Everything you need to know about the types of interviews. Interview is one of the procedures of selection of an employee. It is most widely and popularly used selection technique.

Irrespective of nature, size and type of organization, all organizations use ‘interview’ as a best tool or weapon to select an employee.

Interview is conducted not only for selecting an employee; it is even conducted for placement, counselling, separation, disciplinary action and even for admitting students for higher learning.

According to McFarland, “an interview is a purposeful two-way exchange of information between the participants. Both learn things of vital importance to their mutual decision, some intended and others not intended.”


Some of the types of interviews are:-

1. Formal and Informal Interview 2. Structured or Patterned Interview and Un-Structured or Non-Directed Interview 3. Situational Interview 4. Behavioural Interview 5. Job Related Interview 6. Stress Interview

7. Group Interview 8. Depth Interview 9. Panel or Board Interview 10. Phone or Video Interviews 11. Exit Interview 12. Walk-in-Interview.

Types of Interviews – Formal Interview, Informal Interview, Stress Interview, Group Interview and Other Types

Types of Interview – Top 8 Types: Formal and Informal Interview, Structured and Un-Structured Interview, Stress Interview, Group Interview, Depth Interview and a Few Others

Interview is one of the procedures of selection of an employee. It is most widely and popularly used selection technique. Irrespective of nature, size and type of organization, all organizations use ‘interview’ as a best tool or weapon to select an employee.


Interview is conducted not only for selecting an employee; it is even conducted for placement, counselling, separation, disciplinary action and even for admitting students for higher learning.

According to McFarland, “an interview is a purposeful two-way exchange of information between the participants. Both learn things of vital importance to their mutual decision, some intended and others not intended.”

Interviews are of different types which are described below:

1. Formal and Informal Interview.


2. Structured or Patterned and Un-structured or Non-directed Interview.

3. Stress Interview

4. Group Interview

5. Depth Interview

6. Panel or Board Interview

7. Exit Interview

8. Walk-in-Interview.

Type # 1. Formal Interview and Informal Interview:

It is a planned and well-arranged interview. It is conducted in a formal atmosphere in a fixed venue, time and through a panel of interviewers. All the formalities and procedures are followed in this type of interview. Even questions to be asked are decided well in advance.

Informal Interview:


It is an un-planned and un-scheduled interview and may take place anywhere. Venue and time is not fixed. Questions are not prepared well in advance. Whenever staff is required, this kind of interview is conducted by asking simple questions like name, age, qualification birth place etc., if candidates approach employer.

Type # 2. Structured or Patterned Interview and Un-Structured or Non-Directed Interview:

It is a fully planned interview and questions to be asked are already structured well in advance on the basis of an analysis of job specification. The time to be allowed to each candidate and the information to be collected is also predefined. The interviewer is carefully selected and he has no or little scope for deviation. Thus, a standardized pattern is adopted to conduct the interview.

Un-Structured or Non-Directed Interview:

It is an un-planned and un­structured interview where questions to be asked, time to be allowed and response to be collected are not thought in advance. Broad general questions are asked to the candidate and candidate is allowed to speak his mind freely without any restrictions. Therefore, better assessment of candidate becomes possible.

Type # 3. Stress Interview:


It is a deliberate attempt to create tension and pressure to observe how an applicant responds under stress and strain. Interviewer puts the candidate by putting him under stress and strain by interrupting the applicant from answering, criticizing his opinion, asking questions in rapid succession and keeping silent for unduly long period of time etc. This kind of interview is conducted just to find out how a candidate behaves in stressful situation.

Type # 4. Group Interview:

In this type of interview, group of individuals are interviewed. For this purpose, a problem is given to a group of candidates for discussion. The candidates are carefully observed as to who will lead the group, who is active and who is in-active, who will dominate and who will keep silence. Actions and reactions of the members in the group are also observed and potential candidate is selected.

Type # 5. Depth Interview:

Depth interview is conducted to test the candidates in depth knowledge in a special area of interest and to get true picture of the candidate in such area or subject. Experts in the concerned area of subject ask the question to test the candidate’s capacity in the concerned subject. Thus, candidate is examined thoroughly before he is selected for a particular post.

