Types of Interviews: Part 1

The best way to understand the word “Interview” is to break it into two “Internal” and “View”.

Interview = Internal + View

The idea of conducting an interview is to know you in and out. The core of the recruitment process is interview. It is during this phase that the company and the potential employee comes together for the very first time and decides whether they want to work with each other or not. Interview is a two way exchange process giving the interviewer an idea about your capabilities and suitability for the job in questions and also giving you an opportunity to know more about the company for which you might be working in future. To succeed it is very important to have a clear understanding of the types of interviews and what is expected of you in each one of them. The many different types of interview techniques most commonly employed are:

1. Telephonic interview:

This type of interview comes handy for the employer when a high number of potential candidates apply for the same job or the potential candidates are from out of town. Telephonic interviews serve as a pre-screening phase during the process of recruitment. They also help in cutting a lot of travelling cost for inviting out of station candidate for a personal interview. Such types of interviews are most common for oversees jobs and could be a bit challenging as you need high concentration and cannot rely on the body language of the interviewer. Through the telephonic conversation the employer decides whether the candidate should be invited for a personal meeting or not and thus narrows down the pool of candidates to be screened thus saving time, money, energy and efforts from both sides.

2. Face to face interview:

It is the traditional art of interviewing where the applicant and interviewer sit in-person and then the round of one-on-one question-answering starts. The interviewer is the company representative who might be the manager or the person responsible for the recruitment for the particular job in question. Mostly the interviewer is the one with whom the candidate will be working in future. Because one interviewer interacts with one candidate therefore it is also called as one-on-one interview. The purpose of this interview is to find out if your skills meet the job requirements and if the candidate and the future boss get along well. The main idea is to get a feel of who you are and for this reason, many personal and professional questions will be directed at you. It is by far the most common type of interview and is valid for all the job types.

3. Panel or Committee interview:

Such types of interviews are very common in academics for example, entrance into graduate and professional schools. Some companies also organise committee interviews to reduce the time and the individual interviewer bias. The candidate is presented in front of a panel of interviewers whose number can vary from 3 to 10. The panel members represent different departments of the academic institution or of the company and are there to access the suitability of the candidate as a whole for the institute/company. It is possible that one interviewer asks all the questions or the different interviewers ask different questions relevant to their department or field by taking turns. In the end the collective judgement of the panel/committee will decide the success of the candidate.

4. Video conferencing or Online interview:

This type of interview uses the advancement in technology and gives a chance for the interviewer and applicant to come face-to-face even if they are sitting thousands of miles apart. Such interviews are very common for oversees jobs. It can be either a one-on-one interview or a conference with many interviewers just like a panel/committee interview. Different video applications for e.g. skype or google are used. Conducting video interviews is effective in cutting costs and saving time for the company and helps in the initial screening process.

5. Lunch/Dinner or Mealtime interview:

As the name suggests it is the interview set over a course of a meal. The purpose of this interview is to judge the candidate under more informal, relaxed and social environment. Although the setting is casual it still is a job interview and hence the candidates are carefully observed for their social competency, table manners, politeness and skilful communication. These types of interviews are mainly conducted for the jobs which require high levels of interpersonal skills.

6. Second/Follow-up interview:

Once you have been successful in the screening phase you have to face another interview normally known as second/follow-up interview. It could either be a one-on one or a sequential interview with a number of company representatives. The aim of these interviews is to know more about you and your expectations from the company. Interviewer(s) are also interested in knowing in details which skills and qualifications you bring along with you and judge your compatibility with the company and the team. Interview could also include problem solving or a small presentation about your previous work experience.

7. Group interview:

These types of interviews have mainly either of the two aims. Either to check the leadership potential of the applicants or to check how well the applicants work as a team. Generally, a small group of candidates is interviewed together which saves a lot of time and efforts from the interviewer side. A topic is given to discuss and the applicants are carefully observed. The goal is to find out how well a candidate interacts with others and is able to use his/her skills and knowledge to influence the fellow members. Such types of interviews are mostly common for managerial and sales jobs.

8. Behavioural interview:

As the name suggests, these types of interviews are aimed to judge your behaviour mainly from your past behavioural conducts. The goal is to determine your future behaviour on the job and in company based on your previous behaviour. Questions like “Please tell me about your experience when you worked as part of a team where there was conflict between the members” or “Please tell me a time when you had to work overtime for your project” are some of the most common questions asked in behavioural interviews. The interviewer wants to judge your problem-solving ability, flexibility, adaptability, compatibility and leadership quality from a real life past experience.

9. Task oriented or Testing interview:

As the name suggests this is a problem solving interview. To judge your professional skills, competence and technical knowledge you will be given either a short test or a problem to solve. Sometimes you will be asked to prepare a short presentation about your previous work and then discuss it with the team members. Generally these type of interviews are second or follow-up interviews i.e. after the screening phase.

10. Stress interview:

Stress is a known killer for productivity and creativity. Normally people are not able to perform under stressful situations and most of them either get angry, confused, nervous, frightened or defensive. The purpose of this type of interview is to find out how well the candidate can handle stressful situations and still perform well on the job. Such types of interviews are normally conducted for example for sales positions and investment banks. During the interview, the interviewer would deliberately try to create stressful situations for the candidate. This can be achieved by constant interruptions, antagonism, silence breaks, criticism, sarcasm, upsetting questions etc. One should not forget that all these are only attempts to unnerve you and push you to your limits and then judge you. The key is to remain calm, keep your cool and answer the questions with patience.


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