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The four stages of the employment interview: Helping interviewers put two and two together

Uco J. Wiersma (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 5 December 2016



The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual model of the standard employment interview that practitioners may use to improve their interview skills and the accuracy of their selection decisions.


The dynamics of each discrete stage of the interview model are supported by empirical findings from the research literature on employment interviewing.


An interview transitions through four naturally occurring stages: the initial impression formed in the first few seconds when the candidate and interviewer first lay eyes on one another; a rapport building stage of several minutes to help each party settle in; the body of the interview in which job skills and culture-fit are assessed; and the close, when the interviewer asks if the candidate has any questions about the job or company.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for research include providing solutions to the problem of difficult-to-control personal biases (especially during Stages 1 and 2), as well as conducting holistic studies that include the factors that influence decision making across all four stages to determine their relative weights.

Practical implications

The four stage model can be used to design interview training programs. By dividing the interview into discrete stages, practitioners can become aware of the pitfalls within each stage and use evidence-based findings to correct mistakes.

Social implications

Companies and job candidates benefit alike when selection is based on job skills and person-organization fit rather than on how well job candidates can interview.


This is the first paper to propose that employment interviews move through four discrete stages and to support the assertion with findings from secondary empirical research.



Wiersma, U.J. (2016), "The four stages of the employment interview: Helping interviewers put two and two together", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 232-239.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, U.J. Wiersma