April 20, 2017    |    By

Mark Wilkinson, a recruitment expert at Coburg Banks, reveals that most employers do not audit their interview techniques. Consequently, these employers make various mistakes during the interviewing process, such as asking wrong questions; interviewer bias, interview fatigue and dishonest responses.

Many employers do not understand that interview techniques can determine whether they recruit the right employees or not. In case you have never evaluated the various techniques at your disposal, your next recruitment intake should be a meticulous process that considers the qualities required for this position. The following are the most common interview techniques you should consider before inviting applicants for an interview.

Types of Interview Formats You Could Use

Group interviews

Group interviews typically involve one interviewer interviewing various/multiple job applicants. An article by Allison Doyle notes that group interviews are a perfect fit for jobs that are fast-paced, highly stressful or involve a lot of customer interaction. These interviews normally involve problem-solving exercises or work simulation. The interview could culminate in a group presentation or discussion.

One of the questions you can ask during this presentation is the ingredient that made the work simulation a success. You could also inquire about each interviewee’s contribution to the group exercise as well as struggles encountered at a personal and collective level.

Panel interviews

Panel interviews involve several interviewers interviewing a single job candidate. Apart from you, this panel may also comprise your human resource (HR) representative, departmental head or the job candidate’s prospective colleagues. An article by CBS Money Watch notes that panel interviewing allows you to understand how a prospective employee would perform under pressure.

Panel interviews require clarity over every one’s roles. Designate a chairperson who will guide the interview session. According to CBS Money Watch, panel interviews normally last for an hour. However, it may last longer if the vacancy is a high-level position. Provide a 15 or 20-minute break after every interview to allow the panel to review the resume of the next interviewee and prepare any questions they might want to ask him/her.

At the end of the interviews, each panel member should provide their own assessment of the job candidate. This is based on the different mix of skills and experience that each panel member brings to the interview committee.

Individual interviews

An individual or one-on-one interview involves one interviewer interviewing a single job candidate one at a time. You can ask general and technical questions where the former assess the candidate’s problem solving skills and his or her ability to socialize with other employees in the company.

You can employ the 80/20 rule in which the candidate does most of the talking. It affords him/her enough time to fully express his/her skills, experience, career goals, weaknesses and personality in relation to the job. Ask open-ended questions that provide the candidate with flexibility in answering them.

Online interviews

Online interviews have become common owing to the advent of digital technologies that allow employers to interview job applicants from any location. You can interview the job candidate via a webcam after sending him/her the interview questions beforehand.

Another option is online interview software that allows you to interview a job applicant through recorded or live interviews. For example, Spark Hire, a web-based interview system, allows you to conduct recorded interviews.

You may also not need to interview the candidate via a webcam in real time. Send the interview questions to the prospective candidate and instruct him or her to record themselves while responding to these questions.

Pros and Cons of Group Interviews

Group interviews can save you the time associated with interviewing a large number of job candidates. They are also an opportunity to observe the applicants’ suitability at face value and not merely assessing this suitability by looking at their resumes. For example, the interactions between these applicants can unearth potential leaders. Yvonne Walker, Managing Director of HR with Ease, advises that you could identify a prospective consultative leader by the way a candidate listens respectfully to other group members and seeks their views.

If the position you want to fill requires someone with teamwork skills, a group interview will help you identify applicants who are team-oriented. Walker adds that most job applicants claim that they are great team players while that is not the case. In a group setting, you can also compare different candidates and identify the best candidate that meets the qualities necessary for the vacant position.

A drawback of group interviews is that you could overlook a talented candidate on the basis of his or her lack of assertiveness or quietness. Certain candidates may not feel confident speaking up in a group setting.  This could cost you a talented brain especially if the vacant position does not necessarily need someone who is talkative or assertive.

Group interviews are also disadvantageous if the position you want to fill does not need a competitive-driven person.  You could end up choosing a competitive personality who will not fit your organizational culture and instead hamper teamwork efforts. A Recruiteze article in 2016 identifies sales and customer service position as vacancies that are suitable for competitive-driven personalities.

Although you could save on time you would have taken to interview job candidates one by one, you will still spend a lot of time and resources towards preparing for a group interview. You will also need to ensure that the time you select for the interview is suitable for all interviewees. Organization will also consume other employees’ or supervisors’ time because you may need their help coordinating these activities.

Pros and Cons of Panel Interviews

Panel interviews allow for a full assessment of the candidate’s suitability for the job by allowing you to ask all the relevant questions. This is thanks to the mix of the interview panel, which consists of different interviewers with different personalities. Apart from the questions, panel interviews can guide you on whether the candidate has great rapport building skills judging by the way he/she relates to each panel member.

Panel interviews allow you to make a decision based on an all-round evaluation of the applicant. One member of the panel may identify an attribute that other members may not have spotted. Deliberating and comparing notes with each other may also unearth any questions/issues that may warrant a subsequent interview with the same applicant.

However, panel interviews are susceptible to complacency where certain members of the panel may only joyride. They may not be attentive to what the candidate is saying under the assumption that other panel members are doing that. Just like group interviews, panel interviews may blind you to a talented prospect whose only flaw is feeling intimidated by interviewing in a room full of varied personalities.

Pros and Cons of Individual Interviews

One-on-one interviews allow for an intimate and personal environment that makes an applicant comfortable. Without the fear of having to talk before with multiple people, the job candidate will feel at ease and provide you with honest answers to your questions. You can also tinker with the structure of the interview by adopting a conversational style in which the applicant is comfortable to ask you questions about the position or your organization.

Sadly, an individual interview will not provide you the benefit of diverse opinions, which could provide a fresh perspective on the candidate. If you do not plan on interviewing the candidate yourself, you run the risk of delegating this responsibility to someone who does not possess the requisite experience or knowledge on the vacancy. Chances are they could select a candidate who is unsuitable to the position.

Pros and Cons of Online Interviews

Convenience is a hallmark of online interviews since you can interview the candidate at a suitable time for both of you. The widespread availability of computer technology and Internet connections allows the candidate to interview in comfortable and familiar surroundings – compared to a work environment in which he/she might feel frightened.

Online interviews are an opportunity to assess the technical know-how of the job candidate, especially when this is a requirement for the position.  Unfortunately, this interview does not afford you the chance to assess a candidate’s body language, which is often an important consideration when assessing a potential employee. Online interviews can also suffer from connectivity issues that will interfere with communication with the candidate.

Making Sure Your Interview Format Matches the Organization and The Role

You need to select an interview technique that suits your organizational culture and the roles of the vacant position. The right technique should enable you to ask all the required questions and efficiently assess the qualities of your candidate. Look at your organizational culture and evaluate the qualities of every interview technique to see if it suits your culture. For instance, group interviews may be unsuited for an organizational culture that values innovativeness.

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when interviewing job candidates for a vacant position in your company. Depending on the job description, you might find yourself employing a group interview at one point before using an online interview the next time. This way, you can sidestep the risk of asking the wrong questions to the right candidate.

Make a great first impression at your next job interview.

This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.