The Pros & Cons of Different Types of Interview Formats

Interviewing is one of the toughest parts of the hiring process for both managers and job seekers. Not only can there be multiple rounds, but there are also different types of interviews.

However, each type of interview can aid in expediting the interview process and make it a better experience for everyone involved.

Let’s compare six types of interviews with the advantages and disadvantages of each. We’ll also talk about how to combine the different interview formats effectively.

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1. Phone Interview (Screening Interview)

Phone interviews are useful when you’re screening a large number of candidates and deciding who to accept for the next stage. Typically, a telephone interview is a one-on-one voice call between the hiring manager and an individual candidate, lasting 15 to 30 minutes max.

If you’re doing this hiring internally, human resources or internal recruiters may be the one to conduct this one. Staffing agencies also handle this process—and conduct other types of interviews—to help provide a shortlist of candidates to managers.


  • Phone interviews are short and easy to schedule. Even if you allow a full 30 minutes for each interview and take a break, you can fit five or more interviews into a morning.
  • You’ll find it easier to arrange suitable times for interviews with candidates. They can take a phone interview from home, in their car, or at work. They don’t need to book time off or travel to your premises. You can also conduct the interviews from wherever you like.
  • Screening interviews make it easy to narrow down your candidate pool before you move on to the next stage.


  • Some candidates may not perform at their best on the phone, which can make it difficult to judge the quality of a candidate from a short phone conversation.
  • You can’t see body language or expressions during a phone call, so it may be tricky to get a good sense of the candidate’s interest in the role.

2. Video Call Interview

Similar to a phone interview, you can use a video call to screen job seekers or to conduct a full interview with out-of-state candidates. Video interviews are usually a little more in-depth than phone interviews, and they likely last 30 to 60 minutes.


  • Like with phone calls, it’s easy to schedule video interviews with candidates who may not be able to take time off from their current job.
  • A video call gives you the chance to see candidates’ expressions and body language.
  • If you’re interviewing for a remote position or you’re recruiting from a wide geographical area, you don’t have to worry about the expense and logistical issues of flying candidates to your offices.


  • Video calls are more likely to have technical problems than phone calls, especially if you or the candidate have a slow internet connection.
  • Video calls are more personal than phone calls, but it’s still challenging to assess expressions and body language (particularly eye contact) in video interviews vs in-person interviews.

3. Prerecorded One-Way Interview

A prerecorded one-way interview is a form of screening interview, sometimes called an asynchronous interview or automated interview. It usually takes place during the application stage, with candidates requested to answer interview questions on video.

You’ll need to think carefully about the types of questions you want to ask.


  • As with an initial phone screen, pre-recorded interviews help you assess candidates before deciding to invite them for a full interview.
  • You can watch the prerecorded interviews at any time that suits you, making it easier to fit recruitment tasks into your schedule.
  • No scheduling necessary. The candidate can record it whenever it suits them.


  • Some candidates may not apply if they need to take time to complete a video interview. In that case, you may miss out on some talented applicants.
  • You can’t ask follow-up questions during this type of interview.
  • These kinds of interviews are usually widely panned by candidates.
  • You might not get a candidate’s best answer under a time crunch, with minimal opportunities to re-record, while they’re speaking to a camera with no one behind it.

Related: Learn About Different Types of Interview Questions

4. In-Person One-on-One Interview

The in-person one-on-one interview is a classic format where you bring someone into your workplace and interview them face-to-face. It usually lasts 45 to 60 minutes, though this can vary. This type of interview is ideal if you’ll be the line manager for the successful candidate.


  • Compared with a panel interview (we’ll get to those in a moment), a one-on-one interview is a lot easier to schedule. You only need to consider your calendar and the candidate’s calendar.
  • The one-on-one interview process can feel a lot more relaxed than a panel interview, and the candidates will often feel more at ease, too. That means you can build rapport more easily.
  • One-on-one interviews only require one employee’s time, making them more cost-effective—particularly in small companies.
  • These give you a feel for the candidate’s personality when in-person, and they also give the candidate a feel for the commute and workplace.


  • You will need a highly trained and experienced interviewer to get the most from the candidate. One-on-one interviews aren’t always a good fit for newer interviewers.
  • It can be tricky for candidates to get a clear sense of company culture in a one-on-one interview, as they’ll only meet with a single person from the company.

Related: Benefits of In-Person Interviews

5. Group Interview

A group interview involves bringing together several candidates at once, with one person (or several) interviewing them. It’s one of the most common types of job interviews if you’re looking to hire for multiple identical or similar open positions, especially within a tight timeframe. Industries like hospitality, food service, and retail often use group interviews.


  • A group interview can provide useful insights into how candidates work together as a team and how they interact with their peers.
  • If you’re hiring for a customer-facing role, you have the opportunity to observe candidates’ people skills during a group interview.
  • Group interviews can speed up the hiring process considerably, letting you assess multiple candidates at once. From the candidate’s perspective, group interviews make the job search faster.


  • Group interviews disproportionately give an advantage to extroverted and charismatic candidates. If you’re hiring for a role that may suit less confident or more introverted candidates, you may want to reconsider the group interview approach.
  • A group interview can be so stressful that candidates lose sleep over it, especially if they feel they’re competing directly with one another for a small number of positions.

6. Panel Interview

In the traditional panel interview format, two or more interviewers meet with a candidate at the same time. Often, interviewers from different departments will participate—such as a hiring manager, a member of the team, and/or someone from an adjacent team. One interviewer may take the lead, with others occasionally contributing a question.


  • Panel interviews let several members of the company form impressions of a candidate, increasing the chance of making a good hire. The interviewers can discuss candidate performance after running a round of interviews, then make a decision on how to move forward and with whom.
  • Less-experienced interviewers can pair with more experienced ones during panel interviews, helping newer managers gain essential interviewing skills and learn different interview methods.
  • A panel interview gives the interviewee a chance to meet multiple people from the company, which helps them get a better impression of the company culture and potentially future co-workers.


  • It can be difficult to coordinate schedules for face-to-face interviews. This means that you may only be able to interview a small number of top candidates, so you may miss out on others who would have stood out during an interview.
  • Panel interviews can feel formal and intimidating for candidates. It can be tricky to build a sense of rapport and get a good sense of what the candidate would be like in the workplace.

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Why You Should Use Different Types of Interviews

Some types of interviews will be more suited to certain roles than others. If you’re recruiting for five entry-level positions and one management job, it may make sense to use video calls or group interviews for the entry-level roles and individual interviews for the management role.

In many cases, you’ll want to conduct more than a single round of interviews. To save time, it makes sense to use different types of interviews at different stages of the hiring process.

For instance, your process may look like this:

  • Initial long list of job applicants for phone screening
  • Video calls with candidates who performed well during the phone screening
  • In-person panel interviews with three or four candidates

This also lets you decide on what type of interviews to use, depending on your team’s skill sets. For instance, you may have a member of HR who is great at putting candidates at their ease for a straightforward phone screening, and a group of managers who ask insightful and technical questions during panel interviews.

Let Us Help With Interviewing

Interviewing can take up a huge amount of your company’s time and money, and you want to invest that time as effectively as possible.

If you’d like support with scheduling and conducting interviews, you can get in touch with us today. We work with companies to help you find the perfect candidate for your needs. And remember, download our Complete Guide to Interviewing Candidates below to help you in your next interview!

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