Interview styles & techniques

A good interview process can attract the best candidates, but a poorly managed one may select poor candidates and not get you the results you want. There are many types of interview techniques and it all really depends on the job role itself and your most comfortable style. Here’s a few of the most common ones:

The telephone interview

Many companies use this as an initial interview before inviting clients in to talk face-to-face. It’s good for getting a basic understanding of the type of candidates you are dealing with and whether any are worth inviting back.

The face to face interviews

• Panel interviews – these types of interviews involve a number of people sitting as a panel and is a very popular style within the public sector. These interviews can be rather daunting from the candidate’s point of view so try to make sure you have planned exactly what you want to say and don’t bombard them with too many questions!
• Presentation or portfolio based interviews – this is where you ask the candidates to prepare examples of their work or a presentation to be delivered on the day. Make sure you give the candidates plenty of notice to prepare something suitable and that your instructions are really clear.
• Competency based interviews – these are structured to reflect the competencies that the employer is seeking for in a particular role. Questions usually start off with the words “Give me an example of when you have……” rather than just asking somebody to list their skills outright. They are a very popular interview type and are great for finding out exactly how a candidate would deal in a particular situation.
• Structured style interviews – this is one of the most common interview styles which is based on a series of planned questions being asked and each candidate is scored depending on the answers they give. The person with the most points is then the preferred candidate for the role.
• Relaxed interviews – these can be part of a group discussion or in an informal setting such as a café or over lunch. They are more laid back so that the candidate doesn’t feel too pressured. If you are meeting for lunch, make sure you choose your food wisely (nothing that is difficult to eat!) and remember your table manners!

The second interview

The second interview can be a great way to separate those names on the shortlist you can’t choose between and can go a long way in helping you to pick the best person for the job. It’s your opportunity to ask more in-depth questions and to get to know the shortlisted candidates a bit more. Plan and choose your questions carefully, this could be your last chance to get the right candidate for your business!

So as long as you plan, plan and plan some more, then nothing should go wrong! If you’re a bit nervous yourself, then why don’t you ask another manager to come in with you – which is also useful for a second opinion! If you need any help with interviewing techniques, or just have a simple question to ask, please get in touch with our specialist recruitment team – we would love to help.