Type # 6. Panel or Board Interview:

It is an interview conducted by a panel or group of interviewers. Panels of experts interview each candidate, judge each candidates performance and prepare the list of candidate in order of merit. Here group judgment is involved in the selection of candidates as it seeks to pool the collective judgment of several interviewers.

Type # 7. Exit Interview:


Exit interview is conducted for those who leave or quit the organization. The main purpose of conducting this interview is to know the feelings of the outgoing employees towards organization, fellow workers, policy and rules of the organization and also to know the reason for quitting the job so that any defect associated with the organization can be rectified.

Type # 8. Walk-in-lnterview:

Recently many companies have started to hold walk-in-interview. Here candidates are to appear for interview directly without sending their application in advance. At the time of interview candidates are asked to submit application and testimonials in support of their qualification. Questions are asked in the area of candidate’s specialization in accordance with job requirement.

Types of Interview – Depending on the Nature of the Job

Depending on the nature of the job, various kinds of interviews are taken by the organization.

i. Structured vs. Unstructured Interviews:

Unstructured Interviews are non-directive interviews where the mana­ger generally follows no set format. The lack of structure allows the interviewer to ask follow up questions and pursue points of interest as they develop. This type of interview may be a little more than general conversation where there is no scoring of answers done. Every inter­viewer may get different set of questions except one or two common ones.

On the other hand, the structured interviews are structured with employer specific questions planned much ahead of interview time. In­terviewer is given a printed form where he evaluates the answers given by the candidate. Some interviewers ask only job related questions with predetermined answers from all applicants.

Pros and Cons of Structured Interviews & Non-Structured Interviews:


Structured interviews are generally more reliable and valid as all can­didates are asked same questions. Secondly, structured interviews can be conducted by less experienced managers also as everything is clearly written and standardized. This also increases the consistency across candidates and reduces overall subjectively. Lastly, such interviews are able to withstand any legal challenges.

However, the major limitation of structured interview is that it cannot pursue points of interest as it develops, which an unstructured inter­view can do. An unstructured interview also allows you to go deep with the specialized area of knowledge with some very skilful and talented interviewees.

ii. Situational Interview:

In a situational interview, you ask the candidate what his or her beha­vior would be in a given situation. For e.g., you may ask the candidate to set in a situation where his subordinate always comes late in the office. Thus, in this kind of interview the interviewer checks the reac­tion of the interviewee in a given hypothetical situation.

iii. Behavioural Interview:

In behavioural interviews, the interviewees are asked to describe how they related to actual situations in the past. Behavioural interviews are very intense as they may begin with questions like “can you think of a time where you were allowed no fringe benefits by the company. What did you do?” Or, “Suppose you were to face with the problems of leader mistrust in you, what would you do?” Such questions cannot be faked by the interviewee as they are pulled from real life. The interviewee can ask you the question constantly again and again to bring out truth.

iv. Job Related Interview:

Here the interviewer tries to deduce what the applicant’s on-the-job performance will be, based on his or her answers to questions about past behaviours. The questions do not revolve around hypothetical situ­ations, instead they are job related e.g. “which is you favourite machine handling experience in the old job?” Or, “which course in the engineer­ing was your favourite?”

v. Stress Interview:

Interviewers here seek to make the candidate stressed by asking him some rude questions. This is to probe into the level of their tolerance. If the candidate is found to be low on tolerance, he or she is not put in customer complaint cell etc. If the candidate responds very positively, he may be given some other topics to discuss and then if he fares well he will be zeroed down. Sometimes, puzzle questions are asked to see the tolerance of candidates in stressful situation. These interviews help unearth hypersensitive applicants who might over react to criticism with anger or abuse. These applicants are rejected.

vi. Group Interview:


In group interviews, a group rather than an individual is given a topic to discuss. Everyone participates and the interviewer can judge the behavior of every candidate according to the presentation he makes. Such interviews are based on the premise that group behaviour of a person is related to his success in the job.

vii. Panel or Board Interview:

Such interview is conducted by a panel or board constituted by the organization. Each member of the board asks random questions to the candidates and his responses are given scores. Later, scores of the panel members are combined to give him/her final ranking.

viii. Phone or Video Interviews:

Some interviews are done entirely on phone or video. These can be better than face to face interviewees for judging an applicant’s consci­entious, intelligence and interpersonal skills. Each party looks for sub­stantial answers rather than appearance etc. In India, the IT sector has popularized them. People residing outside India can also participate in the selection process with such interviews.

