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Types of Interviews

30 October, 2015 - 17:25

Interview processes can be time-consuming, so it makes sense to choose the right type of interview(s) for the individual job. Some jobs, for example, may necessitate only one interview, while another may necessitate a telephone interview and at least one or two traditional interviews. Keep in mind, though, that there will likely be other methods with which to evaluate a candidate’s potential, such as testing. Testing is discussed in "Testing". Here are different types of interviews:

  1. Traditional interview. This type of interview normally takes place in the office. It consists of the interviewer and the candidate, and a series of questions are asked and answered.
  2. Telephone interview. A telephone interview is often used to narrow the list of people receiving a traditional interview. It can be used to determine salary requirements or other data that might automatically rule out giving someone a traditional interview. For example, if you receive two hundred résumés and narrow these down to twenty-five, it is still unrealistic to interview twenty-five people in person. At this point, you may decide to conduct phone interviews of those twenty-five, which could narrow the in-person interviews to a more manageable ten or so people.
  3. Panel interview. A panel interview occurs when several people are interviewing one candidate at the same time. While this type of interview can be nerve racking for the candidate, it can also be a more effective use of time. Consider some companies who require three to four people to interview candidates for a job. It would be unrealistic to ask the candidate to come in for three or four interviews, so it makes sense for them to be interviewed by everyone at once.
  4. Information interview. Informational interviews are usually used when there is no specific job opening, but the candidate is exploring possibilities in a given career field. The advantage to conducting these types of interviews is the ability to find great people ahead of a job opening.
  5. Meal interviews. Many organizations offer to take the candidate to lunch or dinner for the interview. This can allow for a more casual meeting where, as the interviewer, you might be able to gather more information about the person, such as their manners and treatment of waitstaff. This type of interview might be considered an unstructured interview, since it would tend to be more of a conversation as opposed to a session consisting of specific questions and answers.
  6. Group interview. In a group interview, two or more candidates interview at the same time. This type of interview can be an excellent source of information if you need to know how they may relate to other people in their job.
  7. Video interviews. Video interviews are the same as traditional interviews, except that video technology is used. This can be cost saving if one or more of your candidates are from out of town. Skype, for example, allows free video calls. An interview may not feel the same as a traditional interview, but the same information can be gathered about the candidate.
  8. Nondirective interview (sometimes called an unstructured interview).In a nondirective interview, the candidate essentially leads the discussion. Some very general questions that are planned ahead of time may be asked, but the candidate spends more time talking than the interviewer. The questions may be more open ended; for example, instead of asking, “Do you like working with customers?” you may ask, “What did you like best about your last job?” The advantage of this type of interview is that it can give candidates a good chance to show their abilities; however, the downside is that it may be hard to compare potential candidates, since questions are not set in advance. It relies on more of a “gut feeling” approach.

It is likely you may use one or more of these types of interviews. For example, you may conduct phone interviews, then do a meal interview, and follow up with a traditional interview, depending on the type of job.