nonverbal Cues be Used to Make Meaningful Personality Attributions in Employment Interviews? Journal of Business & Psychology, 24 (2), pp.179-192. Executive Leadership (2009a) Ditch the interview. Executive Leadership, 24 (10), p.5. Executive Leadership (2009b) Turn job interviews into gold mines. Executive Leadership, 24 (12), p.3. Fair Employment Practices Guidelines (2005) Interviewing Job Applicants: Watching What You Say. Fair Employment Practices Guidelines, (602), pp.1-3. Forsyth, P. (2007) The Art of Successful Business Communication. London, The Institution of Engineering and Technology. Goodman, C. (2010) The Secret to Acing the Interview. Money, 39 (1), p.43. Hartman, P.J. (2003) You Got the Interview, Now Get the Job! Intercom, 50 (8), p.23. Hoffmann, E.A. (2008) The Emotionally Challenging, Open-Ended Interview. Business Communication Quarterly, 71 (3), pp.387-390. HR Specialist (2009) Are job interviews a waste of your time? HR Specialist, 7 (10), p.5. HR Specialist (2010) Job interviews: How to pose risky questions the legal way. HR Specialist: New Jersey Employment Law, 5 (4), p.6. Jenks, J.M. & Zevnik, B.L.P. (1989) ABCs of Job Interviewing. Harvard Business Review, 67 (4), p.38. Journal of Accountancy (2008) Notice to Interviewers: Turn On the Charm. Journal of Accountancy, 205 (1), p.19. Joyce, M.P. (2008) Interviewing Techniques Used In Selected Organizations Today. Business Communication Quarterly, 71 (3), pp.376-380. Lazarus, A. (2004) Preparation is Key to Successful Job Interviews. Physician Executive, 30 (3), pp.48-50.

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Liden, R.C., Martin, C.L. & Parsons, C.K. (1993) Interviewer And Applicant Behaviors In Employment Interviews. Academy of Management Journal, 36 (2), pp.372-386. Muir, C. (2005) Managing the Initial Job Interview: Smile, Schmooze, and Get Hired? Academy of Management Executive, 19 (1), pp.156-158. Pollock, J. (2009) How To Plan a Job Interview. B&T Magazine, 59 (2687), p.38. Recruiter (2009) Dress to impress your interviewer. Recruiter, June 10 2009, p.38. Ryan, L. (2009a) How Do I Prepare for a Job Interview? BusinessWeek Online, May 6 2009, p.19. Ryan, L. (2009b) Ten Ways to Tank a Job Interview. BusinessWeek Online, September 28 2009, p.16. Stateman, A. (2008) The Ethical Approach to Job Interviews. Public Relations Tactics, 15 (7), p.14. Teller Vision (2006) Avoiding Top Job Interview Mistakes. Teller Vision, (1352), p.4. Walker, J. (2010) Interview with confidence. Chartered Accountants Journal, 89 (4), pp.28-29. Zeller, G. (2010) What managers see on job interviews. Long Island Business News, September 1 2010.

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