Define interview. Discuss the characteristics and types of interviews

An interview is a method of gathering information through direct verbal communication between an interviewer and an interviewee.

It involves a structured or semi-structured conversation with the purpose of obtaining insights, opinions, experiences, or knowledge from the interviewee. Interviews are widely used in various fields, including research, journalism, human resources, and counseling, to collect data and make informed decisions.

Characteristics of Interviews:

  1. Verbal Communication: Interviews primarily rely on verbal communication. They involve direct interaction between the interviewer and interviewee, where questions are asked, and responses are provided orally.
  • Interaction and Dialogue: Interviews are characterized by a dynamic exchange of information. They allow for a back-and-forth conversation, allowing the interviewer to probe for more in-depth responses or clarification.
  • Purposeful and Structured: Interviews are purposeful and structured, with specific objectives in mind. Questions are designed to elicit relevant information and address the research or decision-making goals.
  • Contextual Flexibility: Interviews can be adapted to different contexts and situations. They can be conducted face-to-face, over the phone, or through video conferencing, depending on logistical considerations and the nature of the interview.
  • Qualitative Data: Interviews often generate qualitative data, providing rich and detailed information about an individual’s experiences, opinions, attitudes, and behaviors.

Types of Interviews:

  1. Structured Interviews: In structured interviews, the questions and their sequence are predetermined. The interviewer follows a standardized script and asks the same set of questions to each interviewee. This type of interview allows for consistency and comparability of responses.
  • Semi-Structured Interviews: Semi-structured interviews combine pre-determined questions with the flexibility to explore additional topics or probe for more in-depth responses. The interviewer follows a general interview guide but has the freedom to deviate from the script based on the interviewee’s answers or emerging themes.
  • Unstructured Interviews: Unstructured interviews have no fixed format or predetermined questions. The interviewer engages in a free-flowing conversation with the interviewee, allowing for open-ended exploration of the topic. The questions are tailored based on the interviewee’s responses and can vary between different interviews.
  • Behavioral Interviews: Behavioral interviews focus on past behavior and experiences to predict future performance. Interviewees are asked to provide specific examples from their past experiences that demonstrate their skills, competencies, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Group Interviews: Group interviews involve multiple interviewees being assessed simultaneously. This format allows for interaction between candidates and can be particularly useful in assessing teamwork skills or observing group dynamics.
  • Panel Interviews: Panel interviews involve multiple interviewers who collectively assess the interviewee. This format is common in job interviews, where representatives from different departments or levels of an organization participate in the evaluation process.
  • Informational Interviews: Informational interviews are conducted for the purpose of gathering information or advice from experts or professionals in a specific field. The interviewee seeks insights, guidance, or industry knowledge from the interviewee.

Each type of interview has its advantages and is chosen based on the research or decision-making goals, the nature of the information sought, and the resources available. The selection of the appropriate interview type depends on the desired level of structure, the flexibility needed, and the specific context in which the interview is conducted.

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