Knowing which type of job interview is best for your business and how to conduct it successfully is crucial to the hiring process. Skilled and knowledgeable interviewers are better able to:
- Hire the most qualified candidates
- Determine if an applicant’s skills, experience, and attitude fit the job requirements
- Assess whether the job seeker will mesh with the company’s culture
- Decrease long-term turnover costs
Most employment interviews fit into these two categories: structured and unstructured.
In a structured interview, all applicants are asked the same specific questions. This interview style makes it easier for the interviewer to compare and rank applicants based on the same criteria. Asking all candidates the same questions makes it easier to defend against bias or discrimination in the hiring process.
In an unstructured job interview, the interviewer does not follow a list of specific questions but instead tailors the questions to each applicant’s skills, experience, and personality. This style allows questions to be more open-ended or conversational, allowing candidates to add information that might not be disclosed in a more structured interview.
Structured and unstructured interviews can be conducted in a variety of ways, such as:
- Telephone pre-screen interview. This interview is used to assess whether a candidate has sufficient qualifications to continue the interview process.
- One-on-one interview. This interview can be conducted in-person or virtually, and usually employs a behavioral, competency-based, or situational approach.
- Panel interview. An applicant is interviewed by two or more people in a panel interview. This approach helps gain a broader perspective on the candidate and can also be used as a training exercise for inexperienced interviewers.
After deciding on the interview’s structure, an interviewer needs to prepare ahead of time.
Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth experience for the interviewer and applicant:
- Familiarize yourself with the candidate’s resume and cover letter. It’s safe to assume that if an interview has been scheduled, then the applicant fits the job description. However, taking some time to look over the resume and cover letter will help you create intentional interview questions.
- Know the job requirements. Begin the interview by introducing yourself and giving some background information about the company and the open role. Candidates can better understand the job responsibilities if they can see the big picture of how their work would fit into the mission and values of the company. Explain to the candidate how the interview will be structured and what will happen during that time to set clear expectations.
- Rank critical success factors for the position. Knowing which skills, qualities, experiences, and characteristics are most important to the role will help you determine whether the candidate is a good fit.
- Select specific questions to determine whether the candidate possesses those factors. It’s likely your questions will spark some follow-up questions. Asking candidates to expand on their answers can often provide deeper insight into their thought processes, work ethic, personality, and experience.
- Remember that they are interviewing the company too. You can think they are the best candidate available, but that won’t mean much if they are unimpressed by the way you conducted the interview. Show interest in what the candidate has to say, and remember that you are representing the company culture.
- Decide how you will close the interview. Consider allowing time for the candidate to ask questions. Many interviewers close interviews by describing next steps and when they can expect to hear from you.
Looking to interview superior talent? Let us help. Premier Talent Partners provides exceptional staffing and employment experiences for our clients and candidates. We work with all sizes of companies across the United States and offer diverse, all-inclusive staffing nationwide. Let’s get started!