Types of Job Interviews and Strategies for HR Professionals

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This article will explore various aspects of conducting successful interviews and offer valuable insights for HR professionals to refine their skills and optimize the interview process.

Types of job interviews

Job interviews can vary in format, structure, and duration depending on the company, role, and the interviewer's preferences. Understanding the different types of interviews can help you prepare more effectively and showcase your qualifications to the best of your ability.

Traditional One-on-One Interview

The traditional one-on-one interview is the most common type of job interview. It typically involves a conversation between one interviewer and one candidate, often a hiring manager or human resources representative. This type of interview allows for a more personalized and in-depth assessment of your skills, experience, and fit for the role.

Useful Read: Assessment Centre: The Complete Employers Guide

Panel Interview

A panel interview involves multiple interviewers, typically two or more, asking questions of a single candidate. This format can be more intimidating than a one-on-one interview, but it also provides an opportunity to showcase your communication and teamwork skills.

Behavioral Interview

A behavioral interview focuses on your past experiences and how you have handled similar situations to those you might encounter in the job you are applying for. The interviewer will ask you questions about your past accomplishments, challenges, and problem-solving skills.

Case Interview

A case interview is a common type of interview used for consulting and finance roles. It typically involves presenting your analysis of a hypothetical business problem or decision-making scenario. This type of interview assesses your critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities.

Phone Interview

A phone interview is an initial screening process to assess your qualifications and interest in the role before inviting you for in-person interviews. It allows the interviewer to get a sense of your communication skills, personality, and fit for the company culture.

Video Interview

A video interview is a virtual interview conducted through video conferencing software. It provides the interviewer with a more personal interaction with than a phone interview, but it also allows them to assess your appearance and nonverbal communication.

How long do job interviews take?

The duration of an interview can vary significantly based on several factors, including the position, the company culture, and the interviewer's preference. However, there are some general guidelines that can provide a good starting point for understanding how long to expect an interview to last.

  • In-person interviews typically last between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on the role and the complexity of the questions being asked. This allows enough time to cover the necessary topics in-depth while also providing a comfortable setting for the candidate to ask questions and showcase their qualifications.

  • Phone interviews are typically shorter, lasting between 15 and 30 minutes. This is because the interviewer has less time to assess the candidate's overall fit for the role, so they focus on more general questions about experience, skills, and interest in the company.

  • Video interviews fall somewhere in between in-person and phone interviews, typically lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. This is because the interviewer can get a better sense of the candidate's personality and communication skills than in a phone interview, but they still need to conduct a more thorough assessment than in a brief phone call.

Here's a table summarizing the typical durations for different types of interviews:

Interview Type Typical Duration
In-person 45-90 minutes
Phone 15-30 minutes
Video 30-60 minutes

Factors Affecting Interview Duration

Several factors can influence the duration of an interview, including:

  • The level of the position: Entry-level positions may require shorter interviews, while more senior positions may warrant longer interviews to delve into the candidate's experience and expertise.

  • The complexity of the job: Roles requiring specialized skills or knowledge may involve more in-depth discussions and assessments, leading to longer interviews.

  • The interviewer's preference: Some interviewers prefer to have more time to chat with candidates and get to know them as individuals, while others may prefer a more structured approach with a set of predetermined questions.

Role of HR Professionals in the interview process

The role of HR professionals in the interview is multifaceted and extends beyond merely conducting interviews. Their involvement in the interview is crucial to the organization's overall success.

Here are some critical aspects of the HR professional's role during the interview process:

Job Analysis and Description:

  • Identifying the essential requirements and competencies needed for a particular job
  • Developing a comprehensive work description to attract suitable candidates

Recruitment and Candidate Screening:

  • Advertising job openings and promoting them through various channels
  • Reviewing applications and shortlisting candidates based on qualifications and experience

Useful Read: Applicant Tracking System: The Comprehensive Recruitment Solution

Interview Planning and Coordination:

  • Scheduling interviews and coordinating with relevant stakeholders, such as hiring managers and team members
  • Preparing a structured interview format, including questions tailored to the specific role

Conducting Interviews:

  • Utilizing various interview techniques, such as structured, behavioral, and situational interviews
  • Assessing candidates' skills, qualifications, and cultural fit within the organization

Evaluation and Feedback:

  • Collecting feedback from interviewers and consolidating information to make informed decisions
  • Evaluating candidates based on a predetermined set of criteria and performance during the interview.

