Types and methods of job interview

Recruitment work is painstaking and involves a set of stages, the most important of which is the interview. Only through personal communication can one get an impression of the candidate and understand what his chances are of getting a particular position in the company. In addition, you can simulate some situations during the interview and observe how the job seeker will manifest himself, how he will react to some questions. Therefore, recruiters and human resources managers always pay special attention to the interview – as a very responsible stage of hiring, allowing you to get to the bottom of the candidate.
what is a job interview
You can use several different types and groups of interviews in the recruiting process. Their choice depends on the specifics of the position, as well as on the experience and capabilities of the recruiter. In this article, we will talk about what interviews are and how to conduct them correctly to get the desired result.

Types, groups, and methods of interviews, their features

Recruiters use a variety of recruiting methods in their day-to-day work. Accordingly, each of them has its optimal interview models, which differ.

  • by structure: structured and unstructured (in free form), or combined.
  • by the composition of participants: individual (one on one recruiter and job seeker), group (one recruiter, several job seekers), panel (several recruiters, one job seeker), linear (several recruiters interview the candidate in turn).
  • by format: in-person, telephone, video.
  • by purpose: screening (screening out unsuitable candidates), qualifying (selecting suitable candidates), serial (interviewing a job seeker with representatives of different positions in the company).

Often, HR work encourages a recruiter to experiment with formats. One type of interview in the arsenal of a specialist will not be enough. Therefore, it is worth choosing and testing at least 2-3 options in advance – for a specific task/job specifics. Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of interviews.

Interview types by the composition of participants

According to the composition of the participants, there are three types of job interview. The individual remains the most popular. The main advantage of this option is the ability to communicate face-to-face with a person.
Talking to the job seeker personally, the recruiter can ask him any questions, clarify any points. The main disadvantage of this method is time. As a rule, at least 30 minutes per job seeker. In addition, the recruiter evaluates the job seeker subjectively, without having an alternative opinion.
In recent years, group interviews have been rapidly gaining popularity. Essentially, the recruiter gathers several candidates in the office or organizes a video conference and interviews everyone at the same time. He can ask candidates different questions, tests, etc. The main benefit is time-saving.
This is especially noticeable if there are many candidates for one position. The main disadvantage is the absence or minimization of an individual approach. Such an interview will be a good solution in the mass selection of line personnel – if you need to recruit a lot of employees in a short time and conduct a quick selection of personnel.
The essence of the panel interview is that several company representatives communicate with the job seeker at the same time, each asking him different questions. The main advantage of this format is that each meeting participant can form his own opinion about the job seeker, and the hiring decision will be made collectively, as a result of a “consultation”. The main disadvantage is that you need to gather colleagues and take them away from the business. Suitable for recruiting personnel for highly qualified positions.

Interview types by format

According to the format of the interview, there are three types. The main one remains a in-person interview. In this case, the job seeker comes to the office and communicates with the recruiter or employer representatives (in the case of a panel interview). The main plus is the ability to communicate in a work environment. The recruiter can not only communicate with the job seeker but also evaluate his appearance, emotional state, etc. In addition, you can immediately prepare and personnel documents for the interview.
Another option, which is considered more modern, is a remote video interview. The main plus is the absence of organizational issues that arise when a personal meeting is necessary and time savings for both parties. At the same time, the recruiter sees the job seeker, can assess his reaction to questions, emotions, etc. The downside can be of a technical nature – Internet instability, equipment failures, etc. This can interfere with the interview.
man and woman speaking
Another type of interview is a telephone interview. As a rule, this interview is quick. The main plus is that there are no problems with the organization. The main disadvantage is that the recruiter does not see the job seeker. Typically used for an initial interview before being invited to the main interview.

Types of interview depending on the purpose

The purposes of interviews can also vary. Such interviews are conducted in order to reduce candidates for a further selection of personnel. Often they are collective to immediately exclude people who do not meet the requirements.
Another option is a screening interview. Generally held if there are not a lot of candidates. More often such interviews are individual, less often they are carried out collectively. The task of a recruiter is to choose a worthy candidate from a certain number of people. Maybe the second step after the screening interview.
Another type of interview is serial, which includes working as a recruiter. The bottom line is that one candidate is interviewed in turn by several representatives of the company. First, it is the recruiter itself, then – the leading manager, head of a department, head of a direction, etc. The method is most often used in highly qualified personnel recruitment systems.
interviewing methods

Kinds of interview by content

The key criterion for classifying the types of job interviews is content. There are five main options here, but they can be combined, including elements of two different types. Let’s consider them briefly.

