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Top 2 Types of Job Interviews: Informational Interviews and Selection Interviews

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How can you be prepared for different types of job interviews?

Although most of your interviews will be one-on-one, there is a strong trend toward team interviewing. Managers pressed for time find it more efficient. Many organizations are requiring a presentation in front of a group of future colleagues as part of the interview process. It allows the interview team to evaluate Candidates’ communication ability, influencing skills and ability to think on their feet.

There are two basic types of interviews – informational interviews and selection interviews.

The informational interview (networking) can be a formal or informal conversation for the purpose of obtaining information to determine further courses of action.

The selection interview is a planned, formal, more focused conversation that provides the interviewer with the information to evaluate whether or not a Candidate has the ability and motivation to perform successfully and fit into the organization.

Selection interviews may be screening interviews by search company professionals, internal Human Resources professionals or the ultimate hiring manager. The purpose of these interviews is to screen you in or out, based on predetermined qualification criteria. A selection interview can be either structured or unstructured.

Structured Interviews

The structured interview is exactly what it sounds like: an interview that is conducted according to a predetermined order. It is carefully designed to elicit maximum data from the Candidate with a minimum number of interviewer questions. The structure will usually follow the outline below.

  • Greetings/small talk.
  • Introduction.
  • Work experience.
  • Education.
  • Activities and interests.
  • Summary of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Description of position, Candidate questions.
  • Close.

The trained interviewer conducting a structured interview will be likely to do the following.

  • Ask open-ended questions and focus on past performance.
  • Encourage the Candidate to talk 70-80 percent of the time.
  • Give limited specific information about the job until the Candidate’s qualifications have been confirmed.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Be comfortable with silences and wait for the Candidate to speak.
  • Not ask personal or illegal questions.

Unstructured Interviews

Unstructured interviews are non-directed and are geared to be more casual and open. Often the interviewers have had little or no training or coaching about the process, and have done little to prepare.

These can be difficult situations, particularly when the interviewer does not know what to look for or how to direct the interview. It is important for you to take the initiative and lead without appearing to dominate; the person asking the questions usually controls the conversation.

Top 2 Types of Job Interviews: Informational Interviews and Selection Interviews by