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The Face to Face Interview


When making HR investment decisions such as hiring staff, the benefits of a face to face interview include the opportunity to have first hand encounter in order to make sound and fair merit based judgments regarding the skills, knowledge and work experience required for the role.  Eye contact and body language are important indicators of an individual's motivation, conviction, determination and honesty, however be careful of the halo/horns effect that may occur during a face to face meeting. 


The Informal Interview


The setting or place of the interview is usually less formal such as away from an office environment (eg. in a coffee shop).  The benefits of an informal interview setting may contribute to the candidate feeling more relaxed which may assist them to respond to interview questions more openly.  The disadvantages of an informal setting may include factors such as noise levels and/or distractions.


The interview questions in an informal interview are less structured and have a 'flow on' effect with the conversation topic unfolding according to the interviewees responses.  The interviewer may commence with a less formal 'break the ice' question with the intention of lessening any associated stress or pressure for the candidate with the aim of drawing out more honest and open responses.  It is advisable for the interviewer in an informal interview to pre-plan questions that are relevant and specific to the job related information they are seeking from the candidate.   Effective note taking is essential as is utilising closed or open questions appropriately with the consideration of keeping the time, especially if there are more candidates to interview.    Be careful of halo/horns judgements. 


The Formal Interview


A formal interview is the most common type of interview and the setting should be in a quiet office environment or boardroom where there are no distractions.  The Interviewer can be one or more or can be a group or panel of interviewers.  Questions should be pre-planned, structured, rated and time constrained.


Some types of formal interview techniquesd include:


Behavioural - past related (Asking the candidate to provide specific examples of how they behaved or reacted when something specific occured in their past work roles)


Situational - future related (Asking the candidate to provide specific examples what they would do if a specific work related sitution arose)





To be more effective,  behavioural/situational questions should be planned and based on specific KRA (key result areas) and KPI (key  performance indicators) sourced from the job description.   The recruiter should not only plan the questions, but also the types of responses they are looking for. 

A ratings scale can be added to determine response provided.  See example below:


KRA - (Key Result Area) Team Work


This should be further defined for the specific role: such as

  • Ability to work well in a team including Stakeholder liaison

  • Communicating effectively with organisation members and external stakeholders in a manner that will add value


KPI - (Key Performance Indicator) - can be qualitative or quantitative


The is the organisational standard and recruitment team will define ideal responses in order to make sound merit judgements of candidate response) Example:

  • Developed good working relationships with team members

  • Demonstrates commitment and loyalty that will benefit team and organisation objectives

  • Assists others in times of need

  • Shows initiative by taking on extra work of filling in if someone away

  • Communicates effectively with Management and external clients


Once KRA's and KPI's are defined, the recruitment team can define some possible Interview questions. Example:

  • In what capacity did you work in a team?

  • How did you demonstrate good team work in the workplace?

  • Can you provide an example or two where you used you went out of your way to assist another team member?

  • Can you provide an example or two where you took on additional work without being asked?

  • What would your peers and clients say regarding your communication level with them?


A Rating Scale may be utilised - Evidence

  • Poor

  • Some

  • Satisfactory

  • Good

  • Excellent











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