Structured interview

As part of a structured interview, the recruiter works according to a rigorous schedule. This plan can be either a company standard or developed directly by a recruiter or HR manager. This type of interview can include not only standard points but also some features, for example:

  • planned provocation. This includes the question: “Tell us about yourself as a person.” If the job seeker starts talking about his life or personal qualities, then this is a minus. If he talks about professional qualities and the possible benefits that he can bring, this is a plus.
  • projective or unexpected questions. For example, the question: “With whom do you associate yourself?” As a rule, job seekers are not ready for such a question, and it is possible to assess how quickly a person will find suitable words and comparative images.
  • trick questions. For example: “Why shouldn’t we hire you?” Self-criticism test with the ability to check how a person can behave in a stressful situation.

A structured interview has both advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages are as follows:

  • the recruiter works according to a well-thought-out plan, questions do not need to be thought on feet;
  • saving time – the recruiter can ask ready-made questions immediately after the answers, again – without thinking over the questions and without improvising;
  • pre-prepared questions allow you to get maximum information.
  • Among the disadvantages:
  • communication turns out to be too formal and does not provide for an individual approach;
  • record all answers it is important to keep all personnel documentation. This complicates the task for the recruiter.

As a rule, such interviews are used to select employees for positions with basic/initial qualifications, when many employees need to be selected at the same time.

Situational interview

A situational interview helps determine how effective a specialist will be in performing immediate tasks. The recruiter simulates situations and asks questions, the job seeker must answer them. At the same time, you can prepare reference situations in advance and compare the job seeker’s answers with your templates.
The advantages of this method:

  • hr-manager or recruiter immediately understands how the job seeker can cope with certain situations;
  • this method is a good stress test since it is impossible to prepare for such an interview in advance.

Among the disadvantages:

  • some issues may be ignored.
  • usually, it is necessary to assemble a group of experts to formulate and analyze questions, which is difficult and time-consuming.

However, a situational interview is a really good and effective way to test how a job seeker can handle certain situations.

Projective interview

The peculiarity of this method is that the recruiter asks questions quickly enough. At the same time, the job seeker does not have time to think about his answer for too long. Alternatively, you can ask a candidate to provide multiple answers to the same question to leave less time for reflection.
With the correct formulation of questions, this method helps to obtain the most honest and truthful information from the job seeker, to evaluate his professional skills and thinking.
Among the advantages of this method is to test the speed of thinking and the ability to think in difficult conditions. But there are also disadvantages – it is necessary to conduct a panel interview and gather experts; it is not always easy to process the results of such work.
interview categories

Behavioral interview

A difficult type of interview that requires careful preparation. The recruiter should prepare a list of questions, including only those that relate directly to the professional experience of the job seeker, as well as situations that arose during the work process. Based on the interview results, drawn up a competency scale, which shows the key characteristics of the candidate. Each candidate will have different competencies, so it is important to draw up a list of competencies in advance that is significant for a particular position.
The main advantages of this method are as follows:

  • high accuracy in assessing professional qualities;
  • assessment of the candidate’s ability to join the team;
  • assessment of the values of the job seeker, the ability to compare them with the values of the company.

However, it should be noted, that the disadvantages of the method:

  • difficulty in preparation;
  • high time costs;
  • the recruiter must have a complete understanding of the competencies for a particular position.

The method is complex, but at the same time effective not only for the selection of personnel from outside but also for the selection of employees from the internal reserves of the company.

Stress interview

A special type of interview in which the questions are selected in such a way as to unbalance the job seeker. This method is also called shock. Even tactless questions are allowed here. In addition, the HR manager can provoke the job seeker in other ways. For example, demonstratively doing other things while the job seeker is answering questions, being late for an interview, etc.
This method has several advantages, including:

  • identifying the weaknesses of the candidate;
  • understanding how the job seeker will respond to such problems;
  • analysis of the “compatibility” of the weaknesses of the candidate with the requirements of the company.

