Administering the interviews

Interviews can also be administered in various ways: one on one or by a panel of interviewers; sequentially or all at once; and computerized or personally

Personal or individual Interviews: Most interviews are individual or one-on-one: Two people meet alone, and one interviews the other by seeking oral responses to oral inquiries. Most interview processes are also sequential. In sequential or serial interview, several persons interview the applicant, in sequence, before a decision is made. In an unstructured sequential interview, each interviewer may ask different questions and form an independent opinion. In a structured sequential interview, each interviewer rates the candidates on a standard evaluation form, using standardized questions. The hiring manager then reviews and compares the evaluations before deciding who to hire A panel interview, also known as a broad interview, is defined as “an interview conducted by a team of interviewers (usually two or three) who interview the candidates simultaneously, and then combine their ratings into the a final panel score. This contrasts with an individual interview in which one interviewer rates one candidate and a serial interview where several interviewers assess a single candidate sequentially. In a serial interview, candidates may cover the same ground the same ground over and over again with each interviewer. The panel format lets interviewers ask follow-up questions based on the candidate’s answers, much as reporters do in press conferences. This may elicit more meaningful responses than are normally produced by a series of one-on-one interviews.

On the other hand, some candidates find panel interviews more stressful so they may actually inhibit responses. An even more stressful variant is the mass interview. Here a panel interviews several candidates simultaneously. The panel poses a problem and then sits back and watches to see which candidate takes the lead in formulating an answer.

It’s not clear whether, as a rule, panel interviews are more or less reliable and valid than other types of interviews, because how the employer actually conducts the panel interview has a big effect on reliability and validity. For example, structured panel interviews are more reliable and valid than unstructured ones. Panel interviews in which members use scoring sheets with descriptive scoring anchors (sample answers) are more reliable and valid than those that don’t. And training the panel interviewers may boost the interview’s reliability, but probably not its validity.

Some interviews are done entirely by telephone. These can actually be more accurate than face-to-face interviews for judging an applicant’s conscientiousness, intelligence, and interpersonal skills. Since neither side has to worry about things like clothing nor can handshakes, both parties focus on substantive answers. Or perhaps candidates somewhat surprised by an unexpected call from the recruiter just give more spontaneous answers. In a typical study, interviewers tended to evaluate applicants more favorably in telephone versus face-to-face interviews, particularly where the interviewees were less physically attractive. However the interviewers came to about the same conclusions regarding the interviewees whether the interview was face-to-face or by video conference. The applicants themselves preferred the fact-to-face interviews.

Computerized Interviews: A computerized selection interview is one in which a job candidate’s oral and/or computerized replies are obtained in response to computerized oral, visual, or written questions and/or situation s. Most computerized interviews present the applicant with a series of specific questions regarding his or her background, experience, education, skills, knowledge, and work attitudes that relate to the job for which the person has applied. Other, video-based computerized interviews my also confront candidates with realistic scenarios (such as irate customers) to which they must respond.

Typical computerized interviews present questions in a multiple choice format, one at a time; the applicant is expected to respond to the questions on the screen by pressing a key. For example, sample interview question for a person applying for a job as a retail store clerk might be:

How would your supervisor rate your customer service skills?

(a) outstanding
(b) Above average
(c) Average
(d) Below average
(e) Poor.

Questions on a computerized interview come in rapid sequence and require the applicant to concentrate. The typical computerized interview program measures the response time to each question. A delay in answering certain questions such as “Can you be trusted?” can flag a potential problem.

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