Current Trends in Job Interview Techniques for Human Resource Management at Marriott : The second of eight children of Hyrum Willard Marriott and Ellen Morris Marriott, John Willard Marriott was born in the Marriott Settlement near Ogden, Utah on September 17, 1900. Known to the Bill family, young John Willard helped raise sheep and sugar beets on his father’s farm in The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints.
His father entrusted him with significant responsibilities on the farm at an early age. As a direct result, Bill quickly learned to rely on his own ingenuity and wisdom. While amazed at the breadth and beautiful backdrop of the Rockies as a young boy, Bill envisioned something greater beyond the confines of his family’s Mormon farm.
He quenched his wanderlust by becoming a missionary for the Church in New England at the age of 19. On his way home through Washington, DC after completing his ministry during the summer of 1921, he recognized the tailor-made market for A&W root beer (Wikipedia, nd).
Marriott returned to Utah to enroll at the Weber County Academy in Ogden, and then shortly thereafter graduated from the University of Utah in 1926. Given the ready market for thirsty tourists in the nation’s capital, both he and business partner Hugh Colton combined $6,000 to open a root stand. nine-seater A&W beer at 3128 14th Street NW on May 20, 1927 (Wikipedia, nd).
Just two weeks later Marriott rushed back from Utah to attend another life-changing event, his wedding to Alice Sheets. The day after Alice graduated from the University of Utah, the couple married in Salt Lake City on June 9, 1927. Their honeymoon was spent at the Marriott’s Model-T Ford on a rough and slow journey back to Washington DC where fate awaited (Marriott, nd).
The Marriott corporation progressively grew over the next few decades under his guidance. When the company decided to go public 14 years later in 1953, Marriott stock was offered at $10.25 per share and sold out in two hours. But it was only four years later in 1957 that Marriott increased the reach of the company into a hotel. That year he opened his first hotel, the 365-room Twin Bridges Motor Lodge in Arlington, Virginia (Marriott, n.d.).
Even when his eldest son, J. Willard “Bill” Marriott, Jr., took control of the Marriott Corporation in 1972, the patriarch was unable to lower himself into retirement life. In the 58 years since the Washington D.C. booth’s opening from 1927 to his death in August 1985, J. Willard Marriott was an active worker who enjoyed running his business and rarely relaxed. The Marriott business is an integral part of him. He works as a completely practical boss who enjoys spending time with a growing number of employees, which he feels is key to Marriott’s success. It eloquently echoes the honest principle that continues to be the foundation of Marriott’s culture, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers. Treat your employees the way you would want to be treated – provide them with every path to success. Earn their confidence and respect. Make them like and interested in their work” (Marriott & Brown, 1997). Companies with an embedded corporate culture such as Marriott must rely on interviews to accurately determine which employees are a good fit for the organization. Interviews are the process by which employers assess prospective employees for employment in their company (Wikipedia, n.d.). Historically, the interview was usually the final stage in the hiring process. This is ultimately the most important determinant in whether or not an employee meets the selective philosophical criteria of the employer. Employers like Marriott may offer varying degrees and styles of interviewing techniques, but most interview types can be classified between a pair of dichotomous categories.
There are basically two types of interview methods used by human resource management to help fulfill their objective of selecting the right person; screening interviews and behavioral interviews.
These interviews are designed to exclude applicants who do not meet a candidate’s specific qualifications. It also allows them to gather basic information about applicants.
This type of interview is designed to help make educated selection decisions based on fair and legitimate criteria, not on “gut feeling.” The following guidelines will deal primarily with acceptance determinants and have been constructed with three main objectives in mind.
1. Provide a process that ensures that all candidates will be evaluated uniformly and consistently.
2. To provide an outline for use in the interview process.
3. To provide a tool that will generate answers from potential candidates, serve as indicators or predictors of future performance.
The interview process is divided into three segments: preparation, interview, and evaluation/selection.
The first step concerns the job description involved with the interview. This will determine what they are looking for in a candidate. The best way to do this is to review the job responsibilities listed in the job description. As they read this, they should ask themselves: what are the personal characteristics and skills required to succeed in the position? Examples might include attention to detail, communication skills, flexibility, composure, work-related knowledge, energy, reliability, etc.
