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Interviews Based On Number Of Participants

Number of persons participating in the interview can also be a significant parameter while classifying interview types. Conventionally, there is one candidate/one interviewer type, which can be termed as individual interviews. However, there can be more than one person on either side as well. These are some specific types of interviews. It can be further classified as—solo candidate/interview panel, and group interviewer/interview panel.

Individual Interview

On the basis of number of participants in the interview, individual interviews can be classified as:
Individual candidate — single interviewer:
Generally the first-round interviews are the ones that are held usually between one candidate and one company representative (usually, but not always, someone from HR), whereas, multiple candidates and multiple company representatives participate in the subsequent stages. However, there are instances of individual interviews as the last and decisive interaction with the owner or CEO of the company who may want to individually interact with and know about the candidate before finally inducting him into the company.
Individual candidate — interview panel
In this, the interview process becomes a little complex with a variety of parameters ­coming into play. Some of these are best described below:
a. Leader–Panel Approach:
Here, the interview panel consists of two or more persons, with one of them playing the lead role as ­decision maker (Fig). The lead interviewer in the panel is not difficult to spot, as he/she is the one who will be shooting at you most of the questions. Once you are able to spot the leader in the panel, you may keep your focus on and ensure definite eye-contact with him/her when you are answering the questions. For the questions, asked by other interviewers in such a panel, ensure that you start your response by focusing on the person who has asked you that question, but also ensure that you are providing due attention to the leader of the panel as well, as if, asking for his/her approvals to your responses.


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Leader–Panel Approach
b. Driller–Panel Approach:
In this type of panel (Fig), there will be one person who will ask one general question, and the idea of other people in the interview panel will be to grill you with more questions on the same topic. The panellists working in such an approach ensure that they are creating questions out of the responses doled out by you. This is a strategic ploy by the panel to see how confident you are, how long you can take the pressure and how long you take to break. The strategy for you to follow is to make everyone participative and keep your cool when being grilled for your decisions taken in certain situations. Do not be afraid as they are deploying this tactic to unsettle you and not preparing grounds for your rejection.


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Driller–Panel Approach
c. Positional-play Approach of the Panel:
This again is a strategy adopted by some panels where they try to confuse the candidate by taking opposite positions on a certain issue, then want to see with whom you agree (Fig). They might ask you questions, and try to outwit you with arguments in support of their positions. The panel takes up this strategy to check if you can decide logically and can stay with your decisions. For example, they may ask you if it is good to have a single party government in India or to have a coalition government. Avoid taking bait from argument in support of or against any of the two poles, instead, think logically and put forth your opinion. It is also best to find a balanced way, if you can in that situation, and make comfortable both the interviewers in the panel.

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Positional-play Approach of the Panel Approach
d. Independent Approach of the Panel:
Generally, the panel consists of persons from various departments of the company. For instance, there would be one from HR department, one from functional area and one could be the immediate supervisor or colleague. The panel, if it does not follow any of the approaches discussed above, may be following the independent approach where each ­interviewer may be asking you questions based on their interest and use (Fig). For example, the HR manager may be asking you questions to test your general behaviour, whereas the functional manager may be looking to check your capabilities on future goals of the company as well as of the department. Again the immediate supervisor may be interested to know on how good you will be for the team and also pose some very specific technical questions.


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Independent Approach of the Panel Approach

Group Interview

Conventionally, there have always been individual interviews where the candidate faces a single interviewer or an interviewer panel. However, there are instances where an interview panel interviews a group of candidates simultaneously instead of individual interviews (Fig). These are separate interview processes altogether and are different from group discussions which may or may not be part of this form of interviewing.

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Group Interview
This style of interview is becoming common for functions like ­business development, consultancy and other jobs where the ­executives have to interact with the vendors and the clients. One of the most used types of group interviews is the Case Interview which is ­conducted with two or more applicants at the same time, and the panel adjudges which candidate takes up which case or what role in a particular case. Candidates need to respond to various aspects and issues of the case(s) discussed with them.
The panel is able to measure various important aspects of each candidate such as:
  • Is he/she analytical and objective?
  • Is he/she energetic and a go-getter?
  • Is he/she a problem-solver or a problem-avoider?
  • Is he/she a team worker or likes to work on his/her own?
  • What is his/her leadership style and how can he/she work in a team?
Apart from measuring an individual’s capabilities, the group interview also provides avenues to measure up two or more candidates simultaneously. The cases which are discussed with the group of interviewees could be touching multi-functional issues and could simulate how the team will perform in the day-to-day workings of the company.
In a group interview an individual must be able to do the following:
  • Show that he/she understands the generic working processes along with function-specific issues.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and look for issue-based solutions.
  • Make good rapport with the panelists and the group being ­interviewed.

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