Recruitment interview: types and guidelines to follow

The recruitment interview is one of the essential parts of the recruitment process. Its success or failure depends on multiple...
9 August 2022

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Recruitment interview: types and guidelines to follow

The recruitment interview is one of the essential parts of the recruitment process. Its success or failure depends on multiple factors, such as selecting the type of interview that meets your objectives.

In this content, we address the different types of selection interviews and the guidelines to follow so that you get the most out of the overall process.

Types of recruitment interviews

You must conceive the interview as the tool that provides you with the data you need to discriminate between candidates and that allows you to assess whether or not they fit the needs and responsibilities of the position offered.

To be able to classify them correctly, you have to start from these three parameters:

  1. The participants. Depending on the participants, interviews can be group or individual.
  2. The development of the dialogue. Using the dialogue, you will be conditioning the candidate to obtain what you need each moment. Thus, the interviews can be directed, open or semi-directed.
  3. The objective. One of the unavoidable phases in an interview is establishing its purpose and knowing what you want to get from the candidate through it.

Once the parameters are known, we come to the main types of recruitment interviews.

Collective or group interviews

These interviews measure initiative, communication and persuasion skills, etc.

In their realization, you can use personnel selection techniques such as assessment centers or Assessment Centers that propose simulations to assess the interpersonal skills and competencies of the participants.

Group selection processes undoubtedly pay less attention to the candidate, but they are very effective in analyzing, speaking, influencing others, or leadership.

Recruitment interview: types and guidelines to follow


The individual interview expands on the candidate’s information in their curriculum vitae -CV- and can be a pre-selection of candidates or a way to deepen it.

You can set up a simulation based on working conditions to observe their performance and reactions.

Directed or structured

The guided interview results from a detailed study of the responsibilities necessary for the correct job performance.

The interviewee will answer your questions, which is not very difficult for them.

Open or free

This type of interview seeks spontaneity in the candidate. It is more complicated for the candidate and requires the interviewer to have the necessary training to guide them correctly towards their goals.

Semi-directed or semi-structured interview

This is the most common and combines the two previous ones and allows you to get the precise information you need by observing the most impulsive reactions of the candidates.


An informal interview hopes to distinguish less intangible aptitudes and skills such as creativity, innovative spirit, or other soft skills in the candidate.


Headhunters and recruiting firms often use this type of recruitment interview. It is a systematic and directed process in which skills such as adaptability, conflict resolution, decision-making, etc., are sought.

It supports selection techniques such as critical incidents or the S.T.A.R. method -Situation, Task, Action, and Result- that improve the identification and retention of talent.

Guidelines to follow when conducting a personnel selection interview


This interview seeks information on performance in previous positions based on the soft skills required.

Thanks to questions such as “What has been your most significant success?” you will be able to know indicators of success, specific tasks performed, time of action, and other information of interest.


These interviews focus on detecting the candidate’s differential points and are an alternative to the competency-based interview.

It benefits candidates who lack sufficient experience and allows you to detect their potential.

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Stress interview

This is an uncommon interview. It is usually used for jobs that require a high degree of resistance to stress or adverse conditions.

They are not processes that take care of the candidate, so they are relegated in favor of the other types we have recently discussed.

Guidelines to follow when conducting a personnel selection interview

As we have been saying, defining the objectives is of utmost importance for the interview to fulfill its function.

Defining the job position exhaustively, studying the candidate, selecting the type of interview, and analyzing parameterizable elements throughout the interview are decisive aspects.

It is time to talk about the 3 phases of a recruitment interview:

  1. Initial or introductory.
  2. Central or development.
  3. Closing and farewell.

This information will help you optimally articulate your interviews, considering everything discussed so far.

Recruitment interview

Initial or introductory

The initial phase should be focused on reducing the candidate’s anxiety by seeking empathy. It can begin with a talk on a topic not related to the interview.

Subsequently, it is important to show a summary of how the test will be developed. You can remember the details of the position offered and information about the values and mission of the company before starting with the questions.

Central or development phase

The central phase has the candidate as the protagonist, who must answer the questions or scenarios that you propose.

Depending on the type of interview you are conducting, you can start with questions linked to the CV, which reduce the interviewee’s anxiety because he/she usually has them prepared.

Gradually you can increase their intensity with questions that reveal their motivations, expectations, knowledge of the company or their interests and hobbies.

Closing and farewell

In the final phase, the candidate can ask questions or raise doubts about the process or the vacancy.

The closing is important because it projects a certain image of your company and should be done in a way that avoids being abrupt.

After the interview, take time to point out the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and to record your impressions, even if you have recorded the interview and plan to work with specific reports afterwards.

Regardless of the context of the interview – face-to-face, telephone or virtual – providing safe environments in which you can establish objectively analyzable parameters will improve your company’s appeal to talent.

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