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Selection Job Interview: Decision Time

In the selection interview, sometimes called the decision interview, you meet with a supervisor, department head, or another person who has the authority to hire you. Often this interviewer will be your potential boss, so you too will be making judgments during the interview.

Because the selection interview may take several detours, be ready to ask leading questions to get the interview back on track and to set up an opening to describe your qualifications in light of the position. Selection interviewers are rarely pros at interviewing and often just go with their intuition, hoping the task is over as quickly as possible so that they can get back to their “real” work.

Even if the questioner seems like the kind of person you’d share a beer with, don’t relax. Your interviewer is trying to decide which candidate is the best investment for the company — because a wrong choice could cost the company thousands of dollars in training time, correcting mistakes, and firing to hire again.

Selection interviewers are looking for the following:

  • Strong presentation of personality: How you blend with other employees, as well as your general likability and motivation to work.

  • Specific details of your competencies and skills: How your qualifications allow you to do the job better than other candidates.

  • Specific details of your job experience or education: How you’ve not only done — or been trained for — a similar job, but how you’ll apply that background to the new job.

  • How you handle specific job scenarios: How you think under variable or stressful conditions and solve challenges.

The selection interview is where you move from neutral behavior into high gear. This is where you reveal the best of your personality (you’re not holding yourself in, as you were during the screening interview). And this is where you take note of how you and your potential boss blend. If your gut instinct tells you the blend is oil-and-water, think carefully before saying yes to this job offer.

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