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Employment interviewers.

Employment Interviews

Whether individuals are looking for a job or employers are seeking to fill a position, their success may depend on the assistance of an employment interviewer. Sometimes called an account representative, manpower development specialist, or personnel consultant, an employment interviewer helps jobseekers find employment and helps employers find qualified employees. Working largely in private personnel consultant agencies or State Job Service centers, employment interviewers act as matchmakers who put together the best combination of individual and job.

To accomplish their goal, employment interviewers obtain pertinent information from both employers and jobseekers.

Employers, who more often than not pay the agency for finding them workers, place a job order by providing a description of the job to be filled with a list of necessary qualifications such as education and experience. Determining the employer's precise needs can be a particularly challenging part of the interviewer's job, requiring that the employment interviewer visit the employer's facility to obtain additional information and a better understanding of the job being filled. Frequent telephone calls and visits also help identify the employer's future needs and help demonstrate that the employment interviewer is earnest about finding the best employee possible. Maintaining good relations with employers is an important part of the employment interviewer's job because it helps assure a steady flow of job orders.

Besides helping firms fill their needs, employment interviewers also assist individuals in finding jobs. The services they provide, however, vary according to the type of agency they are employed in and the clientele it serves. For example, some interviewers rely on an applicant's resume to provide them with the information they need about the person's skills, whereas others might have another staff member administer a test of some sort.

Employment interviewers in private agencies usually place job-ready individuals who need little in the way of extra training or improved job skills. Many interviewers work for agencies that specialize in placing applicants in particular occupations, such as secretary, engineer, accountant, attorney, or various medical specialties. Employment interviewers in the private sector--unlike those with government agencies--rarely provide any job-finding assistance other than occasional help in writing a resume. Their primary concern is insuring that job orders continue to arrive and that properly qualified workers are referred to the client.

Some employment interviewers in the private sector work for temporary help firms. These firms, which hire out their employees to firms needing temporary help, use employment interviewers to take job orders from client firms and match their needs against a list of available workers. (See "Temporary Jobs' elsewhere in this issue.) These employment interviewers evaluate and test an individual's capabilities as a rule. Determination of a worker's skills are usually made before hiring and kept on file for reference when filling job orders; the file is updated as the worker develops new skills. The employment interviewer notifies the qualified workers that jobs are available and refers them to the firms requiring assistance. Subsequent to the referral, the employment interviewer contacts the client firm to insure that the temporary worker was appropriately referred.

The Job Service

Employment interviewers in the public sector usually work for the State Job Service. Upon entering a Job Service center, an applicant will be given some forms to fill out requesting such information as level of education, job history, skills, awards, certificates, and licenses. An employment interviewer reviews these forms for completeness, legibility, and coherence before interviewing the applicant. The interview is designed to elicit information about the type of job being sought, the salary desired, and special needs--such as requirements for the handicapped--that must be met.

These employment interviewers typically place applicants who have few skills. In fact, applicants may need help in identifying the kind of work for which they are best suited. Some have no preference; in such cases, the employment interviewer evaluates their personal qualifications and either chooses an appropriate occupation or class of occupations in which they can be placed or refers them for testing to help identify their abilities. Other applicants have exaggerated expectations; in these cases, the employment interviewer must tactfully convince them that their requests for a particular job or salary are unreasonable.

Once an appropriate occupation is identified, the employment interviewer searches the file of job orders, seeking a possible opening, and refers the applicant to the appropriate employer should one be found. If no suitable openings are found, the interviewer instructs the applicant in the use of the public job listings, suggesting the applicant return every few days to review the listings when they are updated. An applicant who later finds a suitable opening returns to the employment interviewer, who must approve the possible match before making the referral.

Employment interviewers at Job Service centers may also provide help to jobseekers who need to develop their skills or refer people to training programs. The kinds of help rendered often vary from State to State. For instance, some States permit employment interviewers to provide counseling to troubled youths or applicants with personality problems, while others require that these individuals be referred to specially trained counselors. Employment interviewers may also coach individuals in such job-landing skills as interview techniques; in at least one State, mock interviews are videotaped, reviewed, and critiqued for the jobseeker. Employment interviewers in Job Serviee centers may also become involved in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints.

