Interviewing Candidates - Different Interview Types

Depending on the type of role you’re hiring for, there are a range of types of job interview that an employer can choose to use, and the suitability of each will vary depending on the type of role available, and the availability of the candidates.

There is no right or wrong way to conduct interviews, and you may choose to adopt a range of techniques across the first, second and even third interview stages in order to get the best results.

Types of Interview

1. Telephone Interviews

Telephone interviews can be a quick way to filter candidates prior to a face-to-face interview stage. Telephone interviews can give the opportunity to ensure that the candidate’s CV is an accurate reflection of them, and to ask any initial questions you might have about their CV. It’s also a handy way to interview a candidate who isn’t local, or to establish whether the candidate has a good telephone manner, if this is of particular importance to the job role.

Top tip – keep it brief. Ask candidates to summarise their key skills and experience, and give anecdotal evidence. You can then use a face-to-face interview, as a second interview stage, to expand on this.

2. Competency Interviews

Conducted face-to-face, competency interviews are designed to discover whether the candidate has the competency (the ability and experience) to do the job.

You should ask candidates to give examples of when or how they have completed relevant projects. Or how they have managed relevant tasks. If presentation skills are a requirement for the role you may choose to ask the candidate to deliver a presentation on the topic at interview, for example.

Top tip – Ask candidates about situations when they have completed similar tasks. For example – have they faced any obstacles and how did they overcome them? What achievements they most proud of?

3. Behavioural Interviews

Behavioural interviews, as the name suggests, focus on how the candidate behaves in certain circumstances by asking them to give examples of how they have behaved in certain scenarios in previous roles. This makes is difficult for candidates to ‘make up’ or exaggerate responses, and gives the employer a truer reflection of how they will perform.

If conducting a behavioural interview, an employer should decide what skills they are looking for and work backwards, asking a candidate for examples of how they have behaved. Examples of behavioural interview questions might include:

- Have you faced a difficult situation with a colleague and how did you manage it?

- Give an example of how you have worked effectively under pressure.

- Tell us about how you have set and achieved goals.

4. Technical Interviews

Technical interviews are more commonplace when recruiting for roles in engineering, science or IT; some roles simply require a candidate to practically prove they can do the job. This might involve advanced skills tests, questions about knowledge of technology and tools, training and certifications.

A short skills test could even extend to a trial work period, depending on the role.

Top tip – Ensure all candidates are tested in the same way so that you can compare their performance accurately.

5. Panel Interviews

Panel interviews are conducted by two or more interviewers. In some instances, where an organisation is sifting through a large number of candidates, the panel will interview multiple candidates at once. Candidates are often required to give a presentation.

Where many individuals need to be involved in the recruitment for a role, and where their diaries are difficult to synchronise, this can be an effective interviewing method. It also enables an interviewer to evaluate how the candidate performs under pressure, as panel interviews are arguably the most stressful kind of interview.

Top tips: Appoint a lead facilitator of the interview who will manage the questions, any changes to the topics and keep to time. Ensure that your panel is comprised of no more that 3-5 people, and that all panellists are trained to interview, and are aware of their roles as panellists.

6. Group Interviews

A group interview can be an effective way of evaluating a number of candidates at once, and are a good way for larger businesses to streamline their recruitment process. Group interviews are also a particularly useful tool when you want to assess candidates’ performance in group tasks.

Often this type of interview will be used to set tasks to groups of candidates which enable you to assess their personalities, how they manage pressure, take the lead and deal with others.

Top tip: Don’t include too many candidates or the interview will be too difficult to manage. Evaluate the size of the space you have available, the number of interviewers you will have, and what you need to evaluate. If you have too many candidates, consider scheduling more than one group interview.