• Current Trends in Job Interviewing Techniques for Human Resource Management at Marriott

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    The second of eight children to parents Hyrum Willard Marriott and Ellen Morris Marriott, John Willard Marriott was born at Marriott Settlement near Ogden, Utah on September 17, 1900. Known to the family simply Bill, 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 a significant degree of responsibility on the farm at an early age. As a direct result, Bill rapidly learned to rely on ingenuity and his own wisdom. While in awe of the expansiveness and the picturesque backdrop of the Rockies as a youngster, Bill imagined 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. Traveling on his way home through Washington, D.C. after finishing his service during the summer of 1921 he recognized a tailor-made market for A&W root beer (Wikipedia, n.d.).

    Marriott returned to Utah to enroll at the Weber Stake Academy in Ogden, and then shortly thereafter graduated from the University of Utah in 1926. Remembering the ready market of thirsty tourists in the nation’s capital, both he and business partner Hugh Colton combined $6,000 to open a nine-stool A&W root beer stand at 3128 14th Street NW on May 20, 1927 (Wikipedia, n.d.). Only two weeks later Marriott rushed back from to Utah to be present at another life changing event, his wedding to Alice Sheets. The day after Alice graduated from the University of Utah, the couple was married in Salt Lake City on June 9, 1927. Their honeymoon was spent in Marriott’s Model-T Ford in a rough and slow trip back to Washington D.C. where destiny awaited (Marriott, n.d.). Marriott’s corporation progressively grew throughout the following 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 completely sold out in two hours. However it was not until four years later in 1957 that Marriott increased his corporation’s span to hotels. 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., assumed control of Marriott Corporation in 1972, the patriarch simply could not relegate himself to a life of retirement. During those 58 years from opening his Washington D.C. stand in 1927 until his death in August 1985, J. Willard Marriott was an active worker who favored running his business and seldom relaxed. Marriott’s business was an integral part of himself. He worked as a genuinely practical boss who loved to spend time with the increasing ranks of employees who he felt were the key to Marriott’s success. Eloquently echoing an honest principle that continues to be the foundation of Marriott’s culture, “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your customers. Treat your employees the way you would like to be treated – provide them every avenue to success. Get their confidence and respect. Have them like and be interested in their job” (Marriott & Brown, 1997). Companies with an embedded corporate culture such as Marriott must rely on interviewing to accurately determine those employees that are a perfect organizational fit. Interviewing is the process through which an employer assesses a potential employee for employment in their company (Wikipedia, n.d.). Historically speaking, interviewing is typically the final stage in the hiring process. It is ultimately the single most important determinant in whether or not an employee meets the selective philosophical criteria of employers. Employers such as Marriott may offer varying degrees and styles of interviewing techniques, yet for the most part interviewing types can be classified between a pair of dichotomous categories.

    Type of Interviews:

    There are fundamentally two different kinds of interviewing methods used by human resource management to help meet their goal of selecting the right person; the screening interview and the behavioral interview.

    Screening Interview:

    This interview is designed to cull the applicants who do not meet the specific qualifications of a candidate. It also allows them to gather basic information about the applicant.

    Behavioral Interview:

    This type of interview is designed to help make an educated selection decision based on fair and legitimate criteria, rather than on a “gut feeling.” The following guidelines will deal predominantly as the acceptance determinant and has been constructed with three major objectives in mind.

    1. To provide a process that ensures that all candidates will be evaluated in a uniform and consistent manner.

    2. To provide an outline for use in the interview process.

    3. To provide tools that will result in obtaining answers from potential candidates, serving as indicators or predictors of future performance.

    The Interviewing Process:

    The interviewing process is divided into three segments: preparation, the interview, and evaluation/selection.


    The first step concerns the job description involved with the interview. This will to determine what they are looking for in a candidate. The best way to do this is by reviewing the job responsibilities listed in the job description. As they are reading these, they must ask themselves: what are the personal characteristics and skills needed to be successful in the position? Examples may include attention to detail, communication skills, flexibility, calmness, job-related knowledge, energy, reliability, etc.

    Application Review:

    A candidate’s completed job application can serve a variety of purposes. Completed application forms present an accurate preview of the “coming attractions,” or the work background, ambitions, and education that candidates bring to the interview. Remember that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. As they read the application, they should automatically check for such items as experience, education, and physical qualifications, but there are many other things they can get from the application.