A job application that has been filled out by a candidate can serve a variety of purposes. The completed application form provides an accurate preview of the “upcoming attractions”, or the job background, ambitions, and education that the candidate brings to the interview. Remember that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. As they read the app, they should automatically check for items like experience, education, and physical qualifications, but there’s a lot more they can get from the app.
The completed application form also presents the framework to be used in the actual interview with the candidate. They took the time to read it carefully. They cannot interview effectively, if they have not done their homework.
To assist them in reading or analyzing the application form, three things are considered:
1. The information they provide.
2. The skills they demonstrate in presenting information.
3. Their way of thinking, as revealed by the answers they gave, in responding to the application form questions, as well as their answers at the pre-screening interview.
Technical and Performance Categories:
Technical categories are defined by the specific tasks performed in a job. These skills reflect knowledge or abilities taught in college technical programs, etc., or learned through company training programs. For example, if they hire a domestic helper, the technical category will find out if the candidate knows how to make a bed, knows how to vacuum properly, etc.
The performance category is defined as work habits or special abilities that are usually learned through life experience rather than formal training. Often these skills are learned early on and reflect beliefs about how a job should be done. For example, if they hire a domestic helper, they will look at how the candidate organizes their work, how seriously they take their responsibilities, or how they follow through on their commitments.
Categorizing Job Requirements:
Using job descriptions, they look at the key skills or areas of responsibility required for a particular job. These skills are then categorized into performance or technical dimensions. For example, one of the main areas of responsibility of a cook is to properly prepare and decorate all food orders according to menu specifications. This will fall under the performance category.
Identify Skills Based on Requirements:
Once they know the job requirements, they can then identify the skills needed to complete the job successfully.
When the candidate arrives, he/she is welcomed with a smile, a handshake and a warm and friendly verbal greeting. Eye contact was established and the candidate was invited into the room and asked to have a seat then offered a beverage, etc. The interviewer then introduces himself/herself by name and title.
A climate that relaxes the candidate and puts him/her at ease is established. There is a direct relationship between how comfortable and secure a candidate feels, and how much truthful, sincere information he/she is willing to reveal.
Open the Interview:
The interview is opened with their icebreaker to set the tone for the interview. Then the candidate is given some idea of what will happen during the interview. For example, they will begin by discussing their job experience and educational background. Then they will ask them some questions and take notes. Finally, they will share some information about the job, hours, schedule, rate of pay, full-time or part-time position, about the company and answer any questions they might have.
During the Interview:
The information the candidate has provided on the application is discussed. This verifies that the information provided is accurate, and also gives them the opportunity to fill in any missing information. Then the questions regarding the technical category that they have chosen are administered. Then questions chosen from the performance category are administered.
During this portion, they have to take notes. Key words or phrases are used. Note taking is done to describe behaviors, document names, dates, locations, results, etc. These notes will help them in the evaluation of a candidate.
As the candidate responds to their questions, they practice good listening skills. The following guidelines assist the interviewer during this process:
1. Listen to the candidates.
2. Formulate probing questions to follow-up their responses.
3. Use “summaries” to control talkative candidates. This can be done by taking what a candidate says and paraphrasing, then moving to your next planned question.
4. Silence – after asking a question, be patient for the candidate to respond. It allows them to think of response and encourages them to provide more information. Many interviewers interfere in their own information-gathering process by rushing themselves to fill a gap in conversation.
5. Clipping – At times the candidate may ramble. If they feel they are rambling and the information they are giving is not relevant, they can start talking right along with the candidate as they are finishing a sentence. This will “clip” the story short, and allow them to take control again. This must be done very tactfully so as not to offend the candidate.
Display Good Non-Verbal Skills:
The following guidelines assist the interviewer during this step.
1. Maintain a friendly and positive attitude from beginning to end.
2. Use eye contact. This establishes to the candidate that they are interested.
3. Encourage candidates to continue by head nodding.
It is very important that they go into the interview with an open mind. Two things that can bias their judgment are “generalizing” and “stereotyping.” These must be avoided at all costs.