Types of Interview: Quick Notes

There are no hard and fast rules of interviewing candidates.

Interviews, in general, can be conducted in the following ways:

(a) Structured or Patterned Interview:

In such an interview different sets of questions, having the same pattern and with the same difficulty level, are framed in advance. Different candidates are asked different series of questions. Each series, having the same pattern and the same difficulty level, bring about objectivity in the interview.

(b) Unstructured or Non-Directive Interview:


In this interview, questions to be asked are not planned in advance. Questions pertaining to the job are asked and candidates are asked to respond freely to show their ability for the job.

(c) Stress Interview:

This interview is held to note how thick-skinned the candidate is. The candidates are asked awkward questions and it is seen how they react to such questions. If they do not lose their balance of mind, they prove their worth as suitable candidates.

(d) Group Interview:

In this interview, a number of candidates face the interview committee together. The candidates are asked to give their opinion on an issue or they are asked to discuss on a topic. When the candidates respond and give reasons and counter-reasons, their ability to communicate, presence of mind, expression, etc., are judged by the inter-viewers.

Types of Interview – 4 Most Important Types: Directive/Structured Vs. Non-Directive/Unstructured Interview, Situational Interview, Stress Interview and Panel Interview

The most important types of interviews generally conducted by organizations are as follows:

i. Directive/Structured Vs. Non-Directive/Unstructured

ii. Situational Interview


iii. Stress Interview

iv. Panel Interview

i. Directive/Structured Vs. Non-Directive/Unstructured:

In case of directive/structured interview, the interviewer asks predetermined set of structured questions related to the job to every candidate. Hence comparison among the candidates is easier.

Structured questions improve the reliability of the interview process. This type of interview is mechanical and stereotyped. It restricts the freedom of the interviewer. More time is required to design a structured set of questionnaire.

In case of non-directive or unstructured interview, the interviewer asks questions as per his/ her choice. There is no rule or criteria to be followed. The questions are basically analytical and open ended in nature. Sometimes the interviewer deviates from his/her objective of asking job related questions to the candidates.

ii. Situational Interview:

Every person, whichever position he/she holds in an organization has certain responsibilities and definitely encounters certain problems that he/she has to solve. The purpose of these situational interview questions is to judge the individual’s potential in handling a difficult situation and solving a problem.

The candidate is given a hypothetical situation related to his/ her job and asked to narrate his/her role in the situation. The answer is evaluated against the pre-established standards. Situational interview questions are asked so that the interviewer understands the individual’s analytical as well as problem solving skills.

One variant of situational interview is behavioural interview where the employers ask about conflicting or problematic situations which the candidate had experienced during the earlier job and would want to know how he/she handled it.

Some important situational interview questions are:

a. How would you act, if one of your team members or your subordinates does not perform according to the expectations?

b. What would be your reaction, when the recommendation or suggestion that you made at the meeting is rejected by your colleagues?

c. While working on a project, you are asked to take an important decision, what would be the steps that you would take to make your final decision?

d. What would you do, if you find that a colleague or may be one of your seniors is a difficult person?

e. Your superior has made a suggestion about something which you do not agree with. What would you do in such a situation?

f. If your colleague tells you that he/she is going on a holiday for a week by calling sick at work, what will you do about it?

g. Did you have to face a situation where you had to turn down the request of a customer for some good reason? Why did you do it and how did you handle the situation?

h. Describe a problematic situation that you had to encounter at your previous company and how you found a solution?

i. You made a mistake while doing an important project? What did you do to rectify the problem and how?

j. Describe a time in your previous job where you were overloaded with work, but could complete all the projects at the correct time. How did you handle the pressure? How did you prioritize your work?

iii. Stress Interview:

Stress interview takes place when a job applicant is placed in a stressful situation to see how he reacts. These are an offbeat way to see how candidates react to unusual circumstances under pressure.