    Completed application forms also present the framework that will be used in the actual interview with the candidate. They take the time to read them carefully. They cannot interview effectively, if they have not done their homework.

    To help them in reading or analyzing the application forms, three things are considered:

    1. The information they give.

    2. The skills they show in presenting the information.

    3. The way they think, as revealed by the answers they give, in response to the application form questions, as well as their answers to the initial screening interview.

    Technical and Performance Categories:

    The technical category is defined by the specific tasks performed in a job. These skills reflect knowledge or abilities that are taught in colleges technical programs, etc., or are learned through company training programs. For example, if they were hiring a housekeeper, the technical category would be looking to see if the candidate knows how to make a bed, knows the correct way to vacuum, etc.

    The performance category is defined as working habits or special abilities that are typically learned through life’s experiences rather than formal training. Often these skills are learned early in life and reflect beliefs about how a job should be done. For example, if they were hiring a housekeeper, they will look at how the candidate organizes their work, how seriously they take responsibility, or how they follow through on their commitments.

    Categorizing Job Requirements:

    With the use of job descriptions, they look at the skills or areas of major responsibility needed for that particular job. These skills are then categorized into either the performance or the technical dimension. For example, one of the areas of major responsibility for a cook is to prepare and properly garnish all food orders in accordance with menu specifications. This would fall under the performance category.

    Identify Skills Based on Requirements:

    Once they know the requirement of the job, they can then identify the skills required to successfully complete the job.

    The Climate:

    When the candidate arrives, he/she is welcomed with a smile, a handshake and a warm and friendly verbal greeting. Eye contact is established and the candidate is 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.

    The Interview:

    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 candidate.

    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 say 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.

    – Do not 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 sufficient information from the candidate, it is time to close the interview. Telling the candidate 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 must be honest and fair, but do not make any promises that you cannot keep, or embellish your answers that would then give the candidate an inaccurate portrayal of a situation.

    Tell the candidate when they can expect to be contacted ends the interview regarding the position. An applicant is never dismissed without them being told when they expect to be making their decision. It is not a good policy to let people wonder indefinitely as to whether or not they got the job.

    An interview typically lasts approximately 30-60 minutes for hourly positions. However, if it is evident that the applicant does not meet the requirement of the job, the interview may conclude sooner.

    Evaluation of the Candidate:

    The next step is to evaluate the candidate. You will want to complete their evaluation as soon as possible after the interview.

    In order for interviewers to be effective in evaluating an applicant, it is essential that they know exactly what characteristics and skills they are looking for in an interviewee.

    Interview Guideline Form

    Candidate Name_____________________________________________________

    Interviewer________________________ Date of Interview_________________

    1. Greet Candidate

    Ø Introduce Yourself

    Ø Use Icebreaker

    Ø Review Interview Agenda

    – Job Experience / Educational Background

    – Ask Questions / Take Notes

    – Share Job / Communication Information

    – Answer Questions

    2. The Interview

    Ø Ask Qualifying Questions

    o Full- time, Part-time, Pay Expected, Shift Preference

    Ø Review Candidate’s Application Information

    Ø Ask Selected Questions (Use Evaluation Tool)

    o Listen to Responses & Probe for Details

    Ø Review Application Job Description

    o Have Candidate sign Acknowledgement Form

    3. Conclude Interview

    Ø Tell Candidate about Position and Company

    Ø Ask Candidate if they have any Questions

    Ø Close Interview – (smile and bid them a fond farewell)

    Marriott’s perception on interview questions is:

    · The information gathered about an applicant may cause the selection of one question over another the selection of several questions for that characteristic.

    · Also if they are not sure of a candidate’s ability in a certain area, additional questions are asked until they are satisfied regarding that candidate’s ability.

    · They must make sure that the questions are not considered illegal.

    Getting Ready for the Interview:

    Steps in preparing for the interview

    1. The job description is reviewed

    2. The candidate’s application is reviewed

    3. The questions are chosen.

    Interview Set Up:


    Prior to the application the standard is that they would prepare some form of “ice breaker,” in order to initiate conversation. At this point the interviewer ensures that he or she utilizes the interview tool; by filling in the necessary information and questions that they will be asking. This information is then attached to the candidate’s job description, the application, and the pinned to a clipboard.


    The interview is generally conducted in a very quiet and private area, this is so because they believe that this will allow the candidate to feel more at ease.


