Get the Most Out of an Interview

In the past, the one who did the hiring held the reins of power in his/her hands. Due to the skills gap, and other factors, that isn’t the case anymore. Today, finding the best employees, good performers who stay in the job, can be a difficult challenge – especially if you are looking for a specialized skill set or a higher-level position.

In fact, the more specialized or responsible the position, the more the process requires attention and deliberation. Setting goals for an interview, and determining an interview strategy is essential.

Interview Types/Strategies

The first or screening interview

This interview is often accomplished by phone or at a career fair, typically by a recruiter or company representative. It presumes prequalification of the candidate based on review of credentials and education as well as evaluates whether the individual’s goals harmonize with the available opportunity. It may also indicate the likeability and cultural fit of the candidate.

Those who pass the first interview proceed to the second interview.

The second interview

There are multiple types of second interviews, including the phone, in-person panel, group, stress, or behavioral interview. Each type accomplishes different goals but serves the same ultimate purpose – eliminating the less qualified and shortlisting the qualified candidates to a more manageable number.

  • The phone interview

A phone interview may be the most cost-effective to eliminate weaker candidates because an employer can use a list of standardized questions. It also offers a chance to verify or expound on the individual’s submitted information.

  • The in-person panel interview

A panel interview is when two or more interviewers from different departments of the company conduct the interview of all (or small groups of) candidates. Usually, the lead interviewer introduces panel members. The panel interview increases accuracy because it allows questions from different perspectives and thus clarifies information. It also permits each panel member to ask questions relevant to departmental concerns or interests. Panel interviews are beneficial to discerning a candidate’s competencies and weaknesses. Watch out for vague or evasive answers.

  • The in-person group interview

Occasionally referred to as the case or situational interview, the in-person group interview is similar to the panel interview in that several candidates are interviewed at one time. The candidates are divided into groups and required to join in a simulated work exercise or problem-solving session. Interviewers observe and note each candidate’s contribution, as well as interaction and communication dynamics between individuals. This type of interview helps an employer discover abilities in leadership, persuasion, conflict resolution, and teamwork. It also reveals “stepping-stone candidates” as well as those who won’t take responsibility for their actions or decisions.

  • The in-person behavioral interview

The behavioral interviewer asks open-ended questions about a candidate’s past performance as a predictor of future performance such as,

“Tell me about a time when you had to confront a team member about a quality-of-work issue.”

“Explain how you set departmental and personal goals.”

This type of interview helps an employer uncover desirable attributes as well as specific skills. Because you ask probing questions, a candidate has difficulty preparing ahead of time.

Structured vs. unstructured interviews

No matter which interview strategy is used, interviews are more or less structured toward an employer’s goals for the company and the open position. The more structured, the more formal the interview. It provides a narrower look at a candidate and focuses on specific requirements for the job. Pre-determined lists of questions, rating scales or checklists are frequently used to catalog results of these interviews. The structured interview may be required for jobs in which details are critical, such as lawyers, physicians, and engineers.

In unstructured interviews, questions may change according to the flow and direction of the candidate’s answers. Because of this, it is possible pertinent questions on skills may not be asked. Also, note that no direct comparisons between candidates can be made reliably if the questions differ widely from candidate to candidate. This type of interview relies on the interviewer’s gut instinct and ability to “read” people.

Regardless of the available position, Nissen Staffing Continuum can help you put your best interviewing effort forward. We are mindful of the most cost-saving and time-efficient ways to assess and select the best candidates to fill your staffing needs. Contact us today and discover how we may help you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *