What is the yardstick to know how capable a candidate is to a certain profession? How do you measure and reward a candidate for the skills he possesses? Interview is the answer to know and ascertain how fit a man is to the required job. Interview is beneficial to both the candidate and the organization, for it helps them to grow. So what essentially is an interview?

What is an InterviewWhat is an interview?

When you split the word ‘interview’ you get two words, ‘inter’ and ‘view’. This roughly translates to ‘between view’ or seeing each other. This means that both the groups involved in an interview get to know about one another.

So what is the definition of an interview?

Interview can be defined as a gentleman conversation between two people or more where questions are asked to a person to get the required responses or answers.
People involved in an interview: Usually two groups or two individuals sit facing each other in an interview. The person asking questions is the interviewer and the person answering the questions is the interviewee.

So now interview can be simply defined as the formal meeting between two people where the interviewer asks questions to the interviewee to obtain information.

Objectives of the interview:

So, why are the interviews carried out? In what way does it help the interviewer zero in on the right candidate? Let us find out what are the objectives or goals of an interview.

  • It helps verify the information provided by the candidate. It helps to ascertain the accuracy of provided facts and information about the candidate.
  • What the candidate has written in the resume are the main points. What other additional skill set does he have? All these are known by conducting interviews.
  • It not only gives the interviewer information about the candidate’s technical knowledge but also gives an insight into his much needed creative and analytical skills.
  • It helps in establishing mutual relation between the employee and the company.
  • It is useful for the candidate so that he comes to know about his profession, the type of work that is expected from him and he gets to know about the company.
  • It is beneficial for the interviewer and the interviewee as individuals, because both of them gain experience, both professionally and personally.
  • It helps the candidate assess his skills and know where he lacks and places where he needs improvement.
  • It also helps the company build its credentials and image among the employment seeking candidates.

Types of interviews:

Based on the count of people involved-

1. One-to-one interview (Personal interview):

It is the most common among the interview types, it involves the interviewer asking questions maybe both technical and general to the interviewee to investigate how fit the candidate is for the job.

Eg: Posts in small organizations and mid-level and high-level jobs in big organizations.

2. Group interview:

This involves multiple candidates and they are given a topic for discussion. They are assessed on their conversational ability and how satisfactorily they are able to have their own views and make others believe in them. Here, the best among the lot gets selected.

Eg: Fresher posts and mid-level sales posts.

3. Panel interview (Committee Interview):

The interviewers here are a group from among the company people who are in senior position and usually the panel interview is when the candidate is supposed to make a presentation. But many-a-times it could be for the job interview as well.

Eg: Mid-level and high-level jobs.

Based on the planning involved-

1. A structured interview (Formal interview or guided interview):

Here in the traditional form of interview the questions asked are all in a standard format and the same is used for all the candidates. This is to assess the ability of all the candidates impartially.

Eg: Entry level jobs for fresher.

2. Unstructured interview (Informal interview or conversational interview):

This is the opposite of structured interview. Here the interviewer has a definite idea in mind about the questions to be asked, but it doesn’t follow a certain format. The interviewer may deviate and a conversation type interview follows.

Eg: Mid level job interview for managerial position

Based on judging the abilities-

1. Behavioral-based interview:

The interviewee is asked questions about the past work experiences and how it was dealt in a particular situation. This helps the interviewer understand the candidate’s future performance based on his past experiences. Here the candidates need to provide examples when they have handled situations. The probing maybe in detail to assess the candidate’s behavior and responses and this determines the candidate’s future job prospects.

Eg: Interview for managerial positions, executive posts.

2. Problem-solving interview (Task Oriented interview):

Here the interviewer is more concerned about the problem solving abilities be it technical, managerial, creative or analytical skills. This is the most common among the interview patterns and it may involve either writing and answering a questionnaire set or answering the technical questions orally.

Eg: Interviews for Software recruitments, technical industries and managerial positions.

3. Depth interview (In-depth interview):

When you need to ascertain everything about the interviewee right from the life history, academic qualifications, work experiences, hobbies and interests; you conduct the depth interview. Here the interviewer has a clear idea about the questions he will be asking but once the question is asked, he allows the conversation to flow and is more of a listener. This interview takes time and more of a friendly approach of the interviewer towards the interviewee.

Eg: For executive post.

4. Stress interview:

Very rare, but such interviews are conducted to see how the candidate will be able to react in stress situations and to assess if he will be able to handle crisis at his job.

The tactics involved include:

  • Completely ignore the candidate by maybe, making a phone call in the middle of the interview.
  • Or some other tactic like continuously interrupting the candidate when he answers the questions.
  • Trying to enforce your point of view forcefully even if he disagrees.
  • Asking a whole lot of questions all at once.
  • Interrupting him by asking another question not related to his answer.

