The Different Types of Interviews: Mastering the Interview Game

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When it comes to Human Resources, interviewing potential and current employees are an important task. You will find that there are many types of interviews that you can take advantage of to ensure you’re able to learn about the candidates and employees and build the best possible workforce for your company.

Exploring the different types of job interviews, from one-on-one to panel interviews, will allow you to improve your hiring success rate and build a work culture that will lead to higher employee retention.

We will discuss the different interview types, how they work, and how they can best be used. Let us explore each of these now to provide you with more insight so you can transform your own recruitment tasks.

Structured vs. Unstructured Interviews

Regardless of whether you have an in person interview, a phone interview, or some other type, it's important to know that they can be either structured or unstructured.

Structured interviews rely on a pre-determined set of questions. You are going to conduct the job interview with a set goal, such as learning about a person's ability to do the job or what kind of background they have.

Meanwhile, unstructured interviews allow you to be more casual without a list of interview questions already established.

It is also possible to have semi structured interviews where you have a goal in mind but create questions as you go based on what a person's resume looks like and the candidate's answers to previous interview questions.

One-On-One Interview

A one-on-one interview, is one of the most common forms of job interview. This is a structured interview where you invite the candidate to the office so that you can meet the individual, ask questions, and find out more about who they are and what they have to offer the company. This is a formal interview where the interviewer asks about anything from field research to special skills in order to gain an in depth understanding of what the candidate is capable of.

One-on-one job interviews will tell you quite a bit, including:

  • How professionally a person dresses
  • How well they speak
  • What their body language is like
  • How they conduct themselves in a corporate environment

During a one-on-one job interview, you may have the candidate answer questions about their education, past work history and even provide them with scenario questions to know how they would handle certain conflicts that may arise in the workplace.

A one-on-one interview may be one of the first ways that you meet a candidate after reading over their resume. You may also decide to perform additional interviews after meeting with them prior to making your final hiring decision – especially if you have multiple qualified candidates.

Panel Interview

A panel interview involves one candidate but more than one interviewer from your organisation. This kind of interview can be helpful when a particular job reports to multiple hiring managers or when you want to have the perspective of multiple managers weigh in on a candidate.

Some individuals who may be on the panel:

  • HR manager
  • Department supervisor
  • Key employee

Since each person on the panel may handle different tasks, they will be able to produce more interview questions.

If you have a unique role that is being developed for the first time, a panel interview can be one of the best ways to find out if a candidate is capable of handling the responsibilities. Additionally, a panel interview can save time in the overall hiring process rather than asking a candidate to come in for multiple one-on-one interviews.

Group Interview

A group interview can save you time in the hiring process by bringing in multiple candidates all at once. If you are hiring multiple people for the same or similar role, you can invite everyone in. This should be a structured interview so that you can ask for specific examples and maintain control of the candidate's answers. Otherwise, you may find that you're not learning about all of the individuals.

Conduct a presentation that goes into detail about the job and ask questions of everyone in the room about how they problem solve.

This type of position allows candidates to stand out because you will find one or two that will be the first to raise their hand or will take the initiative to be the conversation starters.

You can find out a lot about a candidate in a group interview based on how they get along with their peers, how they make eye contact, and how extroverted they are.

Group interviews are particularly beneficial when hiring for sales, call centres, and more. You will be able to get through more candidates quickly so that you can meet your staffing needs and get back to business as usual.

Distance (Tele) Interview

Some interviews cannot be performed in-person as a result of conflicting schedules, different locations, and more. As such, you can conduct a distance interview over the phone or on video.

You may choose this as a pre-screening method to ask a few key questions before bringing a person in for a panel interview – especially if the interview involves flying a candidate in from another location.

Many distance interviews are a bit more relaxed. It may be best to have a list of template questions that you ask of every candidate to find out more about their qualifications – questions that you cannot find out from their resumes alone.

It is becoming more common to conduct distance interviews, especially when you are hiring a remote position. If the person will not be working in the office, there’s no need to make them visit the office for the interview.

Informal Interview

Informal interviews can make it easy for you to learn a bit about a candidate without having them come out to the office. You may meet them at a coffee shop or invite them to a lunch interview to learn more about their qualifications and for you to discuss the expectations of the job.

Informal interviews are ideal when you are traveling to an area where you want to have a physical presence down the line. It can also be a great way to woo a candidate before they have even officially applied for a position.

You can also invite others to an informal interview to see how an individual will interact with the other members of your team.

Working Interview

A working job interview is often one of the last interviews that you conduct before you make a final hiring decision. This is when you ask a candidate to perform some of the physical duties of the job so that you can see them in real and stressful situations. It will also make it easier to ask situational questions.

If the position requires a person to adapt quickly, be creative, or perform special tasks, it may be necessary to have a working interview so you can see whether the person is capable of doing the job.

It is common to request a working interview for sales positions, food & beverage positions, as well as creative positions such as copywriting or marketing.

The job interview is typically conducted on premises, and at least one hiring manager will be in place at all times to see how the individual works.

It also allows an individual to see if they like the job so that you do not end up hiring a person only for them to quit shortly after because they don’t like the people, the environment, or the responsibilities.

Behavioural Interview

Behavioural interviews are more in-depth and can make it easier to understand a candidate’s temperament, problem-solving capabilities, and more.

Some of the behavioural interviews can be performed by a third party. You can provide the candidate with a link for them to answer multiple-choice questions online. Then, they’ll be scored based on their answers, and you’ll be given their score or profile.

Personality assessments and cognitive assessments can be given.

Additionally, you can ask your own behavioural questions to find out how they will handle stress, working with other employees, and difficult customers/clients.

These interviews are critical when you want to get a good match for the company culture you have worked hard to establish.

Stay Interview

Stay interviews are becoming more common in companies that want to improve their corporate culture and retention rates. It’s when you interview the employees who have already been hired and who are staying within their positions for a year or more.

You can make this kind of interview as casual or as formal as you want. It can be conducted one-on-one or as a focus group.

Ask questions about whether the employees like their job, management, and the responsibilities they are given in comparison to their rate of pay. This should be an information-gathering session, so you know what your company is doing right and what improvements need to be made.

Stay interviews can help you to learn more about what employees may be thinking of leaving and what can be done to keep them in place, too. This allows you to be more conscient about how you run your business. Further, doing what you can to keep your employees can reduce costs involved in recruiting and onboarding.

Exit Interview

An exit interview is performed once an employee has given notice – usually within a few days of their last day. It is designed for you to find out about their experience with the company so you can find out what they liked and didn’t like.

The information you learn from the exit interview can help you to enhance the job experience for future employees – and more specifically, those you hire to fill the current role that the employee is leaving from.

The exit interview should be conducted in such a way that you do not admonish an employee for sharing their thoughts. Allow them to speak openly and honestly.

By asking the right questions, you can learn about:

  • The expectations of the job
  • The job environment
  • The need to make improvements
  • Managerial effectiveness

Particularly when you have high job turnover, the exit interview is a critical step to finding out why employees do not want to stay within the company or within a specific department. As long as you are willing to accept the feedback with an open mind and make changes based on the feedback, you can start to see improvements within your workforce.

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Topic: Interview / Types of Interviews