When it comes to interviewing potential employees, there is no one perfect way to go about the hiring process. In fact, there are several factors that should be considered in evaluating which is the best process to use with the intent of getting the best and most appropriate results.
When most people think of a job interview, they likely think of one person sitting on one side of the desk or table asking the questions and the potential employee sitting in the “hot seat” on the other side answering those questions. While this is one way to interview, there are several others, depending on the culture and goals of the business or organization.
A panel interview can involve multiple interviewers'”often representatives from various departments that have a stake in the outcome of the hiring process. This can be a useful way to interview for the following reasons: it is possible to get various “takes” or opinions on the potential employee that can then be compared and discussed; it can be a way to see how well the individual interacts with different personalities and how well they are able to “perform” in a group setting. In a work environment that requires a worker to interact with various individuals and work well between departments, this can be a useful tool. It is important to be organized when using this approach. It should be decided in advance who will ask which questions and what each participant’s role is. It is also important to note that this type of interviewing can make the person being interviewed feel as though they are on trial. The potential employee is definitely out-numbered and it can create an uncomfortable “power dynamic.”
A group interview is one in which the interviewer(s) questions several potential employees at once. This can be a creative and useful way to compare several individuals in real time and see how they play off each other and interact in what can seem like a competitive environment. If balance is important, you can have the same number of people asking questions as are being interviewed. This process can take longer since everyone is allowed to answer, but it can also be a way of making sure the exact questions are asked of everyone.
Finally, some companies do best with an informal interview process. Instead of a set number of specific questions, the potential employee is invited in for a chat (or to lunch, or to a staff meeting or some other situation) and the conversation is more informal and organic. This can be a good way to get to know someone in a less structured situation and it is possible to find out about a person’s working style, interests, personality, work history, etc. with an informal chat if it is done well.
Whatever the type of interviewing process, the goal is to get the best possible candidate for the job. It might take some trial and error to find a style that works best for the company or business, as well as for the person doing the interviewing.