Types of Interview – Classification and characteristics of each one

We explain what types of interviews exist according to different criteria and what are the characteristics of each type.

types of interviews
In the interview, one person asks the questions and another answers them.

What types of interviews are there?

The word interview can have many meanings, depending on the specific area to which we refer, but always alluding to a dialogue or an established conversation between two interlocutors: one who asks the questions (the interviewer) and another who answers them (the interviewed). It is a term that comes from the French interview, whose meaning was “to see each other” or “to see each other” (s’entrevoir).

Interviews are common in many different areas, especially in those in which some kind of evaluation of the other is required (such as in job interviews) or you want to know their thinking in greater depth (such as in journalistic interviews). Therefore, there is a truly infinity of possible types of interview, as each area has been refining it for its own specific purposes and purposes.

From the outset, we could establish a classification of the interviews that would distinguish between one and the other according to specific criteria, such as:

  • According to your area of ​​interest, that is, depending on what area of ​​human endeavor we refer to. We will have like this: journalistic interviews, job interviews, clinical interviews, research interviews and psychological interviews.
  • According to its way of structuring, that is, depending on the way in which the interaction between the interviewee and the interviewer is planned, we will have: open interviews, closed interviews or mixed interviews.
  • According to the means used to communicate, that is, depending on the way in which the interviewee and the interviewer communicate, we will have: face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, virtual interviews or written interviews.
  • According to the number of participants, in cases where there may be more than one interviewee or interviewers. We will have like this: individual interviews, group interviews or interview panels.

Next we will see each classification separately.

Interviews according to your area of ​​interest

Depending on the application area of ​​the interview, we can distinguish between:

  • Journalistic interviews. They are those that are carried out in order to publicize the work of an individual, especially when they are of interest to the public of the communication medium in which the interview is carried out. Thus, it is common for politicians, artists, athletes and / or entrepreneurs to be interviewed, always according to the journalistic profile of the interviewer and the context of the interview. These interviews can also be written, sound or audiovisual.
  • Job interviews. They are those that are carried out with the purpose of finding the ideal candidate for a job, from a base of applicants or interested parties. In them, applicants are usually surveyed from different perspectives: personal, professional, psychological, etc., so that the company can choose who best suits the profile of the position, or its corporate interests.
  • Clinical interviews. They are those that occur between a doctor and his patient, that is, in a health or health field, since their purpose is to find the necessary symptoms to deduce the disease that afflicts the patient, or in any case to obtain additional information that It may be helpful to the physician in making a responsible diagnosis.
  • Psychological interviews. They are those that in different areas occur between a psychologist or psychoanalyst and the interviewee, in order to better understand the psychic and emotional functioning of the latter. This can be done as part of a clinical triage, or as part of a job interview, or even to assist in other investigations.
  • Research interviews. They are those that respond to the need to accumulate information about the social reality of a community, either for scientific-social or even police purposes. These interviews can be of different types and are usually focused on obtaining information (objective or subjective) regarding a specific topic or episode, rather than knowing in depth who the interviewee is.

Interviews according to their structure

Depending on the structure of the interview, we can distinguish between:

  • Open interviews. They are those in which there is no script to adhere to in the conversation, but rather it is carried out in an improvised way as the interaction between interviewer and interviewee takes place. They pose more relaxed dialogues, seeking more spontaneous and fluid responses.
  • Closed or structured interviews. They are those that adhere to a script or a questionnaire, and that pursue a very specific type of answers. They seek a much more efficient, fast and punctual study of the sample, allowing discard or classification as quickly as possible. In them the interviewee responds in a concrete way or chooses from among several options the one that best suits his criteria.
  • Mixed interviews. They are those that combine the two previous interview models, allowing open conversation spaces and also moments of structured responses.

Interviews according to the media

Depending on the means of communication through which the interview is given, we can distinguish between:

  • Face-to-face interviews. They are those in which both the interviewee and the interviewer are present, face to face, even if this is something that the public perceives through a remote medium. For example, a face-to-face interview can be broadcast on television, or its transcript published in a magazine.
  • Phone interviews. They are those that are carried out by telephone, as was the custom in the past by opinion pollsters, calling random numbers. It is also usual that they are done this way in radio programs, in which the interviewee and the interviewer converse in a telephone call.
  • Written interviews. They are those in which the interviewer sends the interviewee their questions in writing, either by email or by some other mechanism, and the latter answers them in the same way, as if it were an exchange of letters (that is, letters) .
  • Virtual interviews. They are those that take advantage of the new information technology of telecommunications, to make interviews through video calls or other audiovisual resources that allow the so-called ICTs.

Interviews according to the number of participants

Finally, depending on the number of interviewees and / or interviewers in the interview, we can distinguish between:

  • Individual interviews. They are those in which there is a single interviewer to converse with a single interviewee, regardless of the means through which they do so.
  • Group interviews. They are those in which a single interviewer talks with several interviewees, and they may even eventually dialogue with each other. They are also known as “group dynamics” and in them the interviewer usually evaluates not only individual performance, but also the capacity for teamwork and other aspects of social interaction; although competitiveness among applicants can also be encouraged.
  • Interview panels. They are those in which a single interviewee corresponds to several interviewers at the same time, who poll him according to different criteria. It is a style that can be intimidating for the interviewee, when feeling alone in front of the group that judges him, but they are also effective to inquire from multiple simultaneous points of view to each interviewee.