What Are Some Popular Interviewing Techniques?

Interviews are a crucial aspect of the recruitment process. Employers use a range of techniques to evaluate candidates’ skills, experience, and character traits. Each method has its unique advantages and focuses on different aspects of a candidate’s suitability for a particular role. By using multiple interview techniques, employers can gain a comprehensive understanding of the candidate and make informed hiring decisions.

Several Popular Interviewing Techniques:

Behavioral Interviews:

Behavioral interviews focus on understanding how candidates have behaved in specific situations in the past to predict how they might behave in similar situations in the future. The underlying principle is that past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. Behavioral interviews typically follow a structured approach, where interviewers ask candidates to provide specific examples of past experiences. These examples should be relevant to the skills and competencies required for the job. The STAR method is commonly used in behavioral interviews. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Candidates are asked to describe the Situation they were in, the Task they needed to accomplish, the Action they took to address the task, and the Result or outcome of their actions. Behavioral interviews are used to assess specific skills, competencies, and qualities relevant to the job, such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, and adaptability. Interviewers may ask probing questions to delve deeper into the candidate’s responses, seeking clarification or additional details. Research suggests that behavioral interviews have higher predictive validity compared to other types of interviews, meaning they are better at predicting future job performance.

Situational Interviews:

Situational interviews present candidates with hypothetical scenarios usually related to the job or other related situations. The goal is to assess how candidates would approach and handle specific situations they might encounter in the role. Interviewers present candidates with realistic scenarios that they might face on the job. These scenarios could involve challenges, conflicts, or decision-making situations relevant to the position. Situational interviews aim to evaluate candidates’ problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and their capacity to handle various job-related situations effectively. Like behavioral interviews, situational interviews are based on the premise that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. By assessing how candidates would respond to hypothetical situations, interviewers can gain insights into their likely behavior on the job. Candidates may be expected to outline their thought process, identify possible solutions, and explain their reasoning. The scenarios presented in situational interviews are typically aligned with the competencies and skills required for the job. Interviewers assess whether candidates’ responses demonstrate the relevant competencies, such as problem-solving, communication, leadership, or adaptability. Interviewers may ask follow-up questions to further explore candidates’ responses or to assess their depth of understanding. This allows interviewers to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how candidates would approach different situations.

Competency-Based Interviews:

Competency-based interviews focus on assessing specific skills, abilities, and behaviors that are necessary for success in a particular role. Competencies are defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal attributes that contribute to effective job performance. Before conducting competency-based interviews, employers typically identify the key competencies required for the job. Competency-based interviews follow a structured format, with interviewers asking candidates a series of questions designed to elicit examples of past experiences that demonstrate their proficiency in each competency. Candidates are expected to provide specific examples from their past experiences. Common core competencies assessed in competency-based interviews include communication skills, problem-solving abilities, teamwork and collaboration, leadership potential, adaptability, time management, and customer focus, among others. Like behavioral interviews, competency-based interviews may use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure candidates’ responses. Some organizations use scoring rubrics or rating scales to evaluate candidates’ responses in competency-based interviews. Each competency may be assigned a score based on the quality of the candidate’s examples and the extent to which they demonstrate proficiency in that competency. Competency-based interviews aim to assess candidates’ fit for the job based on their demonstrated competencies.

Case Interviews:

Case interviews are commonly used in industries such as consulting, finance, and business analysis to assess candidates’ problem-solving abilities, analytical skills, and strategic thinking. In a case interview, candidates are presented with a real or hypothetical business problem or scenario that they are expected to analyze and solve within a limited timeframe. These problems can range from market entry strategies to operational challenges to financial analyses. Case interviews typically follow a structured approach, where candidates are expected to:

  • Clarify the problem and ask relevant questions to gather information.
  • Analyze the available data and identify key insights.
  • Develop a logical framework or approach to solving the problem.
  • Present their recommendations or solutions in a clear and concise manner.

Many case interviews involve quantitative analysis, requiring candidates to perform calculations, interpret data, and draw conclusions based on numerical information. This may include market sizing, financial modeling, or pricing analysis. Effective communication is crucial in case interviews. Candidates must articulate their thought process, explain their assumptions, and justify their recommendations in a clear and coherent manner. Interviewers assess candidates’ communication skills, as well as their ability to structure and organize their thoughts.

In addition to assessing candidates’ problem-solving abilities, case interviews may also provide insights into their interpersonal skills, teamwork, and ability to handle ambiguity and uncertainty. Case interviews can take various formats, including:

  • Standard cases: Presenting a single business problem for analysis.
  • Mini-cases: Shorter scenarios with more focused questions.
  • Market sizing: Estimating the size of a market or segment.
  • Brain teasers: Analyzing unconventional problems to assess creativity and critical thinking.

After the case interview, candidates may receive feedback on their performance, including strengths and areas for improvement. Interviewers evaluate candidates based on their problem-solving approach, analytical rigor, creativity, and overall presentation.

Panel Interviews:

Panel interviews involve having multiple interviewers, often from different departments or levels within the organization, interview a candidate simultaneously. Panel interviews allow employers to gather input from multiple perspectives and stakeholders within the organization. Each panel member may focus on different aspects of the candidate’s qualifications, such as technical skills, cultural fit, or leadership potential. With multiple interviewers present, panel interviews provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the candidate. Different panel members may ask questions tailored to their areas of expertise, allowing for a deeper exploration of the candidate’s qualifications and experiences. Panel interviews can be more time-efficient than conducting multiple one-on-one interviews. Instead of scheduling separate interviews with each interviewer, candidates can meet with all panel members at once, streamlining the interview process. Panel interviews help ensure consistency in the evaluation process. All panel members can ask questions and assess the candidate’s responses, reducing the potential for bias or inconsistency in the evaluation. Panel interviews bring together individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. This diversity of perspectives can lead to richer discussions and a more holistic assessment of the candidate’s suitability for the role. Panel interviews facilitate collaborative decision-making among interviewers. After the interview, panel members can compare notes, share impressions, and collectively determine the candidate’s fit for the position.

Panel interviews can be intimidating for candidates, as they may feel outnumbered or under scrutiny by multiple interviewers. Employers should strive to create a supportive and professional environment to help candidates feel at ease during the interview process.

In conclusion, various interview techniques serve distinct purposes in evaluating candidates for job roles. Each technique offers unique insights into candidates’ qualifications, allowing employers to make informed hiring decisions based on a comprehensive assessment of skills, experiences, and fit for the role and organization. By incorporating a combination of these techniques, employers can ensure a thorough evaluation process that identifies the best-suited candidates for their teams. Morris Bixby can help. Learn more today!


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