    The interview time set with the candidates are usually scheduled during slower business times so that there is no rush or distraction.

    Interview Questions:

    The following are sample questions used by the interviewer during the interview. Each question falls under one of sixteen categories, each with tips as to what the interviewer should look for in the applicants answer.

    ATTENTION TO DETAIL – Category 1

    Tell me about a time in which it was very important that everything about a project, event, or assignment was just right. What was the project, event or assignment? What things had to be perfect? How did it come out?

    Interviewer is looking for desire for perfection and thoroughness.

    Tell me about the last time you were commended for efficiently handling a number of small details.

    Interviewer is looking for ability to handle tasks carefully and correctly.

    Tell me about the last time you made a mistake because you were rushing. What was the situation? How often has this kind of situation happened?

    Interviewer is looking for: Ability to maintain order.

    How important was it in your last job to pay attention to details?

    Interviewer is looking for experience.


    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 was the discussion like when it was the most heated? How did both of you show your frustration or anger? How was it resolved? How was your relationship after the incident?

    Interviewer is looking for ability to negotiate, compromise and tactfulness.

    Describe the last time you confronted a peer about something they did which bothered you. What did you say or do?

    Interviewer is looking for kindness, consideration and warmth.

    Think of the most difficult customer you have met; how did you handle him/her?

    Interviewer is looking for a positive attitude and sensitivity to others.

    When thinking about how you get along with others, what do you see as your strengths and your weaknesses? Why?

    Interviewer is looking for team player, friendliness and cheerfulness.

    Many people have the ability to “step into another’s shoes”. When has this skill been required of you?

    Interviewer is looking for capability of looking at another point of view.


    Tell me about the tasks you typically performed on your last job. On which of these tasks do you feel particularly competent? Why? Which task you enjoy least?

    Interviewer is looking for specific examples of desire to develop.

    In which areas would you like to become more highly skilled?

    Interviewer is looking for specific direction.

    ORAL COMMUNICATION – Category 4:

    Tell me about the most complicated message you had to communicate to someone. How was it complicated? What did you do to ensure the message was understood?

    Interviewer is looking for ability to understand and analyze.

    What feedback have you received on your ability to communicate clearly and concisely?

    Interviewer is looking for ability to understand messages and ability to analyze.


    Tell me about the last time you were reprimanded for not completing a task the way your supervisor wanted it done, or on time. What were the circumstances?

    Interviewer is looking for willingness to conform and work well under rules or structure.

    What procedures or policies would you have liked to change at your last job?

    Interviewer is looking for desire to improve conditions.

    ORGANIZATION – Category 6:

    Tell me about the last time you were working on several things at the same time and try to meet a deadline. How did you structure your time? Did you meet the deadline?

    Interviewer is looking for ability to tackle high priority tasks first, persistence and being in control of situations.

    Tell me about the last time you made a decision that backfired. What caused you to choose that particular course of action? What options did you consider? Who did you talk to about it? What feedback did you get?

    Interviewer is looking for ability to understand and problem solve.

    Would you describe yourself as being more logical or intuitive in solving problems? Give me an example that shows you style.

    Interviewer is looking for specifics that demonstrate creative approach.


    Explain how you have modified an administrative system to improve its effectiveness.

    Interviewer is looking for desire to improve current systems

    What do you do to ensure correct spelling, etc. in your written work? How often do you have your work returned to you because of spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors?

    Interviewer is looking for desire to improve current systems.

    COOPERATION – Category 8:

    Tell me about a project or task you were doing when you didn’t think you could get it done yourself and asked for help. Who did you ask? What did they do to help?

    Interviewer is looking for development of cooperative working relationships.

    What steps do you take to help ensure good working relationships with your co-workers? When was the last time you used those steps? How well did they works?

    Interviewer is looking for positive attitude and ability to be a good team player.

    Tell me about a time when you and a co-worker had different ideas about the approach to a task. How did you work through it?

    Interviewer is looking for desire to listen, compromise and contributes.


    Tell me about the period of time when your work or school has been the most hectic. What did you do to keep it under control? How many extra hours did you work in that time?

    Interviewer is looking for ability to keep in control while working under pressure.


    What is the greatest adjustment you would have to make if hired here?

    Interviewer is looking for how adjustment impacts job and how well interviewee adapts to change.

