Sufi Stories

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Interview Formats In Different Organisations

Mom & Pop Shops (small grocery shops, lawyer’s office, sole proprietorships, very small privately owned businesses etc)

  • How they find candidates: Local job boards, craiglist etc are typical ways of finding candidates. Often the owner relies on recommendations from acquaintances to find the right candidate.

  • How the interviews are structured: In many cases there may be just one interview directly with the owner of the business. In some cases there may be a shortlisting based on a skills test and/or an interview with the supervisor.

  • What are the key assets these companies are looking for: A low maintenance, hard worker with the right skills is the ideal candidate. These companies may want someone ready to go – they can not afford long employee ramp-up times. The owner of the business would look for someone who can clearly demonstrate the ability to carry out the functions as explained in the job description.

  • Do you need to go through an interview HR: These companies may not have a separate HR department. The LOB (eg sales supervisor, owner etc) may directly recruit candidates.

  • What to watch out for: It’s very important to have all the details relating to compensations, benefits and job terms/conditions clearly spelled out in writing. Small companies often renege on their verbal promises.

Small & Midsize Companies – (For example – Revenue less than 100M, Number of employees less than 500 etc)

  • How they find candidates: Often these companies rely on word of mouth and job advertisements on company website or job boards to find candidates. In some cases they may employ professional recruiters.

  • How the interviews are structured: You can expect at least two interviews – with your direct manager to whom you will report, and another interview with the manager’s boss (VP, C-level executive etc) – depending on the job for which you are applying.

  • What are the key assets these companies are looking for: These companies are very careful about hiring people who have a short ramp-up time and possess all the basic skills identified in the job description.

  • Do you need to go through an interview with HR: Unlikely.

  • What to watch out for: Often these companies pay a much higher salary and give much more glorified titles to their employees than larger companies. In return they expect a multiplicity of skills from one person, longer hours and more dedication.

Large Corporations (Revenue > 100M, employees >5000)

  • How they find candidates: Large organizations usually employ corporate recruitement firms to find the right candidate for them. The corporate recruiters may belong to an external agency or – in some rare cases – may be a company employee.

  • How the interviews are structured: The recruiter does a shortlisitng of the candidates which he can ‘sell’ to the company. The recruiters are paid by the company if the candidate gets hired. So the recruiter may provide help and suggestions – if asked – to prepare the candidate for the interview. They may provide insider information to the candidate – esp if they feel that a candidate is strong. Often the recruiter does a quick phone interview followed by a face-to-face meeting. After the recruiter recommends the candidate – the hiring manager may call/email the candidate to setup a time for the interview. Typically there may be several interviews – a technical/skills related interview with one of the team members (peer interviews), then with the hiriing manager himself. Finally another interview with the hiring manager’s boss. In some companies – esp in college recruitment drives – some selected candidates may have to go through a panel interview – where they face a group of interviewers in one room.

  • What are the key assets these companies are looking for: In general large corporations are looking for intelligence, integity and initiative. They may allow candidates a longer ramp-up time – and almost all have a new hire training program as part of the on-boarding process.

  • Do you need to go through an interview with HR: Unlikely.

  • What to watch out for: Salaries are negotiable within a broad range. Many companies do not have a very good annual increment plan. The salary you are hired at would remain practically unchanged – year to year – unless you get promoted in the company. So do not be afraid to negotiate your compensation plan.