By understanding and actively engaging in these aspects of the interview, the hiring manager can ensure that they select the most suitable candidates for their organization, ultimately contributing to its overall success and growth.

Preparing for the job interview

The job interview is a crucial component of the process, allowing HR professionals to assess a candidate's suitability for a role. Ensuring that the interview is thorough and effective requires careful preparation.

Understanding the Job Description and Requirements

The first step in preparing for a job interview is understanding the description and requirements. This entails reviewing the role's key responsibilities, qualifications, and required experience.

HR professionals should also familiarize themselves with any specific technical or industry-related jargon used in the job description and the broader context of the position within the company.

A comprehensive grasp of the job requirements enables HR professionals to develop insightful interview questions that accurately assess a candidate's capabilities.

Additionally, this knowledge helps interviewers identify potential gaps in the candidate's qualifications and explore possible solutions, such as additional training or mentoring.

Researching the Company Culture and Mission

Another critical aspect of interview preparation is researching the company's culture and mission.

This research may involve reviewing company literature, browsing the organization's website, or speaking with current employees to understand the values and behaviors prioritized within the company.

Understanding the organization's culture is crucial for assessing a candidate's compatibility. During the interview, HR professionals can ask questions that reveal the candidate's work style, communication preferences, and overall approach to problem-solving and compare these to the company's cultural norms.

Additionally, thorough knowledge of the company's mission will enable interviewers to evaluate how the candidate's goals and motivations align with the organization or company's mission.

Identifying the Ideal Candidate Profile

With a clear understanding of the job requirements and organizational culture, HR professionals can proceed to develop a preferred candidate profile.

This profile is a benchmark for evaluating candidates and streamlines the process by providing a clear vision of the desired qualifications, skills, and attributes.

When creating the preferred candidate profile, consider the following elements:

  • Essential and desirable skills: List the specific competencies required for the role, distinguishing between those essential and those desirable but not mandatory.

  • Experience: Outline the necessary level of experience in the industry and any specific expertise required in a similar role or with particular technologies or methodologies.

  • Education and certifications: Specify required or preferred degrees, certificates, or other professional credentials.

  • Soft skills: Identify the interpersonal and communication skills that are important for the role, such as teamwork, adaptability, or conflict resolution.

  • Cultural fit: Consider the traits and values enabling a candidate to thrive within the organization's culture, such as a collaborative mindset or a commitment to innovation.

By taking the time to understand the job description and requirements, research the organization's culture and mission, and identify the preferred candidate profile, HR professionals can ensure they are well-prepared for the job interview.

This preparation will enable them to conduct more effective interviews, leading to better hiring decisions and ultimately contributing to the organization's success.

Crafting the interview questions

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When it comes to the questions used in the interview, HR professionals should focus on those that can reveal a candidate's technical abilities and problem-solving skills and fit with the organization's culture.

The hiring manager should prepare smart questions tailored to the job and cover past successes, failures, challenges, and approaches to solving complex problems.

Questions should also allow candidates to showcase their personal life, knowledge, and capabilities engagingly for example, rather than simply asking a candidate to explain the features of a particular technology, ask them how they would use that technology to solve a real-world problem.

This will provide insight into the candidate's thought process and give you understanding of how they approach challenges.

The following are the most common interview questions:

Common job interview questions

  • Tell me about yourself and your qualifications
  • How do your skills align with this role?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your goals for the future?

Behavioral interview questions

  • How do you handle conflict at work?
  • Can you tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?

Leadership and organizational skills questions

  • How have you demonstrated leadership in previous roles?
  • How do you stay organized in a busy environment?

