Best interview formats to engage with graduates

Best Interview formats to engage with Graduates

Hiring GenZ and other graduates takes skill and effort. Attracting top graduate talent begins with a good job specification, but knowing the best interview methods and formats to get the most out of graduate candidates is helpful. Although today the preferred interview method is video interviewing, it is only sometimes the best for some graduate hires. There are instances where face-to-face or telephone interviews or a combination of the three is best. Therefore, it is better to have a strategic approach to your interview method and interview format.

Read: Insights and tips to leading Gen Z employees

An interview aims to gauge the candidate's skills, aptitude, and cultural fit within the organisation. In this article, we look at various interview formats you can use to understand the candidate and the pros and cons of each. We then discuss the different methods one can use within these formats.


Interview Formats for Graduate Hires

Face-to-Face Interviews

The traditional face-to-face interview allows you to interact directly with the graduate hire, assess their body language, and establish a personal connection. Face-to-face interviews provide an opportunity to evaluate a candidate's confidence, communication skills, and professionalism. However, for many first-time interviewees, face-to-face interviews come with additional stress, like transport, where they will park and what they will wear. These stressors can add to the candidate's overall nerves, and they might not present as confidently as they would in a video or telephone interview.


Video Interviews

Video interviews offer flexibility, allowing you to engage with graduates regardless of geographical constraints. They are cost-effective and enable efficient screening of candidates. As with face-to-face interviews, you can assess a graduate's communication skills, body language, and professionalism through video interviews.

Remember that graduates often need computers with a stable internet connection for an interview, yet they usually interview with their smartphones. Therefore, patience and understanding may be required.


Telephone Interviews

Telephone interviews are typically used as an initial screening method to assess a graduate's suitability for further consideration. They allow employers to evaluate candidates' communication skills, clarity of thought, and enthusiasm for the role. While telephone interviews may lack visual cues, they provide a quick and efficient way to assess candidates on specific criteria before moving forward with face-to-face or video interviews.


Interview Methods to assess graduate applicants

Different interview methods are helpful when hiring for a graduate programme, internship or a single graduate job.


Structured Interviews for graduates

These interviews follow a set structure and typically contain a predetermined list of questions. The interviewer asks each candidate the same set of questions to assess their qualifications, skills, and fit for the role and organisation. Structured interviewing is an excellent technique when interviewing many graduates, especially when you want to hire multiple graduates.

Answering the same questions in a structured manner allows you to compare candidates' answers and suitability for the job.

Preferred format: Video interviews can be recorded, and when interviewing many graduates, the recordings will be a helpful reference. Structured interviews also work well with telephone interviews, mainly for screening interviews.


Panel Interviews

Panel interviews involve a group of interviewers from different departments or levels within the organisation. This approach provides a holistic assessment of a graduate's abilities, as each panel member can contribute their expertise and perspectives to the interview questions. Panel interviews also allow you to evaluate how candidates handle multiple interviewers, adapt to various communication styles, and respond to diverse questioning techniques.

A plus of panel interviews is that they foster a collaborative decision-making process, reduce bias, and comprehensively evaluate a candidate's fit within the organisation.

Preferred format: Video interview and face-to-face. Although, with face-to-face panel interviewing, having multiple people physically present is more daunting than having a couple of people on a screen. Video interviewing will, in this case, help calm the graduate's nerves and give the interviewer a better representation of the candidate.


Situational Interviews

As graduates may have little work experience, it is better to ask situational questions about hypothetical situations than behavioural-based ones.

Ask questions relevant to the job requirements and ask graduates how they would approach or solve them. This technique assesses their critical thinking, decision-making, communication and ability to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios.

Preferred format: Face-to-face interviews are the best for reading body language; it is the preferred format for situational interview questioning.


Assessment Interviews

Depending on the nature of the job or graduate programme, you may need to evaluate a graduate's technical knowledge. Assessment interviews go beyond traditional question-and-answer formats. These interviews employ a range of exercises, such as role plays, case studies, presentations, or technical assessments. By observing graduates' problem-solving skills, creativity, and ability to work under pressure, as an employer, you gain insights into their practical skills and potential for success in the role. As a result, assessment interviews provide a more comprehensive evaluation of a candidate's capabilities and can help employers identify exceptional talent.

Preferred format: Video interviews are preferred as they provide a platform to share a screen and review the candidate's work with other colleagues present.


In Closing If hiring graduates, you must utilise various interviewing formats to attract, evaluate, and select the best talent. The face-to-face, video and telephone interview formats offer distinct advantages and insights into a candidate's capabilities, cultural fit, and potential for success.

You can optimise your hiring process by embracing different interviewing methods to make informed decisions and build strong, high-performing teams.

At RecruitAGraduate, we take the effort out of hiring graduates by providing you with the best graduates our professional graduate recruitment team has already interviewed. In addition, we can offer skills and language assessments as well as background checks. Our specialist graduate recruitment team prides itself in putting graduates into jobs that kick-start their careers.

Find out more.

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