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Interview Approach Description

Used when there is a high volume of applicants to narrow the field to qualified applicants that have provided the necessary documentation according to the time table established by the advertisement or policy of the organization. Prescreening can occur after applicants have submitted their documentation.

Phone screenings are used to gather information about the candidate to determine if an offer to be interviewed is extended.

Ensure that seating arrangements allow for body language and eye contact Body language and eye contact play an important part in good communications. The inability to make eye contact with or to see the body language of the candidate can result in the loss of valuable information.
Structured or repetitive

Every applicant is asked the same questions initially, but follow-up probes may be different with each candidate. This approach ensures that similar information will be gathered from all candidates making it easier to compare responses and qualifications.

Structured interviews consist of a set of carefully planned, job-related questions posed to every candidate. Responses to these questions can then be systematically scored and evaluated to reliably identify high potential candidates. Interviews that are unstructured and largely unplanned conversations may ignore the job-relevant factors.

Patterned or targeted Questions are asked from the same knowledge, skill or ability area, however the questions are not identical. For example, the same content, but different level.
Know the position requirements The interviewer should have detailed knowledge of the actual position responsibilities expected of the successful candidate. By using job descriptions and position profiles as guides, interviewers are able to consider job-relevant factors in making selection decisions.
Let the candidate dominate the interview For selection purposes, it is best to let the job applicant do a majority of the talking in an interview. This allows the interviewer to obtain more information about the applicant and reduces the tendency to create premature first impressions based on superficial characteristics.
Probe for detailed answers Follow-up questions are rarely scripted. They must come out of the answers, attitudes and values a candidate reveals. Interviewers should be comfortable with silence as a candidate considers answers to tougher probing questions. Try not to assume or anticipate a candidate's answer.
Ensure that job requirements are the dominant selection criterion Research indicates that most interviewers have made up their minds about a candidate within the first four minutes of the interview and according to the Wall Street Journal, seventy percent of the hiring decision is made based on initial impressions. However, first impressions based on emotions, biases, chemistry, personality, and stereotyping cause more hiring errors than any other single factor.
Stress Interviewer takes an aggressive stance to see how well the candidate responds to stressful situations.
Directive Interviewer directs the line of questions and controls the interview process.

Interviewer asks open ended questions, providing general direction, but allows applicant to guide the process. Open-ended or nondirective questions are designed to encourage the candidate to speak freely at some length and expand on their job-relevant knowledge, skills, or experiences. Usually open-ended questions begin with "what," "why," "where, " "when," or "how." Open-ended questions can be particularly effective at the beginning of an interview. They allow you to stimulate the candidate to talk at length by asking non-threatening questions that give an overall view of the candidates' background.


  • In what ways do you think you could contribute to our unit?
  • Why did you decide to seek a position with the University?
  • What is your management style?

Interview focuses on past performance in given scenarios. Usually beginning with the words "Tell me about a time when" or "Give me an example of a time", behavioral interviewing asks applicants how they have actually behaved in similar situations in the past. Behavioral interviewing is based on the assumption that past behavior is generally a good predictor of future behavior. Therefore, behavior-based interviewers usually develop their questions around the traits and skills they deem necessary for succeeding in the position. Job applicants who can describe specific instances of having solved difficult administrative problems on prior jobs, for example, are more apt to do so again in the job for which they are interviewing. Behavioral interviews usually include questions that pertain to prior work experience that is either directly or indirectly related to the job being recruited for, job-relevant interpersonal experiences, or educational experiences.


  • Tell me about a time when you were totally committed to a task.
  • Tell me about a time when you were creative in solving a problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.

Similar to a behavioral interview, the interviewer asks questions designed to predict how the candidate would handle situations in the future. In a situational interview, the interviewer develops "what if" questions based on a real-life problem or hypothetical situation for the candidate to try to solve. In order to develop these questions, the interviewer must identify examples of actual job behaviors that are critical to success. These behaviors are then utilized in developing hypothetical scenarios that applicants are asked to imagine themselves experiencing; each applicant is assessed on how they would handle each situation. This interview format requires the applicants to make a shift in emphasis from finding the "right" answers to showing the interviewer the right way to come up with answers.


  • Any job-relevant question that begins with "What would you do if" or "How would you handle".

One type includes multiple candidates being interviewed at the same time, often seen on "reality" or game shows on TV

The more common type of group interview is where there are multiple people interviewing a candidate with different types of questions assigned to the interviewers.


This interview is used when there is heavy reliance on team cooperation

Members of an organization above, below and equal to the open position are included in the interview.

Don't allow hiring deadlines to interfere with hiring decisions Taking the time needed to make the right hiring decision can save money and time in the long run. Rushing interview preparation time, rushing the interview and rushing the hiring decision are some of the pressures associated with short hiring deadlines. Additionally, research indicates that if the interviewer is under pressure to hire a candidate, then there is a tendency to overrate all the candidates.

Structured questions are assigned to the group conducting the interview

This is very similar to the group interview.