Generalizations: This is making assumptions about a candidate based on past experiences. For example, if a candidate says a certain word, they assume that the candidate will act a certain way.
Stereotyping: This is unfair and totally inaccurate. They must guard against this practice.
The following are tips used to guide the interviewer through the process:
– When using probing questions, get specific times and examples of when a skill/characteristic was used.
– Encourage applicant to give more details by using phrases like “I see,” “I understand,” “Please elaborate,” or by merely nodding your head.
– Don’t spend too much time in one area and then rush the others.
– Listen to what is being said and to what is not being said. Every interview involves anxiety. Every candidate fears the potential rejecting and possible disappointment. This anxiety sometimes causes a candidate to say things awkwardly or say things in a way that does not make sense. Their challenge is to relax the candidate and “read between the lines.” In other words by probing, determine whether a negative or conflicting response was caused by the anxiety or whether the candidate is sidestepping an issue.
Closing the Interview:
Once they feel they have enough information about the candidate, it is time to close the interview. Telling candidates about the position they are interested in and about the company can do this. Follow this up with any questions they may have for you. When answering their questions, they should be honest and fair, but don’t make any promises you can’t keep, or embellish your answers which will then give the candidate an inaccurate picture of a situation.
Let the candidate know when they can be contacted to conclude an interview about the position. An applicant is never dismissed without them being notified when they hope to make their decision. It’s not a good policy to leave people wondering indefinitely whether they got the job or not.
Interviews usually last about 30-60 minutes for hourly positions. However, if the applicant does not meet the job requirements, the interview may end sooner.
The next step is to evaluate the candidate. You will want to complete their evaluation as soon as possible after the interview.
For interviewers to be effective in evaluating applicants, it is important that they know exactly what characteristics and skills they are looking for in the interviewee.
Interview Guide Form
Candidate name __________________________________________________________
Interviewer______________________________ Interview Date____
1. Say hello to the candidate
Use the Ice Breaker
Interview Agenda Overview
– Work Experience / Educational Background
– Ask Questions / Take Notes
– Share Job Information / Communication
– Answer questions
Ask Eligible Questions
o Full time, Part time, Expected pay, Shift preference
Review Candidate Application Information
Ask Selected Questions (Use Evaluation Tool)
o Listen to Feedback & Investigate the Details
Review Application Job Description
o Ask the Candidate to sign the Recognition Form
3. Include Interview
Notify Candidates about Position and Company
Ask Candidates if they have any Questions
Close Interview – (smile and say goodbye to them)
Marriott’s perception of interview questions is:
· Information collected about applicants may lead to the selection of one question over another the selection of several questions for that characteristic.
· Also if they are unsure of the candidate’s abilities in a particular area, additional questions will be asked until they are satisfied with the candidate’s abilities.
· They must ensure that inquiries are not deemed illegal.
Preparation for Interview:
Steps in preparing for an interview
1. Job description reviewed
2. Candidate applications reviewed
3. Question is selected.
Prior to implementation the standard was that they would set up some form of “ice breaker”, to start a conversation. At this point the interviewer ensures that he or she uses the interview tool; by filling in the required information and the questions they will ask. This information is then attached to the candidate’s job description, application, and pinned to the clipboard.
Interviews are generally conducted in a very quiet and private place, this is because they believe that this will make the candidate feel more comfortable.
The set interview times with candidates are usually scheduled during slower business times so there is no rush or distraction.
The following are examples of questions used by interviewers during interviews. Each question falls into one of sixteen categories, each with a tip on what the interviewer should look for in an applicant’s answer.
ATTENTION TO DETAILS – Category 1
Tell me about a time when it was very important that everything about a project, event, or task was just right. What is a project, event, or task? What things must be perfect? How did it come out?
Interviewers seek a desire for perfection and thoroughness.
Tell me about the last time you were recommended to handle a number of small details efficiently.
The interviewer looks for the ability to handle the task carefully and correctly.
Tell me about the last time you made a mistake in rushing. What’s the situation? How often do situations like this happen?
The interviewer is looking for: The ability to maintain order.
How important was it in your last job to pay attention to detail?
The interviewer is looking for experience.
