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Duties And Job Description Of Employment Interviewers

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Nature of the Work:

Whether you are looking for a job or trying to fill one, you could find yourself turning to an employment interviewer for help. Sometimes called personnel consultants, account representatives, manpower development specialists, employment brokers, or head hunters, employment interviewers have two principal duties: They help jobseekers find employment and help employers find qualified staff.

Working largely in private personnel consultant firms or State employment security offices, which are also called Job Service centers, employment interviewers act as brokers, putting together the best combination of applicant and job. To accomplish this, they obtain information from employers as well as jobseekers.

Being a private industry employment interviewer is a sales job. Counselors pool together a group of qualified applicants and try to sell them to many different companies. Often a consultant will call a company that has never been a client with the aim of filling its employment needs.

Employers generally pay private, but not public agencies for finding them workers. The employer places a job order with the agency describing the opening and listing requirements such as education, licenses or credentials, and experience. Employment interviewers often interview employers to determine their exact needs. Jobseekers are asked to fill out forms or present resumes that detail their education, experience, and other qualifications. They may be interviewed or tested and have their background, references, and credentials checked. The employment interviewer then reviews each set of information to determine the best possible match of employer and employee.

Maintaining good relations with employers is an important part of the employment interviewer's job since this helps assure a steady flow of job orders; being prepared to fill an opening quickly with a qualified applicant is the best way to impress an employer.

Besides helping firms fill job openings, employment interviewers help individuals find jobs. The services they provide depend upon the type of agency they work for and the clientele it serves.

Employment interviewers in private placement firms are generally called counselors. They usually place job applicants who have the right qualifications for certain positions but lack knowledge of the job market for their desired position.

Counselors in private placement firms do, however, offer tips on personal appearance, suggestions on presenting a positive picture of oneself, background on the company with which an interview is scheduled, and recommendations about interviewing techniques. Many private placement firms specialize in placing applicants in particular kinds of jobs secretarial, word processing, engineering, accounting, law, or health, for example. Counselors in such firms usually have 3 to 5 years of experience in the field into which they are placing applicants.

Some employment interviewers work in temporary help services companies. These companies send out their own employees to firms that need temporary help. Employment interviewers take job orders from client firms and match their requests against a list of available workers. The employment interviewer selects the best qualified worker available and refers him or her to the firm requiring assistance.

Regular evaluation of employee job skills is an important part of the job for those interviewers working in temporary help services companies. Initially, interviewers evaluate or test new employees' skills to determine their abilities and weaknesses. The results, which are kept on file, are referred to when filling job orders. Periodically, the interviewer may reevaluate or retest employees in an effort to identify any new skills they may have developed.

The duties of employment interviewers in Job Service centers are somewhat different because applicants may lack marketable skills. In these centers, applicants present resumes and fill out forms that ask for educational attainment, job history, skills, awards, certificates, and licenses. An employment interviewer reviews these forms and asks the applicant about the type of job sought and salary range desired. Applicants sometimes have exaggerated expectations. Employment interviewers must be tactful, but persuasive, if an applicant's job or salary requests are unreasonable.

Applicants may need help identifying the kind of work for which they are best suited. The employment interviewer evaluates the applicant's qualifications and either chooses an appropriate occupation or class of occupations, or refers the applicant for vocational testing.

Once an appropriate type of job has been identified, the employment interviewer searches the file of job orders seeking a possible job match, and refers the applicant to the employer if a match is found. If no match is found, the interviewer shows the applicant how to use listings of available jobs.

Some applicants are hindered by problems such as poor English language skills, no high school diploma, a history of drug or alcohol dependency, or a prison record. The amount and nature of special help for such applicants vary from State to State. In some States, it is the employment interviewer's responsibility to counsel hard-to-place applicants and refer them elsewhere for literacy or language instruction, vocational training, transportation assistance, childcare, and the like. In other States, specially trained counselors perform this task.

Working Conditions:

Employment interviewers usually work in comfortable, well-lighted offices. Some interviewers may spend much of their time out of their office interviewing clients. Work can be hectic, especially in temporary help service companies which supply clients with immediate help for short periods of lime. Some overtime may be required and use of personal transportation may be necessary to make employer visits. The private placement industry is competitive, so there is pressure on counselors to give their client companies the best service.