Company-specific and role-specific questions

HR professionals should also create company-specific and role-specific questions to assess candidates' suitability. These questions may include industry knowledge, technical expertise, leadership skills, or unique company challenges.

Preparing follow-up questions and probes

Follow-up questions and probes can help HR professionals dig deeper into a candidate's responses, answer questions and gather more information. Preparing these questions in advance ensures a thorough interview.

Conducting the job interview

The job interview is critical in determining a candidate's suitability for a specific role within an organization.

HR professionals must maintain a professional demeanor, create a comfortable environment, and remain focused on gathering the necessary information to make an informed hiring decision.

Preparing for the interview

Before the interview, HR professionals should familiarize themselves with the candidate's resume, cover letter, and other relevant materials. This will enable them to ask informed questions and understand the candidate's background and qualifications.

Additionally, HR professionals should prepare a list of relevant interview questions based on the job requirements and the candidate's experience.

Creating a welcoming and professional environment

The interview environment should be welcoming and professional, helping candidates feel at ease and allowing them to showcase their best qualities.

Ensure the room is tidy, comfortable, and free from distractions. HR professionals should also dress appropriately and maintain a polite and respectful demeanor throughout the interview.

Establishing rapport with the candidate

HR professionals should establish rapport with candidates through small talk and active listening. This may include asking about the candidate's interview journey, interests, or recent news related to their field.

By fostering a comfortable atmosphere, HR professionals encourage open communication and enable candidates to share their experiences and qualifications more freely.

Utilizing the STAR method for structured interviews

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method can help HR professionals structure their interviews and elicit meaningful candidate responses. This method encourages candidates to share specific examples and demonstrate their skills in context.

By asking questions that prompt candidates to describe a situation, the task they were responsible for, their actions, and the results they achieved, HR professionals can gain insights into the candidate's problem-solving abilities, teamwork, and adaptability.

Encouraging self-awareness and reflection from candidates

By asking open-ended questions and encouraging self-awareness, HR professionals can gain insights into a candidate's thought processes, problem-solving abilities, and growth potential.

Questions that prompt candidates to discuss their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement can reveal how self-aware they are and how they respond to feedback.

Assessing the candidate's fit with the team and work culture

During the interview, HR professionals should consider how the candidate's personality, communication style, and values align with the existing team member and organization culture.

This can be achieved by discussing the candidate's preferred work environment, their approach to teamwork and collaboration, and how they handle conflict or challenges within the workplace. A robust cultural fit can increase job satisfaction, productivity, and employee retention.

Evaluating technical skills and experience

In addition to assessing cultural fit, HR professionals should evaluate the candidate's technical skills and experience relevant to the role.

This may involve asking questions about specific tasks, software, or industry knowledge or conducting skills tests or exercises to gauge the candidate's proficiency.

Wrapping up the interview and discussing the next steps

At the end of the interview, HR professionals should thank the candidate for their time, provide an overview of the next steps in the process, and offer an opportunity for the candidate to ask any questions.

This reinforces the professional and respectful atmosphere established earlier and allows the candidate to clarify any uncertainties.

By following this comprehensive guide, HR professionals can conduct successful interviews to make informed decisions about candidates' suitability for a role within their organization.

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Managing video interviews

With the growing popularity of remote working, video interviews have become an essential tool for HR professionals in the recruitment process.

Related: Building Engagement with Remote Employees: Tips and Strategies

Virtual platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts have provided companies with the means to interview candidates from any location, streamlining the process and expanding the talent pool.

To effectively manage virtual interviews and ensure a seamless experience for both the interviewer and the candidate, HR professionals should take several factors into account:

  • Equipment and platform familiarity: HR professionals should ensure appropriate equipment, such as a reliable computer, webcam, and microphone, is set up before the interview. Additionally, they should familiarize themselves with the video platform's features and settings, such as screen sharing, muting, and troubleshooting options. Providing candidates a brief tutorial or step-by-step guide on using the platform can help them feel more comfortable and prepared.

