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The Top Nine Job Interview Styles

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Job Interview Types

Job interviews can be a stressful event for both the candidate and the interviewer. The candidate is nervous and attempting to demonstrate his or her skills while simultaneously trying to determine whether he or she would even be comfortable in that work environment. The interviewer is doing the same thing but from the company’s perspective. What are the candidate’s soft skills? Is the candidate a good culture fit? Does he or she seem to be easy to work with? The interview is a strategic discussion determining the mutual advantage to the candidate being hired.

Informal interview

Commonly informal interviews are done at coffee shops, on the phone, or on a video chat. It’s kind of a “let’s feel each other out” kind of interaction. Questions in the informal preliminary interview might include asking about current goals and circumstances, hobbies, while also gauging real interest in the job.

Unstructured interview

These interviews are candidate driven. The candidate can talk about his or her aspirations, interests, and why the job seems like a good fit for them. He or she can also talk about personal limitations, career goals, education, whatever they feel most comfortable with. As an interviewer, be prepared to answer questions from the candidate about the company as well.

Planned Interview

Planned interviews are very structured and typically are used when fairness is a major concern. Each candidate is given a pre-set list of questions which are only rarely deviated from by the interviewer. When using this method, the candidates can be evaluated more objectively since they all answered the exact same questions.

Background Information Interview

This interview simply verifies the information in the application and probes for more information that is not available in the application. The information sought in these interviews is based on education, previous jobs, skillsets, hobbies, interests and more.

Probing Interview

These interviews include a test of some kind to verify the skill level of the candidate. For instance, a software developer might be given a coding problem to solve in order to prove his or her ability to code in the right language.

Stress Interview

These interviews are conducted mostly for executive or high level candidates and positions. Since candidates at this level will be responsible for making high stakes decisions, they should know how to perform in situations of criticism and stress. A stress test usually involves the interviewers intimidating the candidate for a portion of the interview. Pausing for a long time after the interviewee stops talking, criticizing his or her responses, or interrupting mid-sentence are all ways to upset and unsettle the candidate. Usually this will draw out the stress coping mechanisms in him or her, giving you the opportunity to witness how the candidate will perform in high stress situations.

Group Interview

In a group interview the candidates are asked to come in small groups. They are asked questions and each person answers, listening to the others’ responses. A small task can also be assigned and performed, giving the interviewer the opportunity to see how each candidate interacts on a team. This method saves time if there is a rush to hire or if there are a lot of viable candidates and they need to be thinned quickly.

Discussion Interview

This is a unique interview style, similar to the group interview, where all the candidates are given a topic and told to discuss it. This method encourages openness and gives the interviewer the chance to see the charisma, leadership skills and confidence of each candidate.

Panel Interview

One on one interviews may not always be ideal, as there are many situations in which the position effects many people within the organization. Also, one interviewer cannot judge the candidates in different areas or skillsets. Many organizations invite a panel of experts, specialized in different areas or disciplines, to interview the candidates. Experts should be cautioned against over accuracy, putting too much weight on a particular factor, and domination of other experts.

Be Prepared

Whether you are searching for a job or looking for the right candidate for a job, knowing the different interviewing styles can help you be prepared for anything. Because the stakes are high, it’s important to be knowledgeable about all the different options. Good luck out there in the marketplace!

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