Working Conditions

Employment interviewers usually work in comfortable, well-lighted, temperature-controlled offices. Work can be fast paced, especially in temporary help firms that supply clients with immediate help for short periods of time. Some overtime may be required, and use of personal transportation may be necessary to make employer visits.

Work is occasionally hectic, requiring an employment interviewer to juggle various duties, such as carrying on phone conversations, conducting interviews, and completing reports. Employment interviewers occasionally face the frustration of trying to place a difficult applicant or fill a particular job order. Ticklish situations occasionally arise when a distraught applicant becomes unruly or, infrequently, violent. These situations are usually confined to State Job Service centers.

Employment and Qualifications

In 1984, about 72,000 people held jobs as employment interviewers. Three out of five worked for employment agencies or temporary help firms in the private sector. Most of the rest worked for State and local governments.

Most agencies prefer to hire college graduates for their employment interviewer positions; however, a degree is not always a prerequisite. If one is, it can usually be in any subject, but a specific degree is sometimes required in private agencies specializing in placement of particular occupations like accounting or engineering. Courses in the social and behavioral sciences such as sociology, psychology, and counseling provide valuable training interacting with applicants.

Educational requirements in the private sector often reflect the firm's management approach and the type of placements in which it specializes. Firms that limit themselves to placing individuals like accounts, lawyers, engineers, physicians, and executives often require their employment interviewers to have some training in the particular field. Thus, a bachelor's or even a master's degree becomes a prerequisite for a job as an employment interviewer working with these professionals. Firms placing less highly trained individuals, like word processors and secretaries, often require less education of their employment interviewers.

Employment interviewers in the public sector generally possess a bachelor's degree; some have a master's degree. However, this may merely reflect the large supply of available college graduates. Many States do not require a degree--often allowing substitution of suitable work experience for education. Suitable work experience may consist of public contact work or time in service at different jobs within a local Job Service center. In several States, clerical jobs may qualify as counting towards appropriate experience. Those with college degrees, however, are likely to have a decided advantage when competing for jobs. Special training is usually required of employment interviewers who counsel applicants. Training may consist of college courses in counseling.

All States and many large city and county governments use some form of merit system in hiring personnel for positions like those of employment interviewer. Thie merit system insures that only qualified individuals fill available positions. Qualifications are usually measured against a general standard through such methods as written examinations, interviews, and evaluations of education or experience as described on an evaluation form. Applicants should contact their State or local government for more information on examination or testing procedures.

Individuals who meet the qualifications are placed on a list of qualified candidates. Qualified candidates who actively seek out available openings have the best chance of finding a job.

Aside from educational qualifications, employment interviewers ought to have good communication skills, a desire to help people, office skills, and adaptability. A friendly, confidence-winning manner is an asset because personal interaction is a large part of this occupation. In fact, an energetic, natural salesperson might be preferred to a more highly educated individual who lacked these characteristics.

Advancement in the private sector can lead to progressively greater responsibility. Advancement as an employment interviewer in the public sector is often based on a merit system; promotions may be difficult to obtain above a certain level.

Job Outlook

Employment in this occupation is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the mid-1990's. Most growth will occur in the private sector among firms providing temporary help and personnel consulting services. Relatively little growth is anticipated in State Job Service centers, which employ most public sector employment interviewers. Many additional job openings will result from the need to replace individuals who retire or quit. The fast-paced, hectic nature of the private sector appears to result in faster turnover than is normally experienced in the public sector.

Most new positions for employment interviewers will result from rapid expansion of firms supplying temporary help services. Businesses of all types are turning to these companies to supplement their staff during busy periods; to provide specialized, short-term help; and to reduce the cost of the fringe benefits, such as sick and annual leave and health insurance, that are provided full-time employees.

