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A comprehensive guide to six popular interview formats

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

A comprehensive guide to six popular interview formats


Digital transformation has changed the way hiring managers screen and recruit candidates. As a result, HR leaders have started using creative and modern interview formats to find suitable candidates for various job profiles.

Let’s explore the different types of interviews, their use, and their limitations in the modern workplace.


Optimize hiring with six diverse interview formats

The different types of interviews allow recruiters to choose a suitable format to interact with the potential candidates. It is essential to select an interview type based on the job profile and expected candidate qualities to offer the best interview experience.

The most common types of interviews are:


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1. Telephone interview

Telephone interview helps initiate the first communication with candidates, and it is beneficial for shortlisting candidates early in recruitment. A quick conversation with the potential candidate before meeting them helps identify whether they are a good fit for the company.

Telephone interviews give an insight into candidates’ personalities, helping recruiters assess candidates’ attitudes and interests.

Generally, these interviews are short and take up to 30 minutes.

Pros Cons
A quicker and more affordable interview format Telephone network disruptions should be managed
Less effort for candidates and recruiters Reduce background noise to eliminate disruption
Easy to assess candidates’ personality The candidate's body language can’t be judged
Useful for long-distance candidates
Simplifies candidate shortlisting

2. Video interview

Video interviews conducted via Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts stimulate valuable face-to-face interaction, adding a touch of professionalism.

Video interviews are formal when compared to telephone interviews, as the candidates and recruiters are focused on each other body language, speech, and tone. Hence, these interviews are useful to gauge candidates’ commitment to the interview process and job role.

Similar to telephone interviews, video interviews also last for about 30 minutes. Conducting a video interview at the end of the hiring process is ideal to ensure that hiring managers spend time with top talent.

Pros Cons
Quicker and more affordable than face-to-face interviews Network disruptions should be managed
Suitable for long-distance candidates Reduce background noise to eliminate disruption
A better method to assess candidates’ focus on the job role
Easier for recruiters to gauge candidates’ technical and interpersonal skills

3. Panel interview

Panel interview involves two or more interviewers forming a panel to assess candidates collectively. These interviews are useful in avoiding candidate bias. When more than one person reviews candidates’ responses, it can help in fair judgment.

The panel interview format is more suitable when hiring candidates for senior roles.

As the panel interview is usually conducted in the later stages of the hiring process, it lasts at least 45 minutes. It gives ample time to each panel member to assess candidates’ based on the selection criteria.

Pros Cons
Reduces personal bias Candidate may be overwhelmed by the panel members. Therefore, panel members should start in a friendly and comfortable tone.
A detailed assessment is possible
Candidate can meet top leaders in the organization

Group interview

A group interview is an informal and uncommon interview format often used when interviewers have to assess many candidates simultaneously. In this type of interview, more than one interviewer will challenge a small group of candidates and let them compete. This type of interview is more suitable for roles that require deep team collaboration.

A group interview can be conducted similar to a panel interview. Interviewers can ask questions and encourage candidates to respond with informative answers. Candidates can be assigned group tasks and activities, allowing individuals to showcase their unique talents to complete different tasks.

The group interview lasts around 45 minutes.

Pros Cons
Assess a variety of skills Candidates can feel overwhelmed. Therefore, healthy competition should be encouraged with proper guidelines.
Helpful in evaluating interpersonal and collaboration skills Interviewers should build rapport with individual candidates to streamline the process
All candidates can be assessed collectively
Ideal for shortlisting candidates in the early stages of the recruitment process

5. Face-to-face interview

A face-to-face interview is a recognized and efficient interview format widely preferred by recruiters. It is an in-office interview where interviewers can focus on individual candidates, improving the candidate experience.

The face-to-face interview makes it easier to assess the body language and build rapport with candidates. It allows candidates to think clearly and respond appropriately.

Face-to-face interviews last for about 45 minutes on average. However, it can extend to 1 hour if the candidate is engaged and wants to spend more time with the recruiter.

Pros Cons
Easy to evaluate body language It is time-consuming, so suitable time should be decided according to candidates and recruiters
Recruiters can assess candidates’ commitment and personality Personal bias is possible, so a standardized process should be set up
Personal bias is possible, so a standardized process should be set up Assessment is based on the interviewer's experience, so talented people with the right knowledge should take the interview

6. All-day interview

The all-day interviews require candidates to visit the office and meet with team members. Candidates are encouraged to participate in multiple activities similar to the job role they are interviewed for.

As candidates spend a lot of time at the office, recruiters can better assess their technical and personality skills. However, recruiters must properly organize activities with multiple leaders to ensure candidates are evaluated on various aspects.

Pros Cons
Ideal to evaluate cultural fit It is resource-consuming, so recruiters should closely evaluate candidates to eliminate other interview rounds
Candidates are more engaged, interacting with multiple members of the company It should be a standardized structure to avoid wasting time
Various activities can be organized to assess candidates


Decoding various interview rounds

Interview rounds differ from one organization to another. Different types of interviews are necessary based on the job role and its requirements. Therefore, strategic structuring of interviews is crucial to improve the hiring process and its efficiency.

Structured interview rounds are useful for assessing candidates based on their responses to specific questions. Semi-structured interviews allow recruiters to form their questions based on candidates’ previous responses. Semi-structured interviews are more commonly used to ensure interview efficiency and hiring success.

Modern workplaces also use unstructured interviews, allowing complete freedom for the interviewer to use planned and unplanned questions to assess a candidate’s capability. Interview rounds are usually determined based on the skillset required for the job.


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1. Technical round:


Candidates’ technical skills are evaluated with structured interview questions. Usually, this is a pre-screening round for technical jobs.


2. HR interview:


HR professionals spend time with candidates to vet applicants and ask questions about their resumes. This step is used to shortlist candidates for the subsequent interview rounds.


3. Competency round:


Questions are planned to assess candidates’ job-specific skills. Such rounds are essential for junior-level candidates to ensure they possess the skills listed in the job requirement.


4. Behavioral interview:


Candidates are tested based on their personality and how they will respond to job situations. These questions help evaluate candidates’ future in the organization based on their past performance.


5. Scenario-based interview:


Candidates are given hypothetical situations and asked questions to evaluate their responses. It is suitable for experienced applicants, and their answers are used to assess cultural fitment.


Futuristic talent acquisition

Recruitment tech continues to gain traction as digital transformation affects every facet of the business. G2 reports show that over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use recruitment software. HR leaders use such solutions to automate HR tasks, improving talent acquisition efforts.

Companies have to retarget their hiring strategy to align with Gen Z needs, as the workforce of 2025 will have 27% of the Gen Z population, according to Forbes. Incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) deep-tech solutions to extract data points and screen candidates will help reduce talent acquisition costs.

For example, Mercer | Mettl offers a suite of talent acquisition and pre-employment assessments. These tests include psychometric assessments, technical tests, aptitude tests, and many more evaluations that help shortlist candidates in the initial rounds of hiring.


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Modern recruitment platforms enable HR professionals to automate screening with predefined assessment templates. Candidates can be chosen for subsequent interview rounds based on their performance in assessments.

Futuristic hiring solutions empower HR leaders with insightful candidate data and improve candidate experience with a transparent hiring process.



What are the most important interview skills?

What are the most common types of interviews?

Originally published May 15 2023, Updated May 17 2023

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

An online video interview software allows organizations to conduct interviews remotely in a scalable, structured and effective manner. With the digitization of the recruitment process, an online video interview software provides organizations with a virtual platform to conduct interviews.

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