Hiring is an extensive process and each step from the job description to the interview to the job offer can impact whether you hire the right person. The interview, in particular, is the most important to identify whether a candidate is a fit for your company and if you are the right fit for them. But with all the options available, the pros and cons of interviews can vary greatly.
Interviews come in many shapes and sizes. There are countless techniques, approaches, and styles of interviews that vary in the number of people, types of questions, length, and more. It can be overwhelming if you’re trying to improve your interviews.
Glassdoor research finds that the average length of the job interview process in the U.S. is 24 days. But with more interviews taking place virtually and the competitive job market, this timeframe may be shorter. Regardless, now is a great time to focus on this part of your hiring process.
There is a lot of research that has been done to develop best practices for interviewing. The following approaches are by no means exhaustive. They are only meant to provide a high-level overview of how you can structure your approach and some potential pros and cons of interviews.
Pros and Cons of Interviews Based on Size
1. Individual Interview Pros & Cons
An individual interview is where the candidate meets with one other person, usually for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Pros: These interviews are the most common and most efficient since they can be scheduled for a shorter time. They’re also the most flexible of interviews — each interviewer can make them formal, informal, ask unique questions, and use a personal style.
- Cons: Candidates can easily prepare for individual interviews. Interviewers must also be experienced enough to know what questions not to ask in an interview and how to guide it. These interviews are also hard for comparisons between candidates. If there are multiple individual interviews, the questions and flow could be inconsistent from one to the next and the process can become repetitive for the interviewee.
2. Panel Interview Pros & Cons
Panel interviews, on average, consist of 2 to 5 people interviewing a candidate — interviewers are usually decision-makers or management. And one person usually leads the interview.
- Pros: Each interviewer can ask different questions that get at different aspects of a candidate and their experience. And with everyone in the interview, interviewers can compare and contrast candidates more easily afterward, which helps reduce personal bias. If there are multiple decision-makers for a role, a panel interview also makes it easy to include more people and complete the interview on time. Candidates also get a chance to meet more members of a company and see how they interact with each other in panel interviews.
- Cons: Panel interviews can feel formal and intimidate the candidate depending on how many people are involved. It’s also harder to organize a panel interview and interviewers may not get a chance to ask all of their questions.
3. Group Interview Pros & Cons
Like panel interviews, group interviews involve more than one interviewer. However, group interviews are informal and the interviewers are more likely to be at the same or similar level to the candidate (i.e. the candidate’s teammates) — though they don’t have to be.
- Pros: Group interviews are great for roles that require a lot of teamwork and where the candidate would benefit from meeting the rest of the team. Involving others on the team is also a great way to train lower-level employees on the interview process and decision-making. This type of interview is also ideal if you need to interview lots of candidates in a short period of time.
- Cons: While group interviews are a great way for candidates and team members to learn more about each other, they may not be essential to qualify the candidate for the role. And often in group settings one person may dominate the interview and make it difficult to control the group dynamic.
Pros & Cons of Interviews Based on Role
4. Competency-Based Interview Pros & Cons
This form of interview is structured. It uses sets of questions focused on different skills or competencies to assess whether a candidate can perform a job.
- Pros: Competency-based interviews allow interviewers to make comparisons between candidates on specific skills. This approach makes it easier to identify candidates that aren’t just personable but also qualified for the role.
- Cons: This type of interview often relies on past performance as an indicator of future performance. Competency questions can be challenging for candidates to answer and they don’t always allow interviewers to get to know candidates on a personal level.
5. Technical Interview Pros & Cons
Also known as task-based interviews, technical interviews are most applicable to technology-related roles such as those in IT, engineering, computer science, programming, product development, design, etc. Sometimes instead of an interview, candidates will complete a “homework” assignment or assessment in place of a technical interview. These interviews or assessments are meant to evaluate candidates’ analytical, problem-solving, or creative skills.
- Pros: The biggest benefit of technical interviews and assessments is that they can be automated. As a result, HR or hiring managers’ time isn’t taken, there’s flexibility in scheduling, human bias is removed, and comparisons can be made easily. This kind of interview can also be combined with other interview types to take a more holistic approach to the hiring process.
- Cons: Technical interviews don’t take into account real-world environments and can put undue pressure on candidates — most jobs will have access to resources and teammates when solving problems or completing tasks. This type of interview is also only applicable to certain roles and industries.
6. Behavioral-Based Interview Pros & Cons
Unlike competency-based interviews, behavioral interviews are usually unstructured. These interviews are designed to assess how a candidate thinks, behaves, and reacts to certain situations. It usually involves more detailed explanations and questions that build upon candidates’ answers.
- Pros: Behavioral-based interviews are more comfortable for candidates because it often focuses on their experiences. This approach gives interviewers insight into how a candidate thinks but often lets their personality come through as well.
- Cons: Candidates can easily prepare for this type of interview and it requires more preparation and training for interviewers. Questions also tend to focus on negative situations and can take more time to get through.
Structuring Your Interviews
Interviews are a tricky thing to get right. And as you can see there are many pros and cons of interviews. As any business owner or HR professional knows, each interview is different regardless of whether they’re the same type or not. How you structure your interview can depend on a variety of factors, such as your industry, the role, timing, and capabilities.
Think strategically about how to approach interviews and think about the pros and cons of interviews to improve your hiring process. But if you want to learn more about best practices for interviewing, download our eGuide below. You’ll learn what not to do in an interview and a 7-step approach to interviews to make hiring the right person easy.