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close this bookTraining Programme for Women Entrepreneurs in the Food-processing Industry - Volume I (UNIDO, 1985, 356 p.)
close this folderRecruitment and Selection of Participants
View the documentDefinition of the Target Group
View the documentTiming
View the documentInitial Promotion
View the documentThe Application Form
View the documentShort Listing Applicants
View the documentThe Interview
View the documentApplication Form
View the documentPre-Interview Form
View the documentApplication Interview and Test Results
View the documentApplication Interview Guidelines/Scoring Sheet for Interviewers

The Interview

1. When they arrive, applicants should be asked to complete a pre-interview form, on the lines of that included with these guidelines (see "Pre-interview Form" at the end of this chapter). This may appear to duplicate some of the information in the initial application, but it should be requested for the following reasons:

· Some applicants may have had their initial forms filled in by other people; this will check that they are capable of understanding and responding to the questions themselves

· The information given may be inconsistent with that provided earlier; this provides vital information as to an applicant's seriousness and honesty, although there is no reason why an applicant should not change her mind on some items

· The applicants will have something to do while waiting to be interviewed

· In answering the questions applicants will be reminded of their business history and plans, and will thus be better prepared for interview

If a self-administered personal attribute test or other instrument is being used, applicants should also fill this in at this stage. To check the women's literacy and numeracy level, it is suggested that a practical test is given before or during the interview.

2. The interview committee should be composed of at least four people, of whom three must be present throughout each interview. At least half of the committee should be women, and the members should if possible include people with local knowledge of business conditions and those familiar with training entrepreneurs.

If any member knows an applicant personally, or has strong positive or negative opinions about a particular candidate because of some private information, he or she should not be present at that applicant's interview.

3. Whoever is chairing the interviewers should welcome each applicant, introduce hersel fand the other interviewers, and explain the procedure. She should then start by asking the applicant to describe her business and employment experience to date, eliciting further details in order to obtain indications of the various entrepreneurial qualities or characteristics listed in the "Application Interview Guidelines/Scoring Sheet for Interviewers" at the end of this chapter.

She, and the other interviewers, should then ask further questions which will elicit indications as to the applicant's possession or otherwise of the qualities, and should mark each quality as follows:


This quality is totally lacking


There is a little sign of this quality


The applicant is quite strong in this regard


This quality is very strong indeed.

4. The interview should not last more than thirty minutes; it is important to remember that the applicant may have travelled for a day or more, and spent what is to her a considerable sum, to be interviewed, so that even if all interviewers are quite certain that she is unsuitable, she should be given the courtesy of a reasonable interview.

In such cases, it may be possible gently to convert the interview into a counselling session, giving the applicant useful advice, which may include a suggestion that she should very carefully re-consider what she is doing and consider substantially changing or even stopping it. This can be very useful to someone who is risking substantial loss in a misguided enterprise.

At the end of the interview, the applicant should be asked if she wants to ask any questions, which should be answered fully. The dates and method of informing applicants of the results should also be explained in detail.

5. When the applicant has left, the Chairman should then ask each interviewer for her total score on the 3-2-1-0 scoring sheet for interviewers, and should average the scores of all the interviewers. The result should be entered on the appraisal form provided (see "Application Interview and Test Results" at the end of this chapter), and additional scores should be added as follows:

Any post-full-time schooling and or vocational training

plus 2

Father or mother were in business for themselves

plus 4

Applicant aged 30 or over

plus 2

Applicant aged 30 or over and single

plus 6

These factors have been found to have an important bearing on entrepreneurial success in many countries.

Each interviewer should also have come to a "yes" or "no" decision, independently of the figures, and the chairman should then record these. She should also note the applicant's score on any attitude or other tests that may have been used, and should grade the applicant as to how involved she is in her business as follows:

Business is only an idea, nothing has started yet


She has started some very small-scale activity, but it is still of minor importance


She is very involved, but the business is not her main source of income


She is very involved, and the business is her main source of income


This latter ranking is not related to the applicant's merit in any way, but may be necessary when making the final selection if the course is to be only for those already in business, only for start-ups, or for a mixed group.

The appraisal form should be completed immediately after each interview; the chairman may care to note any particular remark, or other aspect of each applicant, in order to remind herself of the person when the final selections are made after all the interviews have been completed.

She should also note the outlines of a helpful comment which is to be included in each letter of rejection; at this stage, of course, such a note should be made for each applicant because the final verdict cannot be considered until after all applicants have been seen.

6. Any applicant scoring over 30 on the average 3-2-1-0 totals, as increased by the other factors, is likely to be able to be selected without any further discussion, unless there are more applicants at this level than can be accomodated. Anyone scoring between 20 and 30 where every interviewer noted "yes" as her "subjective" verdict should also be acceptable. When any interviewer is strongly negative, she should argue her case with the other interviewers until a consensus is reached.

If more acceptances are needed to fill the course, applicants scoring over twenty but with divided "yes/no" interviewer opinions should next be discussed. In general, applicants scoring under twenty should not be included, and it is better to have a lower number of course participants than to have a full class room of unsuitable trainees.

7. All applicants, successful and otherwise, should be notified of the result at once, and unsuccessful applicants should have a brief but specific and positive comment added to any formal letter of rejection, in the style of the examples given below, or longer and in more detail if possible;

"Save regularly from your present earnings, so that you will be able to buy your own knitting machine in the not too distant future."

"Carry on with your existing cake making and poultry businesses, but examine the profits you are earning very carefully and consider concentrating all your efforts on the one which gives the best reward for the time you spend on it."

"Consider very carefully the possibilities of conflict of interest between the group with which you work and your own proposed business, and be sure that you do not put yourself into a position where you may have to choose between the two in allocating orders or scarce supplies."

Information about alternative sources of training or advice should also be included if possible.

8. The successful applicants should be given all necessary details, as to timing, location and financial arrangements, and if trainees' transport expenses are to be reimbursed it should be made clear that they will have to pay the costs themselves and then claim reimbursement. Such reimbursement should of course generally be avoided, and in most cases participants should pay a fee for the course itself, as evidence of their commitment and in order to enhance their expectations and demands on the course.

Individual notification letters should be supplemented by newspaper advertisement and/or radio announcement, and some allowance should be made for drop-outs, by selecting some 10% more than the planned number, or, if it is quite impossible to accomodate more than the planned number, by advising a small number of reserves that they may be called at the last moment.