Types of Interviews

Knowing the options and types of interviews available to a company can make the process of selecting top candidates much more effective. Below is a summary of the different types and the benefits of each type. Use this resource to best select the type for your situation.

One on One Interview

This is one of the most common types of interviews. The candidate interviews with a single representative of a company. This allows for a more intimate and direct conversation as opposed to a panel type of interview. They often start with an ice breaker like, 'Tell me about yourself.'

This strategy works best when the interviewer is skilled in the techniques of putting a candidate at ease and asking questions that elicit information critical to understanding how the candidate's skills and abilities map to the position.

The potential drawback is the old garbage in garbage out. If the interviewer is bad one of two things will happen, the candidate will not do well or the candidate will be turned off. Since there are only 2 people in the room, there is no way to know if a bad result is because of poor interview technique or a bad candidate.

Panel Interview

The panel type of interview is sometimes referenced as parallel interviewing. In this format, the candidate meets with a group or panel of interviewers from the company. When structured properly, each panelist has a specific interest they are to investigate with the candidate. For instance one panelist may be interested in the technical expertise of the candidate. A second panelist is responsible for asking questions about management experience and performance. Yet another may be responsible for asking behavioral types of questions to understand organizational fit and so on.

The benefit of these types of interviews are that each panelist has the opportunity to view how the candidate responds to all of the questions. When a selection is made, each panelist has the same information to make their judgment.

The drawback to this type of interview is that if a candidate has one poor answer, it can sour the entire panel. The second drawback is that one panelist can sometimes dominate the interview and overwhelm the other panelists. This defeats the purpose of using a panel to conduct the interview.

Serial Interview

This style of interview is sometimes called round robin interviewing. It involves a series of interviews done serially where the candidate meets with a single or possibly two interviewers at a time. Each interview can cover a distinct topic (this is the preferred method) or can open to the interviewers discretion.

The benefit of this method is that you can blend the different styles of interviews and get a variety of inputs for the various departments represented by the interviewers. If this technique is used properly, a company can get a well rounded picture of the candidate and how they will perform on a number of different aspect levels.

Of course it could also create quite a bit of confusion. When employing different people using different styles of interview technique, there is a chance for confusion on results. Some of this can be mitigated by using 2 interviewers for each interview. Other potential issues include redundancy of questions to the candidate and serial interviewing makes for a long day for the candidate. These factors could turn off a candidate.

Continue to Part 2 of types of job interviews.

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