The candidate may be asked repeated, difficult or inappropriate interview questions, there may be multiple interviewers at once or sequential interviews, or the candidate may be kept waiting, treated rudely, or otherwise put in an awkward position.

The objective is to find out whether the candidate can cope with highly stress producing, anxious and demanding situations in the work place. Although it is uncommon for an entire interview to be conducted under stress conditions, it is common for the interviewer to incorporate stress questions as a part of a traditional interview.

iv. Panel Interview:

Panel interview is also known as group interview. The number of interviewers in panel interview can range from 2 to 8. In a panel interview the candidate meets with several individuals at one time, typically sitting around a conference table.

Organizations use this method of interview because it is considered as more reliable method to reduce redundancy. After completion of interview final decision is made on the basis of several opinions that are shared by different professionals. The interviewers take turns in asking questions.

Other candidates are also asked the same questions so that their answers can be compared. Panel interviews were first used in academia and health care industries, but are becoming more popular in corporate sector nowadays.

The advantage of panel or committee interviews is that they are more reliable and job-related since panel members have expertise and are accountable to each other, and interviewer can make their decisions on the same sample of behaviour. To the applicants, the committee interview is less time-consuming, and can give him an opportunity to see how the staff works together.

However, it can be more stressful since several interviewers are involved and the interview questions may be more rapidly paced. Sometimes the candidate feels more stressed in panel interview.

Types of Interview – 7 Different Kinds of Interviews Conducted by the Management: Direct Interview, Indirect Interview, Patterned Interview, Stress Interview & a Few Others

There are different kinds of interviews conducted by the management.

Some of the interviews are briefly explained below:

Type # 1. Direct Interview:

Under this type of interview, straight-away questions are put before the applicant to get answers for them. Face to face conversation is the trend towards the interview. The in-depth knowledge of applicant is not observed under this type of interview. But, the skills, character, area of interest and attitudes of the applicant can be identified to some extent.

Type # 2. Indirect Interview:

Questions are not raised directly by the interviewer. The particular applicant is requested to express his views on any topics as he likes. The interviewer carefully listens to what the applicant expresses. The interviewer does not interpret the applicant’s views. The applicant has full freedom of expression. The personality of the applicant is easily assessed by the management.

Type # 3. Patterned Interview:

A number of standard questions are framed well in advance which are to be put before the applicant. The answers for these questions are found while framing the questions and answers are written near the questions. These are used for a verification purpose when answers are given by the applicant during the interview.

Type # 4. Stress Interview:

Irritating questions are put before the applicant by the interviewer. If any applicant gets angry when these types of questions are put to him, the particular applicant is evaluated as unfit for the job. For example, the Interviewer may ask, “How many legs does an eight legged insect have?” or “Dear Mr. Lakshmanan, what is your name?” These are some questions which irritate anybody in normal conditions.

Type # 5. Systematic in-Depth Interview:

Under this type of interview, the interviewer asks any one of the questions initially. Then, he proceeds step-by-step to get an integrated view of the skills and personality of the applicants.

Type # 6. Board or Panel Interview:

A group of persons called interviewers ask the applicant questions in the area of interest of the applicants. Immediately after the interview, they evaluate the performance of an applicant based on the answer given by the applicant.

Type # 7. Group Discussion:

Group Discussion is a modern method used to test the candidate’s confidence and communication skills. It also shows the ability of the candidate to reason and to analyse given situations. Team work and leadership can also be measured using a Group Discussion.

A Group Discussion is usually carried out by selecting a group of 6 to 8 candidates for the discussion. The panel of interviewers then select a topic to be discussed. Two minutes of preparation time is given to the candidates who can speak for (or) against the given topic.

The candidates then speak about their points on the topic, either supporting or rejecting each other’s claims. The panel judges the candidates on their ability to reason and speak about the given topic. During a group discussion, factors like eye contact, body language etc. are also important and can be taken into consideration.