What is Interview – Definition And Meaning

Introduction About Interview

Everybody at some time in his life, mostly on more than one occasion, experiences what is known as being interviewed. Though it may sound a simple question, our starting point must be: what is this event that we call an interview? How do we distinguish it from other interactions with people? Perhaps it can be better described as a set of circumstances which add up to what we call an interview. The circumstances that can be summarised as an act of interview are:

1. Two or more people in a formal or semi-formal situation

2. Meeting

3. A specific purpose for meeting which is known to all concerned

4. A structure is followed

5. One or more persons take the controlling role (interviewer), the other taking the responsive role (interviewee)

6. Usually seated across a table

7. Usually pre-planned, preferably by both sides

8. Awareness to both sides that an interview is taking place

What is Interview

The above describes what we expect of an interview. This is what distinguishes an interview from a conversation, discussion or group meeting, even when the group con sists of only two people.

There are different occasions on which an interview can occur. These may include:

  • An employment selection/panel
  • A promotion/panel
  • A job appraisal review
  • A reprimand or disciplinary hearing
  • A grievance hearing
  • An information-seeking interview
  • An opinion-finding interview (door-to-door research)
  • A counselling interview
  • An employment termination/exit interview  
  • A planning interview

An interview is by far the most commonly used method for assessing a person’s suitability. The whole direction of a life may be altered by success or failure in an interview of say half an hour. The outcome is equally important for the organisation also. If they make a bad decision, they may be stuck up with an unsuitable employee for years.

In view of the significance of this act of interview, it is reasonable to ask whether or not an interview is a good way of selecting people. Interview may not be a foolproof exercise. It may be that the same candidate is rated totally different by different interview boards.

But of all the tools of selection available, by far it is the best to evaluate and judge properly the qualities and capabilities of a candidate if supplemented by a written exam. It is the most acceptable valid tool in the process of selection.

People attending interviews are quite unaware of what sort of questions are typically asked and why interviewers ask questions of that sort. For a candidate who is just out of college, it is like putting him into an exam where he knows the subject but not the syllabus. The result is that many of them come out of the interview having a feeling of bewilderment, resentment and regret that they did not put themselves across better or did not do themselves justice.

As far as this book is concerned, it mainly deals with interviews intended for selection of candidates for a job in an organisation, under Central/State government, Public sector and Private sector companies. It relates to how and why interviews are used and different types of questions asked. It gives detailed and structured guidance on preparing for it, improving personality, presenting the best foot forward and self-review after it. It is hoped that it will enable the reader to take a more positive and active role in the interview.

Definition of Interview

An interview may be defined as a meeting at which somebody applying for a job/position is asked questions in order to find out if he is suitable for it. It is a meeting in order to assess whether a candidate possesses knowledge, tact, drive, mental alertness and self-confidence.

It determines whether the candidate has a quality of critical faculties of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion, leadership qualities, integrity and intellectual ability. It is an additional test at which personal qualities, particularly behaviour, habits and to some extent character, which otherwise cannot be decided in the written examination, are assessed.

What is Interview

Interview is a natural, directed and purposive conversation intended to bring out the natural personality traits and mental qualities of an individual. It assesses the intellectual curiosity, capacity for leadership, mental and physical stamina, integrity of character, powers of practical application and similar other qualities of the individual. These personality traits are not ascertained by direct questions and answers, but are inferred from the responses of the candidate during the course of the interview.

Meaning of Interview

The meaning of an interview is to bring out the experience, skill and intelligence of the candidate including initiative. Good expression is nature’s gift. Technique of human relationship stands behind the art of successful interview. Most of the successes in life are won by men who possess, in addition to their knowledge, the ability to talk we with people, win them to their way of thinking, and sell themselves and their ideas.

The ability to speak is a shortcut to distinction. A man who can speak correctly, who can present himself well, is usually given credit out of all proportions to what he really possesses. This is one of the reasons why brilliant but poor boys do better than bright but rich boys. Far from being a handicap, lesser facilities in life, to a certain extent, is an advantage.

The meaning of an interview is to bring out attitude rather than facts. It is a key to find out the same through the candidate’s expressions and inherent sentiments, his biases rather than his knowledge. The context and tenor of the interview brings out the man in him.

An independent-minded person may not be the most suited to adjust to the demands of job responsibility. His independent handling and different approach may not find correlation with the working atmosphere of the organisation and its goal. No doubt, an interview’s meaning is to bring out a leader out of men. The leader’s approach should be to build congruence between the problems faced by the members/organisation and its charted path goal.

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