When a company has key openings to fill, typically they initiate a candidate search and possibly several rounds of interviews. Deciding how they will carry out these candidate “meet & greets” will depend on factors such as industry, the position, and timeframe.
Increasingly today, there are several choices in interview formats, some with better success than others at predicting job success. Here are just three methods of interviewing, what they entail, as well as their pros and cons as a choice for your next candidate search.
The Standard Interview
This is the basic job interview method that has stood the test of time and is probably the one that we all encountered when we applied for our first job as teenagers. Interviewers will ask the same questions of every candidate such as, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What do see as your greatest weakness?”.
The benefit of this interview method is that it’s easy for everyone concerned. The interviewer can compare answers to the same questions across all candidates and pick the one that they prefer. The downside is that it’s simply too easy for the job candidates, who have learned and practiced the answers to these basic questions in a well-prepared sales pitch. Because of this, a successful interviewer here may not turn out to be a successful employee.
The Behavioral Interview
The behavioral interview has taken hold as one of the more prevalent interview techniques in recent years, and for good reason. The premise of this interview technique is that past performance is the best predictor of future success on the job. This interview technique asks candidates to describe a specific work activity or experience that demonstrates a quality such as leadership, teamwork, or time management.
The benefit of behavioral interviewing is that it helps identify the success-based competencies and attitudes that a candidate will bring to the job, where some technical skills can be trained in-house. The downside of behavior-based interviews is that some savvy candidates are learning how to tell the “right” stories to impress interviewers. This is why companies should learn to conduct unstructured interviews, drilling down on some questions to move beyond prepared answers.
The Practical Interview
A practical interview involves moving beyond the conversation to a demonstration of some key job skills. Knowledge and culture fit are important, but your organization might want to make sure that the candidate can perform some of the functions that they promise on their resume or in a preliminary interview. A practical interview might ask a candidate to solve an IT problem, take a test, or deliver a sales and marketing presentation.
The pros of a practical interview include giving your company the ability to assess candidates on many factors. These include such things as following directions, working under pressure, organization skills, and the quality of the final product. The main con of this type of interview is that it is a tremendous amount of work to administer and evaluate for a large number of candidates. It is also only a fair gauge for some skills, leaving others out. Additional interviews are still needed to assess for such things as culture fit and some other essential success qualities.
There are many different types of interview methods and situations that you can use to find the best candidate for your position. The right approach may include a combination of techniques that will help your company match the right candidate to the job, your business, and its goals.