However, a stress interview requires high communication skills from the recruiter. After all, it is very important to make sure that the candidate does not immediately understand that this is a stress interview, but at the same time do not cross the line of behavior bordering on rudeness and rudeness.
Stress interviews are especially effective for recruiting personnel for positions that require constant communication with people. If the work involves serious stressful loads, then such an interview will immediately help weed out those who cannot withstand them.

What interview methods do well-known companies choose?

You don’t have to use standard interview formats. Some well-known brands are abandoning templates or refining their selection methods using unique techniques. Let’s take a look at several original cases from world practice.

Zappos: airport pick-up, wine, and cheese

The recruiting company Zappos selects employees not only for professional but also for human qualities. For this, an original way was invented, in which the interview begins even before the employee arrives at the office.
For example, a company representative might meet a job seeker at the airport. The same representative is also a recruiter. He observes how the candidate behaves towards him. If the job seeker is unfriendly, treats the driver in a rude way, then there will be no interview at the office. If the candidate was tactful, friendly, and treated the driver with respect, he will be taken to the office where he will pass the main interview.
But the final interview at Zappos is the most interesting – inviting the candidate to a traditional evening of wine and cheese. This is where the entire project team gathers (except for senior management). This allows employees to communicate with a possible colleague in an informal setting and evaluate not only professional but also human qualities. The hiring decision is also made by the team, by voting – employees raise their thumbs up or down.
Thanks to this approach to staffing, the company was able to reduce employee turnover by 90%. Employees are fully involved in the selection process, and a potential candidate integrates into the community even before their first day in the office.

“Assess Recruiter” Test at Kraft Foods

When the interview comes to an end, the Kraft Foods recruiter asks the job seeker to rate himself as an interviewer on a scale of 1-10. Most often, the candidate hesitates with an answer. After all, it is one thing to evaluate the work of a repairman by a call from a car service, and it is quite another thing to criticize the person on whom the future work depends, looking directly into his eyes. This is how recruiters test job seekers for courage, honesty (or a tendency to flattery), and objectivity.

Effective “duets” in Menlo

At Menlo, all employees work in pairs. HR planning and recruiting are geared towards this. Therefore, interviews take place in pairs. Rather, these are not even interviews in the classical sense everything is much more interesting here.
Two candidates sit down at the same table, they are given one piece of paper and one pen for two and are asked to complete some task.
The task of the interview is to understand how effectively the candidates interact in a pair. At the same time, candidates should advertise not themselves, but each other. HR work in the company is structured in such a way that not one job seeker gets a position, but several.
Employees are watching the work process. They vote on the couples that interact most effectively. According to the company, thanks to this approach to recruiting, it was possible to reduce employee turnover, as well as select employees who truly share corporate values.
4 people


The interview is the most important stage in the recruitment process. There are many interview styles and types, and the choice depends directly on personnel policy, the characteristics of recruiting in a particular company, as well as on the decisions and experience of the recruiter himself. The effectiveness of recruiting depends on how correctly you chose the method of interviewing. For example, if we are talking about mass recruiting, you can apply a group, structured interview. If we are talking about a position in top management, then panel and serial interviews are held here to form the most complete opinion about the specialist.
Practice will help you to choose effective solutions for certain positions. Do not be afraid to experiment with different formats, analyze and develop your own author’s methods – and you will be able to find a solution that is optimal for your tasks.
human resources interview techniques


CleverStaff – The Applicant Tracking System


Can the same methods be used to recruit staff for different positions?
In principle, it is possible, but there is no guarantee that it will be effective. You can hardly find a top manager conducting a group interview.
Which method is better to choose if you need to recruit a lot of staff in a short time?
If time is short and you need to recruit a lot of people, then structured group interviews can help you. This is the easiest and fastest way.
How to choose the right interview method?
There is no consensus here. In each case, the choice will be individual. Focus on your goals and objectives, the number of vacancies and their level, as well as your preferences and skills.
Is it possible to conduct different types of interviews for the selection of the same position?
If you're a newcomer recruiter, it's best to try different formats and mixes. Conducting different employment interviews will help you choose the formats that will produce the best results.