INTERPERSONAL SKILLS – Category 2:
Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with another person (boss, co-worker, classmate, etc.) What did each of you say? What is the discussion like at its hottest? How do you both express your frustration or anger? How was it resolved? How was your relationship after that incident?
Interviewers seek the ability to negotiate, compromise and be discreet.
Describe the last time you confronted a friend about something they did that bothered you. What did you say or do?
Interviewers seek kindness, consideration and warmth.
Think of the hardest customer you will ever meet; how do you handle him?
The interviewer looks for a positive attitude and sensitivity towards others.
When you think about how you get along with other people, what do you see as your strengths and weaknesses? Why?
Interviewers are looking for team players, friendliness and cheerfulness.
Many people have the ability to “step into someone else’s shoes.” When was this skill asked of you?
The interviewer looks for the ability to see from another point of view.
JOB RELATED KNOWLEDGE – Category 3
Tell me about a task you usually did at your last job. Which of these tasks do you find most competent? Why? Which task did you dislike the most?
The interviewer looks for specific examples of a desire to grow.
In which areas would you like to become more skilled?
The interviewer is looking for a certain direction.
ORAL COMMUNICATION – Category 4:
Tell me about the most complex message you have to convey to someone. How is that complicated? What do you do to make sure the message is understood?
Interviewers seek the ability to understand and analyze.
What feedback did you receive about your ability to communicate clearly and concisely?
The interviewer looks for the ability to understand the message and the ability to analyze.
WORKING WITH THE GUIDELINES – Category 5:
Tell me about the last time you were reprimanded for not completing an assignment the way your boss wanted you to, or for being on time. What’s the situation?
The interviewer looks for a willingness to conform and work well under a rule or structure.
What procedures or policies would you like to change at your last job?
The interviewer looks for a desire to improve conditions.
ORGANIZATION – Category 6:
Tell me about the last time you worked on several things at the same time and tried to meet deadlines. How do you structure your time? Did you meet the deadline?
The interviewer looks for the ability to tackle high priority tasks first, persistence and controlling the situation.
Tell me about the last time you made a decision that backfired. What caused you to choose that particular course of action? What options are you considering? Who did you talk about it with? What feedback did you get?
Interviewers seek the ability to understand and solve problems.
Would you describe yourself as a person who is more logical or intuitive at solving problems? Give me an example that shows your style.
The interviewer looks for specifics that suggest a creative approach.
ADMINISTRATIVE DETAILS – Category 7:
Describe how you have modified the administration system to increase its effectiveness.
The interviewer is looking for a desire to improve the current system
What do you do to ensure correct spelling, etc. in your writing? How often has your work been returned to you due to spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors?
The interviewer is looking for a desire to improve the current system.
COOPERATION – Category 8:
Tell me about a project or task you did when you felt you couldn’t complete it on your own and ask for help. Who are you asking? What are they doing to help?
The interviewer seeks the development of a cooperative working relationship.
What steps do you take to help ensure good working relationships with your coworkers? When was the last time you used these steps? How well do they work?
Interviewers are looking for positive attitudes and abilities to be a good team player.
Tell me about a time when you and a coworker had different ideas about how to approach a task. How do you handle it?
The interviewer looks for a willingness to listen, compromise and contribute.
CALM/MANAGEMENT OF STRESS – Category 9:
Tell me about a period of time when your work or school was busiest. What are you doing to control it? How many additional hours did you work in that time?
Interviewers are looking for the ability to stay in control when working under pressure.
FLEXIBILITY & ADAPTABILITY – Category 10:
What’s the biggest adjustment you’d have to make if hired here?
The interviewer looks for how the adjustment affects the job and how well the interviewee adapts to the change.
Tell me about the most intense period of change in your life during which your ability to adapt was taxed. What changes have occurred? How did you first react to the changes that occurred?
The interviewer looks for a positive attitude and handles ambiguity with skill.
ENERGY – Category 11:
In your previous job, what types of situations would arise for which you would have to act quickly? What would you do?
The interviewer looks for the ability and desire to react and energetic movement.
Tell me about a time when you had to go beyond the call of duty to get a job done.
