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Interviewing Basics

Most employers use a combination of these job-interviewing techniques when evaluating candidates.

Behavioral interviews focus on actions that candidates have taken in previous jobs. The interviewer assesses how people approached and resolved various work problems.
Advantage: Evaluates how personal attributes and job skills were applied to key tasks. The principle behind these assessments is that past performance can predict future behavior.
Disadvantages: Can require persistent follow-up questions to determine just how the person was able to achieve a goal. It might be impossible to determine how much of a project’s success can be credited to the job seeker as opposed to his or her team.

Situational questions get at how candidates might react to a scenario or problem they could face in the new job. They might be asked to respond to a hypothetical event or an actual business issue.
Advantages: Explores the person’s ability to work through and solve problems and to think quickly on his or her feet. Situational questions test attributes and skills that would apply to the position that the organization is trying to fill.
Disadvantage: May not shine much light on the individual’s work history or problems the person had in previous jobs.

In group or panel interviews, several people from the hiring organization meet simultaneously with each job candidate. Panel members take turns asking questions, though some in the group might be present only to observe.
Advantages: Allows multiple people with different positions and perspectives to ask a variety of job-related questions. The more people involved in the panel, the more opportunities to identify strengths or weaknesses in each applicant. These sessions can include behavioral and situational questions and can reveal a person’s social skills.
Disadvantages: Results can be skewed if panelists fail to ask the same questions of each interviewee. In addition, untrained or undisciplined participants might be influenced by the person they like best as opposed to who is the most qualified.

Each applicant is given a hypothetical or existing business situation or problem to analyze. The person must draw on his or her knowledge and creative abilities to come up with a solution and explain how he or she arrived at it. These exercises can be completed between interviews or during them. Some employers require candidates to make a presentation to hiring managers based on their work.
Advantages: Provides an in-depth look at how the interviewee thinks and works through problems. The amount of effort an individual puts into the case study can indicate how much he or she wants the job.
Disadvantages: Requires a lot of work to analyze these studies. They are particularly burdensome when there are many worthy applicants.


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