The process of interview aims at obtaining information regarding the respondents with the minimum bias, and maximum efficiency. Interview is mostly described as a face to face situation between the interviewer and the respondents, which intends to elicit some desired information about the latter. Hence an interview is a social process, involving a successful interaction between at least two persons, the interviewer and the respondent.
However, for an interview to be successful the interaction between interviewer and the respondent must be taken care of. The respondent’s answer to the questions done by the interviewer, and his other behaviour should be such that they serve as significant clues to the interviewer, and are likely to affect the behaviour of the latter. In a similar manner during the entire course of the interview the respondent tries to figure out the interviewer, and his inference about the interviewer is quite likely to influence his answers. Apart from these the success of the interview is also dependent upon three important conditions such as cognition, accessibility and motivation.
There are mainly two types of interview, the formal interview and, the informal interview. In case of the formal interview the interviewer asks questions which are pre planned. An already prepared set of questions are asked by the interviewers following a proper set of orders, and the subsequent answers are recorded in a standardized form. Formal interview is gaining much popularity nowadays. Here the investigator aims at having interviews conducted in an uniform way. Formal interview is also called as a patterned or structured interview. Hence a formal interview is mostly a systematic set of steps or a procedure for collecting information regarding the applicants. Hence it is of common notion that the reported validities for the structured interviews are usually higher, than those obtained from the informal interviews.
However, there can we both verbal questions as well as written test for interview and both are equally effective, needless to say. The interview situation in case of the patterned interview is highly structured, which means that the sequence of the questions and the scoring methods are all pre-determined. This is a definite advantage since such interviews can be conducted smoothly by relatively less trained interviewers also. It is entirely dependent upon the organizations and the industries hiring the industrial and occupational psychologists, which kind of interviews they will incorporate in their selection and recruitment tests. However such a kind of interview is not free from limitations. Two important limitations that can be highlighted are:
1. A formal interview can be conducted only in a situation where informal interview cannot be conducted.
2. The validity of any formal interview is generally less than those obtained by some common methods of bio data analysis and standardized psychological tests.
The formal and informal interviews are also called by various other names such as, the standardized and qualitative interview, the mass and formative interview, the extensive and intensive interview, the flexible and inflexible interview, the controlled and uncontrolled interview and many others. These names are often used by various research investigators to refer to the same.