SmartRecruiters Blog

Types of Interviews (Part 1)

For employers and recruiters, the interview evaluation portion of the job search is as tricky as they come. The interview process is often long with recruiters juggling multiple hiring manager schedules, connecting with candidates, and reviewing selected resumes.

The interview process itself is the single most important part of the candidate selection process. It’s essentially the first date where an employer and candidate meet face to face after they’ve reviewed each other’s profiles, and have mutually opted to learn more about if this relationship could be “the one.”

As if the candidate courting and selection process wasn’t enough for both parties, the actual interview and evaluation process can go a number of different ways. Recruiters, hiring managers, and job seekers should be prepared to get to know one another in a variety of different interview settings and formats. Here are a few of the most common to get you started:

    • Informational Interview. This style of interview is exactly what it sounds like, for informational purposes only. Job seekers meet with a prospective employer’s hiring managers and/or recruiters to learn more about the company, their culture, and hiring process before an actual position is available. Take part. These are a great way to pre-interview a candidate, establish a relationship, and build talent pipelines for future company openings.


    • Traditional Face-to-Face Interview. Most interviews are face-to-face. The candidate and the company representative get to know one another mono a mono, eyeball to eyeball. As the interviewer, your focus should be on asking prepared interview questions. Also make sure you are prepared to answer the interviewee’s questions about the position and company. Maintain eye contact and be prepared to make the candidate comfortable.
    • Panel/Committee Interview. In this boardroom-style format, there is more than one interviewer. Typically, three to ten members of a panel may conduct this part of the selection process. Interviewers will likely ask individual questions and the candidate not only works to answer the question directly but also to engage and develop a rapport with each panel member. Interviewers should have a series of planned interview questions and scoring or interview evaluation process in place prior to the interview. Know the criteria you are looking for before the interview has begun. Incorporating a scoring or consistent interview evaluation system is known as a structured interview.


    • Lunch/Dinner Interview. The same rules apply at a restaurant as in the office. The setting may be casual or formal. The interview questions are important but just like the panel interview, the interviewer has placed the job seeker in an environment where they must not only maintain poise, develop relationships, but also answer interview questions effectively in what likely will be a more casual conversational format. As a job seeker, I always recommend that they follow the lead of the interviewers they are dining with. Eat less. Order an entree that is light and easy to eat. Baby back ribs are not an appropriate choice.  Do not drink alcohol at any point in the interview process.


Learn more about the employer candidate selection and interview evaluation process by visiting Part Two of this blog series.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.

Photo Credit HRKeyFunctions

Free Software Forever. Signup for SmartRecruiters Free Recruiting Software.


Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.

Read. Share. Hire.
Sign up for weekly curated content from the SmartRecruiters Blog.

By filling out this form you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, as well as express your consent to receive communications from us