While the purpose of a job interview may seem fairly obvious (namely looking for qualified candidates to fill a specific position), the reality is way more complex.
In my experience the job interview is about finding the right person that is going to fit in with the work culture.
Experience, education, and professional skills are all important, but typically a candidate will get an interview, because they do possess these, as presented in a resume. However whether a qualified person gets the job comes down to making an interpersonal connection.
The key questions on an employer’s mind while interviewing, is:
- Will you mesh with current staff?
- Will you excel in the culture (for example, the culture might be stressful, unstructured, rigid, new-age, or a technology savvy work culture)?
- Do you actually want the job and are enthusiastic about the opportunity being offered (or are you indifferent and just after a pay check)?
- Have you got the right interpersonal and communication skills, enabling you to work effectively with others?
If employers were only after a particular skills set, then they could easily just read a bunch of resumes and hire someone without spending hours interviewing potential employees.
But they are not just after a particular skills set, they are after someone with whom they can make a connection with and someone that they are confident will do the job effectively.
You also need to know that hiring people is a VERY expensive process.
- There is the cost of recruiting (advertisements, the cost of internal recruiters, time cost in reviewing resumes and performing other recruitment-related tasks, background checks and other pre-employment tests).
- There is the cost of training the person.
- There is the cost of salary and benefits.
- There is the cost of workplace integration.
Statistics show that these costs to the employer can be as high as 3x that of your salary!
With all of these costs involved in hiring, employers want to make sure they are making the right decision, hence their risk aversion and the job interview.
So as the job candidate, it is your job, to demonstrate that you are not a RISK, you will fit into their culture, you have the right interpersonal and communication skills, you want and are enthusiastic about the job – as well as have the right skills set.