A majority of the employment interviewers worked for employment firms or temporary help services companies in the private sector. Most of the rest worked for State employment security agencies. Workers in these firms help clients market themselves; they do not act as job brokers, nor do they match individuals with particular vacancies.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement:

Although most public and private agencies prefer to hire college graduates for interviewer jobs, a degree is not always necessary. Hiring requirements in the private sector reflect a firm's management approach as well as the placements in which it specializes. Firms that place highly trained individuals such as accountants, lawyers, engineers, physicians, or executives prefer their interviewers to have some training or experience in the field in which they are placing workers. Thus, a bachelor's or even a master's degree may be a prerequisite for interviewers in some firms.

Firms placing secretaries, word processing operators, and other clerical personnel do not ordinarily stress educational background for their interviewers. In these positions, qualities such as energy level, telephone voice, and sales ability take precedence over educational attainment.

Entry level employment interviewer positions in the public sector are generally filled by college graduates, even though a bachelor's degree is not always a formal requirement. Some States allow substitution of suitable work experience for college education. Suitable work experience is generally defined as public contact work or time spent at other jobs in a Job Service office. In States that permit employment interviewers to engage in counseling, course work in counseling may be required.

Most States and many large city and county governments use some form of merit system for hiring interviewers. Applicants may take a written exam, undergo a preliminary interview, or submit records of their education and experience for evaluation. Those who meet the standards are placed on a list from which the top-ranked candidates are selected for later interviews.

Other desirable qualifications for employment interviewers include good communications skills, a desire to help people, office skills, and adaptability. A friendly, confidence-winning manner is an asset since personal interaction is a large part of this occupation.

Advancement as an employment interviewer in the public sector is often based on a system providing regular promotions and salary increases for those meeting established standards. Advancement to supervisory positions is highly competitive. Advancement in personnel consulting firms generally takes the form of greater responsibility and higher income. Successful individuals may form their own businesses.

Job Outlook

Employment in this occupation is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year. Most new jobs will be in temporary help or personnel consulting firms. Relatively little growth is anticipated in State Job Service offices. Additional job openings will result from replacement needs, which are substantial because of the relatively high turn-over in this field.

Rapid expansion of firms supplying temporary help will be responsible for much of the growth in this occupation. Businesses of all types are turning to temporary help services companies for additional workers during busy periods, for handling short-term assignments or one-time projects, and for launching new programs.

Expansion of the personnel consulting industry will also spur job growth. Job orders will increase as the economy improves and new businesses are formed; this is expected to heighten demand for employment interviewers. Firms that lack the time or resources to develop their own screening procedures are likely to turn to personnel firms. It is also possible that businesses that rely on young workers will make greater use of personnel firms in the years ahead because competition for these workers is expected to intensify significantly.

While little job growth is foreseen in the State Job Service centers, employment opportunities in private placement firms should be good. Entry to this occupation is relatively easy for college graduates, or people who have had some college courses except in those positions specializing in placement of lawyers, doctors, and engineers. A relatively high turnover rate, due to job stress, will provide many opportunities in addition to those generated by very rapid growth in demand.

Employment interviewers may lose their jobs during recessions because employers reduce or eliminate new hiring during downturns in the economy, greatly reducing the need for employment interviewers. Those who place permanent or temporary personnel are more susceptible to layoffs than State Job Service employment interviewers.


Earnings in private firms vary, in part because the basis for compensation varies. Workers in personnel consulting firms generally are paid on a commission basis while those in temporary help service companies receive a salary.

When workers are paid on a commission basis (or salary plus commission), total earnings depend on how much business they bring in. This is usually based on the type as well as the number of placements. Those who place more highly skilled or hard-to-find employees make more. An interviewer or counselor working strictly on a commission basis often makes around 30 percent of what he or she bills the client, although this varies from firm to firm. Some work on a salary-plus-commission basis 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 and opportunity for higher earnings.

Some personnel consulting firms employ new workers for a 2- to 3-month probationary period during which they draw a regular salary. This is intended to provide 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 switched to a commission basis.

Related Occupations:

Employment interviewers serve as intermediaries for job-seekers and employers. Workers in several other occupations do similar jobs.

Personnel officers screen and help hire new employees but their major concern is the hiring needs of the firm; they never represent individual jobseekers. Personnel officers may also have additional duties in areas such as payroll or benefits management.

College career counselors help students and alumni find jobs, but their primary emphasis is career counseling and decision making, not placement

Counselors in community organizations and vocational rehabilitation facilities help clients find jobs, but they also provide assistance with drug or alcohol dependencies, housing, transportation, childcare, and other problems that stand in the way of finding and keeping a job.
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