    Tell me about the most intense period of change in your life where your ability to adapt was taxed. What changes were taking place? How did you first react to the changes that were taking place?
    Interviewer is looking for positive attitude and handling ambiguity with skill.

    ENERGY – Category 11:

    In previous jobs, what types of situations would arise for which you had to act quickly? What would you do?

    Interviewer is looking for ability and desire to react and energetic movement.

    Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

    Interviewer is looking for positive attitude and show of urgency in getting work done.

    REALIABILITY – Category 12:

    Tell me about the last time you did something because it needed to be done, even though it was not your responsibility.

    Interviewer is looking for persistence and a positive attitude.

    Tell me about a time when you couldn’t make to a specific responsibility (i.e. work) on time. What was the situation? What did you do?

    Interviewer is looking for attitude towards attendance and taking of responsibility seriously.

    AWARENESS – Category 13:

    In previous jobs, what types of situations would arise for which you had to act quickly? What would you do?

    Interviewer is looking for observance and readiness to react.

    Describe a time when a situation around you required your immediate and complete attentiveness.
    Interviewer is looking for ability to analyze, focus.

    DRIVE – Category 14:

    How do 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.

    Interviewer is looking for self-motivation and strive for excellence.

    Tell me about the most long-termed, sustained, extra hours effort you have ever put in. What was the assignment? In what ways did you put out extra effort to get the job done? How successful were you?

    Interviewer is looking for desire to succeed, perseverance.

    PATIENCE – Category 15:

    What are some of your “hot buttons” – for example, things that you just cannot stand. Give an example, and how you reacted to the situation.

    Interviewer is looking for ability to remain even-tempered and ability to control temper.

    SOCIABILITY – Category 16:

    Describe the best example of your ability to establish a positive relationship with someone you didn’t know. What was the situation? What did you do? How did you do it? What obstacles were there? How did you overcome them?

    Interviewer is looking for ability to work well with others.

    Tell me about a situation in your life where you really depended upon your ability to get along with other people. What was the situation? How did you do it? What obstacles were there? How did you overcome them?

    Interviewer is looking for teamwork and ability to establish harmonious relationships.

    Some people get to know strangers quickly; while others prefer to take their time letting people get to know them. Describe how you enter relationships when you are “new to a group”

    Interviewer is looking for a positive attitude and cooperation.

    Improper Questions:

    The following are sample questions that may cause legal retaliation by applicants and are considered improper by Marriott.

    What is your maiden name?

    The company believes that question would not be relevant to a person’s ability to perform a job, and it could be used for a discriminatory purpose. For example a woman’s maiden name might be used as an indication of her religion or national origin. This question could also constitute an inquiry into marital status, hence this question will be one in which they will try to avoid.

    What was your previous married name?

    Marriott believes that this question asks, in effect, whether an individual has been widowed or divorced.

    Have you ever worked under another name?

    They believe that this is simply another way of asking the applicant’s sex and marital status.
    What is your birthplace or that of your spouse, parents, or other relatives?

    The Marriott Corporation believes that any question along this line is an attempt to determine national origin.

    What are some of the organizations, clubs, societies and lodges to which you belong?

    They believe this question is not relevant to job and that it might be an attempt to determine national origin or race. Also it is improper to inquire about a professional organization.

    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 would accept?

    Marriott feels that this is improper because in general women have worked at lower paying jobs than men, and in the past have been paid less than men for the same work. As a result, they strongly believe that a woman might be willing to work for less pay than a man would find acceptable. This question is improper and irrelevant.

    What is your height and weight?

    Marriott feels that some employers have imposed minimum height, or weight, requirement for employees that are not related to the job to be performed and which have the effect of excluding above average percentages of women and members of certain nationality groups. Unless height and weight is directly related to job requirements, these questions should not be asked.

    Have you ever been refused a fidelity bond?

    This question presumably represents an indirect effort to find a flaw that may exist in an individual’s past. The difficulty with this is that a fidelity bond may be denied for totally arbitrary and discriminatory reasons, which the individual does not have an opportunity to know of, or challenge.

    Attach a photograph to the application form.

    It is improper to require that an applicant affix a photograph to the employment form after the interview but before hiring, or at the option of the applicant.

    What kind of work does your spouse do?

    Marriott feels that to an extent, this question asks for marital status. In addition, some employers have been reluctant to hire a woman if that would make her the second breadwinner in the family, whereas, there is seldom any objection to hiring a man if that would make him the second breadwinner of the family.