We all know the phrase, ‘ask right to hire right’, but to what extent does the format of an interview affect how well you understand your potential candidates?
Of course, the questions you ask will be pivotal in helping you to gauge whether a candidate is the right fit and has the right skills. However, different types of interview are great for different stages of the recruitment process and to solicit certain information.
At ACR we create a shortlist of great candidates for our clients, who they then go on to interview. At that stage, we regularly get asked what ‘type’ of interview would be best. Hence the inspiration behind this blog, which explains some of the main interview types, what they’re useful for and when they’re right to use.
However, these examples are generic. You’ll also want to take into consideration how comfortable you feel conducting certain types of interview and what would work best for your organisation. For example, as an interviewer you may feel more confident with colleagues conducting the interview alongside you and as an organisation you may follow procedures that require all candidates to go through a phone interview before an in-person one.
Many interviewers also feel they need to blend different types of interview to make sure they get a full picture of the candidate’s skills and suitability for the role.
You can also visit our Guide to Interview Techniques for Employers, for more tips and advice including a downloadable interview guide template.
Telephone or video call interviews
A telephone or video call interview is commonly used to determine whether a candidate is suitable for a face-to-face interview. However, it can also be useful for when a candidate is not based locally – in which case you should treat it as a one-to-one interview as much as possible.
Normally conducted by the manager of the position you’re recruiting for, a one-to-one interview is a great way for you to explore the candidate’s CV, experience and skills in more detail.
One of the most common types of interview, a one-to-one interview also helps you to establish how well you get along with the candidate and if you feel they’ll be a good cultural fit for your team.
Panel interviews involve two or more interviewers assessing one candidate at a time. This is an ideal interview format for those who require candidates to be interviewed by numerous departments but when the hiring need is urgent. Having a panel interview minimises time spent interviewing but it does require careful coordination between interviewers to ensure questions aren’t missed or repeated.
Panel interviews are ideal for when different departments have an impact on, or will be impacted by, the position in question.
Case-based interviews present a (often fictional) business issue or challenge to the candidate, requesting them to then analyse the problem and offer a suitable solution.
Case-based interviews are important for assessing a candidate’s skills in action and under pressure. They are also often closely related to technical interviews, which are ideal for job roles that require a certain amount of specialist knowledge. Technical interviews will pose real problems to the candidate, allowing you to assess how they respond to a challenge and the skills they employ to resolve it.
As oppose to all other job interview types in this blog, an informational interview is not for a particular job vacancy. Instead, it’s a way for you to learn more about a job seeker who could, in the future, be a great candidate for a job opening.
Informational interviews are designed to help employers build talent pipelines. As they’re used when you’re not actively hiring it’s worth being clear to candidates what this means.
Asking a candidate to prepare and present a brief presentation at interview is a great way of assessing particular skills, knowledge of a particular area and how well a candidate responds to a brief.
Presentations can highlight a candidate’s:
- persuasive skills
- ability to communicate clearly and coherently
- potential to interact well with the rest of your team
Presentations at interview are often part of a panel interview or assessment centre.
Assessment centres or group interviews
Often used as a screening interview for one-to-one or panel interviews, assessment centres or group interviews allow you to explain more about your organisation to a group of candidates whilst also seeing how they interact with other team members.
Ideal for interviews where the position involves a creative element, such as graphic design, portfolio-based interviews allow you to go through examples of the candidate’s previous work.
Competency or criteria-based interviews
A more structured type of interview, a competency or criteria-based interview is where you have set criteria against which you assess the skills and abilities of the candidate. The interview guide template in our guide to interview techniques for employers is designed for competency and criteria-based interviews.
This type of interview is ideal for those more comfortable with a structured interview process or those new to interviewing candidates. It also allows for easier assessment of candidates following interviews as the structured format can make comparison of candidates simpler.
Good luck with the interview process! Remember, you can find out more about how the whole recruitment journey works with Anne Corder Recruitment here.