Tips & Guides

Understanding and mastering the headhunting industry

There are different interview styles and methods to evaluate candidates. Depending on what you want to learn about your candidates, you might consider one or several of these styles and methods.

Informational Interview

An informational interview is about gathering information and can take place in the form of a telephone interview. This interview can last any way from a few minutes to one hour. What you are looking for here is to validate the information on the resume and you seek clarification.

Structured Interview

This kind of interview generally asks the same questions of all candidates. In this case you want to compare answers across the board from all candidates. Hiring managers tend to use this type of interview when there is massive hiring to do or you hire on a regular basis and for the same type of role such as sales. A structured interview happens mostly towards the beginning of the hiring process.

Behavioural Interview

If past behaviour is a predictor of future performance, then the behavioural interview is the one to use. What you are looking for are answers based on facts and specific examples. These kind of questions would begin by “give me an example of…” or “tell me a time when…”.

Panel Interview

A panel interview is used to gather all stakeholders around the table to asses a candidate. If you have cross functional teams or the employee will have to interact with different departments as part of their daily tasks, then a panel interview helps uncover the pluses and minuses of the candidate’s skills across the different departments. This kind of interview generally takes place with the final candidate or final two.

Presentation Interview

A presentation interview is one where you want to assess the candidate’s presentation skills. Generally what you are looking for is how the candidate will represent you and their ability to synthesize information. This kind of interview is popular to assess sales candidates and is used towards the end of the process.

Stress Interview

Several hiring managers use stress interviews as a manner of evaluating candidates in real life situations. In this interview, you would challenge the candidate, use silence or keep them waiting. Caution must be taken here because this style of interview could backfire. Candidates can walk away with a negative perception of the hiring manager and the organization if not done well.

Role-play Interview

The role-play interview is similar to a presentation interview and is used to assess a candidate’s performance in a particular scenario. These are most often used to assess more junior candidates and often in sales roles.


The type of interview that you use should be based on your specific needs and role to be filled. Whichever you decide to use, all candidates for the same job should be assessed in a similar manner as a basis of comparison. Do not forget to put internal candidates through the same process as well.

by Dawn Williams, President of Sirius Personnel

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