Eg: For banker jobs.

Based on the facilities or settings-

1. Telephonic interview:

This interview is conducted over the phone and its main objective is to narrow done the probable list of candidates so that only the most eligible ones finally get shortlisted. This is done in the initial stages and before the personal interview. Also when the candidate is far-off, the company first conducts telephonic interview and if satisfied then arranges the travel expenses for a one-to-one interview. Eg: Interview for entry level jobs.

Eg: Interview for entry level jobs.

2. Online interview (Video interview or Skype interview):

This interview maybe done by instant messaging, online chats, email or through videos. This involves the interviewer asking questions just like in a personal interview. This is done based on situations like if the interviewee resides far-off or if the interview at the appointed time gets cancelled due to valid reasons. Also it is more convenient for the interviewer that he can fix the interview at his spare time and convey the message to the candidate a few hours before or so. This helps in it that the interviewer doesn’t need to inform the candidate many days in advance. Eg: Interview for mid level posts.

Eg: Interview for mid level posts.

3. Job Fair interview (Career Fair interview):

Here the interviewer does a mini-interview to know the qualifications and the technical knowledge. Then basic technical questions are asked to know if the candidate can proceed further for the main interview. This is a very short interview to net only the potential candidates.

Eg: Interviews for fresher jobs held at college campus.

4. Lunch interview:

This interview is more of a conversational interview mainly designed so that the interviewer gets to know more about the candidate. This also helps the interviewer to assess how the candidate conducts himself in a less-formal environment and how he presents himself.

Eg: Interview for managerial and sales posts.

5. Tea interview:

This is the same as a lunch interview but only that it differs in the time limit. Here the interviewee gets less time to prove himself. The interviewer here has a structured format for questioning since there is a time limit.

Eg: Interview for positions in the fashion and glamour industry and sales posts.

Based on task-

1. Apprenticeship interview:

Here the candidate is a novice and the interview is very formal one with general questions and some skill related questions being asked.

Eg: Interview for training programs in organizations.

2. Evaluation interview:

In this interview, a fixed set of questions are asked and a scoring system evaluates the points scored. This type of interview negates the scope of personal bias of the interviewer.

Eg: Interview in corporate organizations

3. Promotion interview:

This is for an employee of the company seeking a higher position for career enhancement purpose.

Eg: Interviews in mid-level posts.

4. Counseling interview:

When employees are called and their problems and solutions are discussed within the organization, such meeting type interviews are called counseling interviews.

Eg: Interviews in big organizations

5. Disciplinary interview:

Here an individual or more number of employees or sometimes the employee union is interviewed for their misconduct or non-performance. This is more sort of a meeting between the manager and the employees to get the problem resolved.

Eg: Interviews in big companies.

6. Persuasive interview:

The interviewee here has to persuade the interviewer to accept his point of view as in case of an employee persuading his manager to implement some changes in the policy or a sales manager persisting on selling a product. Eg: Interviews in mid-level managerial posts

Guidelines for Effective Interviewing:

The job of an interviewer spans from preparing the right set of questions to assessing the answers of the candidates and then finally selecting the best candidate for the job. So then what are the guidelines for effective interviewing for interviewers or employers?

1. Know the candidate before hand: Review the bio-data clearly before the interview process. Know the candidate, his qualifications, his experiences and his skill sets. This will give you an idea of the line of questions to be asked to the candidate.

2. Jot down questions both the technical and non-technical ones: Note down all the questions you need to ask so that these help you in getting an assessment of the candidate. Ask questions related to the role and responsibilities the post needs and see if the candidate is ready to assume the roles responsibly.

3. Prepare an outline of the interview: Know how you will go about the process of interviewing the candidates. Make a structured plan so that you are able to review the candidate properly.

4. Be a responsible interviewer: See to it that you ask appropriate questions. How you behave and conduct yourself while asking questions is as important as the interviewee answering his questions.

5. Assess the candidate thoroughly: Whether it is the technical skills or the creative skills, assess the candidate and seek all relevant information. Look at their conversational skills and how convincing they are.

6. Allow the candidate to speak: Your job of talking is limited to asking questions. So listen and don’t talk or interrupt in between. Thus you will be able to gather all the relevant and required information from the candidate.

7. Be professional and ask job related questions: You don’t want to miss on a potential candidate by being too professional or being too personal. Be polite and draw a line between being professional and personal. Let all your questions be related to the job so that the candidate will feel at ease to answer the questions.

8. Do a follow up: After the interview do let the candidates know of their job status. That way you extend your professional courtesy and help in building the credentials of your company.

Interviews are great tools that help both the company and the candidates to make the right selection for the jobs. Interview not only helps the establishment to prosper and grow by selecting the right candidates but it also provides a way for the employee to grow both professionally and personally.