The interviewer looks for a positive attitude and shows urgency in getting the job done.
REALIABILITY – Category 12:
Tell me about the last time you did something because it needed to be done, even if it wasn’t your responsibility.
Interviewers are looking for persistence and a positive attitude.
Tell me about a time when you couldn’t fulfill certain responsibilities (i.e. work) on time. What’s the situation? What are you doing?
The interviewer looks for an attitude towards attendance and takes responsibility seriously.
AWARENESS – Category 13:
In your previous job, what types of situations would arise for which you would have to act quickly? What would you do?
The interviewer seeks obedience and a readiness to react.
Describe a time when the situation around you required your immediate and full attention.
The interviewer is looking for the ability to analyze, focus.
DRIVING – Category 14:
How would you rate your motivation and drive compared to your peers or schoolmates? What are your strong/weak points? Give me an example that best demonstrates your drive.
Interviewers seek self-motivation and strive for excellence.
Tell me about the extra long-term, sustainable, and extra effort you’ve put in. What’s his job? In what ways do you expend extra effort to get the job done? How successful are you?
The interviewer is looking for a desire for success, persistence.
PATIENCE – Category 15:
What are your “hot buttons” – for example, things you can’t stand. Give an example, and how you reacted to the situation.
Interviewers look for the ability to remain calm and the ability to control emotions.
SOCIALIZATION – Category 16:
Describe the best example of your ability to forge a positive relationship with someone you don’t know. What’s the situation? What are you doing? How did you do that? What are the obstacles? How do you handle it?
The interviewer looks for the ability to work well with other people.
Tell me about a situation in your life where you really depended on your ability to get along with other people. What’s the situation? How did you do that? What are the obstacles? How do you handle it?
Interviewers are looking for teamwork and the ability to build harmonious relationships.
Some people get to know strangers quickly; while others prefer to take the time to let people get to know them. Describe how you entered the relationship when you were “new to the group”
The interviewer looks for a positive attitude and cooperation.
The following are examples of questions that may result in legal retaliation by applicants and are deemed inappropriate by Marriott.
What is your maiden name?
The company believes that such questions will not be relevant to a person’s ability to perform the job, and could be used for discriminatory purposes. For example, a woman’s maiden name can be used as an indication of her religion or country of origin. This question can also be a question about marital status, so it will be a question they will try to avoid.
What was the name of your previous marriage?
Marriott believes that this question is actually asking whether a person is widowed or divorced.
Have you worked under another name?
They believe that this is just another way of asking the applicant’s gender and marital status.
Where were you or your spouse, parents or relatives born?
Marriott Corporation believes that any question along these lines is an attempt to determine country of origin.
What organizations, clubs, societies and lodges do you belong to?
They believe this question is not relevant to work and may be an attempt to determine national origin or race. It is also inappropriate to inquire about professional organizations.
How did you acquire the ability to read, write, or speak a foreign language?
Marriott believes that this question is also an attempt to learn about the applicant’s nationality.
What is the lowest salary you will receive?
Marriott felt that this was inappropriate because women generally worked for less than men, and in the past were paid less than men for the same work. As a result, they strongly believe that a woman may be willing to work for less than what men think is acceptable. This question is imprecise and irrelevant.
What is your height and weight?
Marriott feels that some employers have imposed minimum height or weight requirements for employees that are unrelated to the work to be performed and which have the effect of excluding above-average percentages of women and members of certain national groups. Unless height and weight are directly related to job requirements, these questions should not be asked.
Have you ever been denied a bond of loyalty?
This question seems to be an indirect attempt to find flaws that may exist in a person’s past. The difficulty with this is that bonds of allegiance can be rejected for completely arbitrary and discriminatory reasons, which the individual has not had the opportunity to know about, or challenge.
Attach a photo to the application form.
It is inappropriate to ask applicants to affix a photo on the job form after the interview but before hiring, or at the applicant’s choice.
What type of work does your partner do?
Marriott feels that this question asks about marital status. Moreover, some employers are reluctant to hire a woman if it will make her the second breadwinner in the family, whereas, there is rarely any objection to hiring a man if it will make her the second breadwinner in the family.