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What makes an interview good

Most interviews last an average of thirty minutes. Its almost impossible to get the perfect picture of the interviewee in those thirty minutes. Its even tougher for the interviewee to get a picture of the interviewer in that same time (Yes, its very important to do so as the interviewee will most likely be working under the interviewer). So how then does one get to know the person he's interviewing in such a short time?

I've found that its a very good way to judge someone by talking to him/her about what s/he takes out of a book or a movie or a blog, what characters s/he liked and for what reasons. Don't get me wrong here when I say 'judge' someone. I'm only saying its imperative for any employer to understand whether the prospective candidate is a good enough fit for the organization. Of course, the technical skills have to be verified, if not tested. I'm leaving that aspect of the interview out of the discussion. Most of the times, its a lot more important to understand the character of the person than his technical abilities as the latter can be handled with training, while the former generally can't.

So far, the people I've been able to really connect with are the ones who feel the way I do after reading a book/blog, or after watching a movie. I feel that its the best way to understand the thought process of a person, his attitudes, his biases and his overview towards life. And its also fairly foolproof, as its very hard to lie about what you take out of a book/blog/movie, and defend the viewpoint convincingly. A couple of questions are enough to throw the smart a** off track when you get the feeling he's just repeating the review he's read somewhere.

While this gives interviewers a way of assessing potential employees, it also gives the candidates a way to structure what they have to say to communicate everything they wish to about themselves to the interviewer. I've heard from a lot of people that they fail to convey everything they wished to as they weren't asked the right questions. Well, the onus is always on the interviewee to ensure he puts across everything he wishes to to the interviewer. So, he will always do well to draw examples and associate his experiences to what he's read/watched.

This is something that I've found to hold true in pretty much every interview I've attended. What do you guys feel?

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2 comments:

  1. Agree with the point you make 'regarding judging someone by book/movie" but it shall not hold in all cases.

    Perceptions about a movie/book/place can always be different for each individual. 2 people might admire the same thing but for totally different reasons.

    So what happens when there is a lack of sync in the thought process/perception of the interviewer and the interviewee?

    Say for instance, I find the movies 'Matrix' and 'Inception' to be really smart and well thought out, highly intellectual movies. But if my interviewee does not share that perception, I am tempted to make the judgement that he is probably too dumb to understand such complex plots and completely ignore the fact that he might hav liked it for some other reason...

    Comment plz :-)

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  2. That subjectivity is the whole point of the exercise. Its not to pass an absolute judgment. Its just to gain an idea as to how comfortable it will be working with the other person, will our thought processes match, will we get along and so on.

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