  • Pre-interview communication: It is essential to communicate with the candidate before the interview, sharing the platform's link, date, time, and any necessary login information. HR professionals should also ask the candidate to confirm their internet connection is stable and that they have the necessary equipment for the interview. This will help minimize technical issues during the interview.

  • Setting up a quiet and professional space: HR professionals should ensure their interview space is quiet, well-lit, and free of distractions. This includes turning off notifications and silencing devices to avoid interruptions. Encourage the candidate to do the same in their environment to create a more focused atmosphere.

  • Ensuring a stable Internet connection: A stable Internet connection is crucial for a smooth video interview experience. HR professionals should test their connection beforehand and ensure the video conferencing platform works properly. Using a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi can help minimize connectivity issues.

  • Adapting interview techniques for the virtual environment: In a virtual setting, HR professionals may need to adapt their interview techniques to account for the limitations of online communication. This includes being mindful of body language and tone, maintaining eye contact to establish rapport with the candidate, and using verbal cues to signal active listening. Moreover, they should be prepared to adjust the interview pace to accommodate potential delays or technical issues.

  • Feedback and follow-up: As in a face-to-face interview, providing feedback and a clear follow-up timeline is essential. HR professionals should inform the candidate about the next steps in the hiring process and when they can expect to hear back.

By implementing these best practices, HR professionals can efficiently manage virtual interviews and successfully navigate the remote recruitment process, ensuring a positive experience for all parties involved in the job searches.

Assessing candidate responses


When interviewing candidates for a position, it is crucial for HR professionals to thoroughly assess their responses, whether in a face-to-face or video interview setting.

The following guidelines comprehensively evaluate a candidate's various behavioral questions and answers, ensuring a well-rounded and informed hiring decision.

Comparing responses to specific examples and requirements:

To effectively assess a candidate's suitability for a role, HR professionals should carefully compare their responses to the standards and conditions outlined in the description and candidate profile.

This job search process involves examining their answers for evidence of relevant skills, qualifications, and experience. Asking candidates to provide specific examples from their past work can help their sample answers reveal their proficiency in these areas.

Evaluating leadership, organizational, and interpersonal skills:

Alongside technical expertise, gauging a candidate's soft skills, such as leadership, organizational, and interpersonal abilities, is essential.

These skills can significantly impact their role success and ability to contribute effectively to a team. HR professionals should ask questions that elicit examples of how the candidate has demonstrated these soft skills in their previous experiences.

For instance, inquiring about their approach to resolving conflicts or managing deadlines in stressful situations can provide valuable insights.

Considering personal growth and potential for development:

When hiring, HR professionals should not overlook the importance of a candidate's potential for growth and development.

Candidates willing to learn, adapt, and grow can be valuable long-term assets for the company. To assess this potential, interviewers should ask questions about the candidate's career goals, aspirations, and professional development.

This information can help determine whether the candidate is likely to thrive within the company's culture and contribute to its ongoing success.

Analyzing problem-solving and critical-thinking skills:

Problem-solving and critical-thinking skills are valuable in any role, enabling candidates to navigate complex situations and find practical solutions.

HR professionals should pose hypothetical or real-world scenarios during the interview, asking candidates to describe how they would approach the problem and their thought process in resolving it.

This can provide insight into their critical thinking ability, analyzing information, and making informed decisions.

Examining communication abilities and presentation skills:

Clear communication and presentation skills are critical in today's workplace, as they facilitate collaboration and ensure that ideas and information are effectively conveyed.

HR professionals should assess the candidate's ability to communicate complex ideas concisely and easily understandable.

This can be achieved by asking them to explain a technical concept, present a proposal, or discuss their experience collaborating with a diverse team.

Actively listening and asking follow-up questions:

Active listening is crucial during the interview, as it enables HR professionals to stay calm, pick up on relevant details, and delve deeper into a candidate's responses.

Interviewers can clarify any ambiguities, uncover additional information, and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the candidate's experience and qualifications by asking follow-up questions.

