(or at least, my personal take on it!)
Over the last couple of months, I've been interviewing candidates for a couple of different roles at Microsoft at a rate of almost one a week. Interviewing is definitely something of a skill, both for the interviewee and for the interviewer. A good interviewer doesn't ask random questions, even if it seems that way - they're trying to get a candidate to reveal enough about their character, skills, temperament and awareness that they can determine whether they'd be a good hire for the team.
I enjoy the mental stimulus of being on either side of the desk for an interview: as an interviewer, the challenge of trying to get through the mask that people sometimes put up to find out where someone's real talents and weaknesses; as an interviewee, the process of finding out more about yourself and the areas where you personally need to develop. Either way, it's a process of continual learning.
One thing that surprises me is how many potential new hires fall into the same "traps". I don't try to catch people out or set trick questions, but I see people who don't do themselves justice in the way they present themselves. Here are a few ways I see people shooting themselves in the foot, based not on any individual candidate but a broad aggregation of the perhaps 15-20 interviews that I've conducted in the last year:
In general terms, it's in both the interviewer and the interviewee's interest to determine whether the person is a "good hire" or a "bad hire". No matter how much you want a job coming into an interview, pretending to be someone you're not (more technical than you really are, more interested in a certain type of work than you really are) to land a position doesn't lead to satisfaction in the long run, when you wind up getting bad performance reviews because your skills just don't mesh with the requirements of a role. On the other hand, if you can find a job that really matches your interests, skills and goals, you'll have great fun doing it and naturally excelling in it.
Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Tim Sneath, gives us the Inside Scoop on Interviewing at Microsoft. Great