A Working Interview
by Richard Luecking
An employment specialist learned of a job opening for a clerk at the store, which was having problems finding good employees in a tight labor market. Knowing that the job seeker she was working for would have difficulty with the traditional oral job interview due to a communication disability, she helped the store manager set up a series of common tasks so that the job seeker could perform them as part of a "working interview." When the employer saw that the job seeker could perform the main tasks, he hired him.
Although variability will occur based on employer circumstances and job seeker need for accommodation, the working interview that the employment specialist helped devise has several basic components:
Identify several critical tasks of the job, much the same way that task analysis is done, and organize them to be presented in a logical sequence to the applicant.
Arrange for a convenient time for the interview to take place that will not disrupt the normal operation of the employer.
Prompt the applicant through the tasks, one by one. Again this is done in much the same way that any new task might be presented in a training situation, except that the process in abbreviated - typically with fewer tasks and in a shorter time frame.
Allow the applicant several chances to perform the task if he does not get it right the first time. Demonstration that a person can be taught to master the task is just as important to persuading the employer to hire as is the demonstration of current mastery.
Finish by summarizing to the employer the overall performance of the applicant and reiterate those tasks for which instruction will result in eventual mastery.
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