Asking about salary expectations and previous job

One of the final steps in a job interview is to ask about salary expectations and previous job experience. This information helps HR professionals understand a candidate's desired salary range and professional journey.

Inquiring about salary range expectations

Discussing the salary expectation with a potential employer is essential to the interview. HR professionals should inquire about the candidate's desired range average salary and ensure it aligns with the company's budget and compensation structure.

Addressing reasons for leaving their current job

Understanding a candidate's motivations for a new job can provide hiring managers valuable insights into their career goals and potential fit within the company. HR professionals and hiring managers should ask candidates about their reasons for leaving their current role and consider these factors when hiring.

Encouraging candidate questions

HR professionals should encourage candidates to ask questions to ensure a successful interview. Instead of the case where the interviewer asks all the questions, candidates should also get time to ask their questions. This will help them gauge their understanding of the role, company vision implementing processes, and team dynamics and leave a positive impression during the process.

Allowing time for the candidate to ask questions

HR professionals should allocate time during the interview for candidates to ask questions. This demonstrates the company's commitment to open communication and allows candidates to gather information about the role and company culture.

Providing clear and honest answers

When responding to candidate questions, HR professionals should provide clear and honest answers, ensuring that candidates have a realistic understanding of the role and company expectations.

Demonstrating the company's commitment to transparency

By addressing candidate questions openly and honestly, HR professionals can demonstrate the company's commitment to transparency and foster trust between the candidate and the organization.

Wrapping up the interview


When wrapping up the interview with the project manager, HR professionals should summarize the critical discussion points and offer a timeline for the next steps. This will provide clarity to both parties and ensure that expectations are met.

Thanking the candidate for their time

At the end of the interview, HR professionals should thank the interviewer and ask the candidate for their time and effort, acknowledging the importance of their participation in the process.

Explaining the next steps

Before concluding the interview, HR professionals should explain the next steps in the hiring process, including any further discussions, assessments, or reference checks.

Encouraging a follow-up thank you note from the candidate

Encouraging other candidates not to send a follow-up thank you note can demonstrate their professionalism and commitment to the opportunity.

Evaluating candidates and making a decision

After conducting interviews, HR professionals should review the answers and compare candidates based on their responses, skills, and qualifications, using the ideal candidate profile as a guide.

Identifying the best candidate for the role

Through careful evaluation and comparison with other applicants, HR professionals can identify the best candidate for the role, considering their experience, skills, cultural fit, and growth potential.

Conducting reference checks and making an offer

Before extending a job offer, HR professionals should conduct reference checks to confirm the candidate's qualifications and gather additional insights. Once the reference checks are complete, a request can be made to the chosen candidate.

Useful Read: How To Do a Background Check: A Guide for Employers


A job interview is an essential part of the process. HR professionals should use it as an opportunity to evaluate candidates, ask relevant questions, and gain a better understanding of the candidate's skills and qualifications.

By following these tips, using behavioral questions, and engaging in open dialogue, HR professionals can ensure that they make the most informed decision when selecting a new hire.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The duration of a job interview can vary depending on the position, company, and interviewer preference. However, as a general guideline, here is a breakdown of typical interview lengths:

    • Phone interview: 15-30 minutes
    • Video interview: 30-60 minutes
    • In-person interview: 45-90 minutes
  • The number of interviews before a job offer also varies depending on the position and company. However, here is a general overview:

    • Entry-level positions: 1-2 interviews
    • Mid-level positions: 2-3 interviews
    • Senior-level positions: 3-4 interviews

    It is important to note that these are just general guidelines, and the specific number of interviews may vary depending on the circumstances. For example, if a company is particularly interested in a candidate, they may conduct additional interviews to get a better understanding of their qualifications and fit for the role.

    Additionally, if a candidate is being considered for multiple positions within the company, they may be required to interview for each position individually.

    As an HR manager, it is important to tailor the interview process to the specific needs of the position and company. This will help to ensure that you are able to identify the most qualified candidates and make informed hiring decisions.

Topic: Interview
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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