Additional new positions for employment interviewers will result from expansion of the personnel consulting agency industry. As the economy continues to expand, increased job orders for new openings will occur--leading to greater demand for employment interviewers. Businesses that lack the time or resources to develop their own screening procedures will increasingly employ personnel agencies to find highly trained or specially skilled employees. The trend toward increased job mobility has also contributed to higher levels of turnover, resulting in more placements. It is also possible, although by no means certain, that employment agencies will be used to a greater extent by firms competing for the declining number of 16-to 24-year-olds in the labor force.

Little if any job growth is foreseen in the public sector. The State-run but federally funded Job Service centers have recently experienced budget cuts, and current concern over attempts to return all funding responsibilities to the States has caused States to freeze employment at current levels. While little job growth is expected in the Job Service, it remains the second largest employer of interviewers and will require some replacements for those who retire or leave the occupation.

Local government agencies will offer a small number of job opportunities for employment interviewers. Community organizations such as drug and vocational rehabilitation centers occasionally use employment interviewers to develop jobs in which to place clients who are employable. Opportunities for interviewers in local government will vary according to the availability of funds.

Job prospects for employment interviewers within the private sector should be excellent through the mid-1990's. Little specialized education is required, making entry into this occupation relatively easy, except in those positions specializing in placement of lawyers, doctors, and engineers. A relatively rapid turnover rate, caused by both burnout and an inability to bring in job orders or make placements, will provide opportunities for those interested in a job as an employment interviewer. The continued expansion of the temporary help supply sector and personnel consulting agencies makes job prospects even more favorable.


Private sector earnings vary widely. Most employment interviewers in personnel consulting agencies are paid a commission, that is, total earnings depend on how much business they bring in. Commissions usually vary by the type and number of placements. Placement of highly skilled or hard-to-find employees will obviously command a higher commission. An employment interviewer working strictly on commission often keeps around 30 percent of the client's payment, although this can vary from firm to firm. Some employment interviewers earn a salary plus their commission because they fill difficult or highly specialized positions requiring long periods of search. The salary, usually small by normal standards, guarantees these individuals security through slow times while the commission provides the incentive to increase one's earnings.

Some firms employ new workers for a probationary period of approximately 2 to 3 months, during which time they draw a regular salary. This provides new workers time to develop their skills and acquire some clients. At the end of the probationary period, the new employees are evaluated and are either let go or put on commission.

Most new employees earn between $18,000 and $23,000 per year, according to the limited data available; average earnings for experienced workers range from $25,000 to $45,000 per year.

Most employment interviewers in temporary help firms work for a salary. Starting salaries vary according to geographic location, earnings being highest in large cities. Starting salaries usually range between $12,000 and $18,000 a year.

Starting salaries for employment interviewers in State Job Service centers vary from State to State, ranging from $10,300 to $19,300 a year in 1985.

Related Occupations

Employment interviewers serve individuals and businesses. They take information and requests and provide services and help. Services provided by several other occupations, such as personnel officer and counselor, are similar to these, yet have important differences. Personnel officers work for a single firm and may help in the hiring of new employees but do not act as brokers for different organizations and never represent individual jobseekers; personnel officers may also have additional duties in areas such as payroll or benefits management.

College career counselors are similar to employment interviewers in that they help individuals find jobs. However, their primary duties are in student development, helping new students choose their major and arrange a proper class schedule. A master's degree is usually the minimum educational requirement for a position as a college career counselor.

Counselors in community organizations and vocational rehabilitation facilities also help clients find jobs, but their primary duties are usually something other than being a job finder. Individuals seeking assistance from these organizations usually have more than employability problems and need help for conditions like drug abuse or alcohol dependency.

Others who also do similar work include insurance agents and brokers, claim takers for both insurance and unemployment benefits, and retail sales workers.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:help job seeker and employers
Author:Tise, Stephen
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Sep 22, 1986
Previous Article:Temporary jobs.
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