Introduction When we go to attend interviews we often see that we have to go through multiple rounds of interviews like the telephonic interview, technical interview, managerial interview, HR interviews etc. The number of interview rounds varies from company to company and it depends on company's own recruitment process. While few companies may only have 2-3 rounds of interview, some other selected companies may have even 7-8 rounds. Sometimes the number of interview rounds also depend on the position for which candidate is being hired. (engineer, lead, manager etc). Depending on the number of interview rounds complete interview process can take anywhere from 2-3 hours to entire day and sometimes also extends to other days. But each of these interview rounds has their own significance in the hiring process.
Reasons for having multiple interview roundsFor a company hiring a right candidate is a challenge and an investment which has its risk. If a wrong candidate gets hired then it is a loss and reworks for the company. The company always wants to hire the best possible candidate who will be the best for the job and hence their interview rounds are designed to achieve this objective. It is very difficult for the company to get a true picture of the candidate just in one hour of discussion during a single round of interview. Hence companies schedule more than one rounds of the interview so that they get to know every aspect of candidate's personality and skills. Different interview rounds are taken by people specializing in different skills and are targeted to assess the candidate on different grounds. This gives the company a confidence that candidate hired is truly a good match to their requirement. Even with detailed interview procedure, it is a fact that 100% complete picture of the candidate's skill and profile is still difficult to get. This will only be clear after the candidate has joined the organization and has at least worked there for 3 months.
Types of interview rounds
- Technical Interview : A Technical interview is meant to judge the candidate's technical skills related to work he has already done in his or her previous company, tools he has used and technology he has worked on. By taking this interview the hiring manager wants to be clear that candidate is competent and has the technical expertise to do the job which the role demands. Depending on the position there may be more than one technical rounds taken by a different set of persons. If a candidate is appearing for an individual contributor role then chances are that there will be more than one technical interview rounds. Also, the questions asked may be quite in-depth and candidate needs to be prepared for it. On the other hand, if a candidate is appearing for a managerial role then there may be only one technical interview round and technical questions asked may not be to that depth. So whether it will be an in-depth technical interview or superficial will depend on the position for which interview is for. It is natural that an individual contributor will require more technical and hands-on skills and the interview is targeted towards that. On the other hand for managers, managing capability will be required more compared to technical in-depth skills hence interview will be tailored to that
- Managerial Interview: Managerial interview may not be applicable for all the candidates. It is mostly there for candidates appearing in interviews for Lead, Managers and above positions. This interview tests managerial capabilities of the candidate. Questions relating to how a candidate would manage people, as well as projects challenges, are asked during this phase of the interview. In this interview, the hiring manager wants to know how you handle your people and projects in your day to day work and what is your style of working and making decisions. Hence such interviews do not have any technical questions related to tools and technology. All the questions are generic kind and generally, have no perfectly right or wrong answer. Hence candidate should handle these questions well and answer according to prevailing professional trends and the way of working. Again managerial interviews can also have more than one rounds depending on the requirements. So sometimes there may be multiple managerial interview rounds with different senior persons like Senior Manager, Director, Head etc.
- HR interview : HR interview is generally the final round of an interview process where there are salary and other discussions from the HR point of view. This round generally takes place when a candidate has cleared all the previous rounds of interviews like the technical interview and managerial interview. If a candidate does not clear previous rounds then in most cases HR interview is not held for such candidates. The primary aim of HR interview is to settle with the candidate the salary part after handling all due negotiations and make sure that salary expectation of the candidate is in line with the company standards. But it is not only the things as HR check several other aspects of candidates personality during HR interview. For example, an HR may check is the candidate fit for the company culture, is he a team player, is the money minded, does he intend to stay for long in their company etc. HR persons will carefully observe the body language of the candidate during this interview to see his confidence level and genuineness in answering the questions.
HR interview should be approached with caution by the candidate and should not be taken lightly. On clearing all the other interview rounds some candidates think that they have already got the job and tend to take HR interview lightly. Though it is true that once other rounds of interviews are cleared HR round is sometimes just a formality but this is not the case always. Sometimes it does happen that candidate gets rejected during HR round due to various factors. Though salary expectations is a chief cause for rejection during HR interview, a candidate can be rejected on other grounds also during an HR interview.
- Case Study : This a new and less popular interview round but many good company tend to use it. In this direct technical or managerial questions are not asked to the candidate. Instead, a real-time situation or dummy project scenario is given and the candidate is asked to design a plan or presentation as to how he would approach it. This then needs to be explained to the interview panel. This kind of interview is helpful in judging the natural approach and presence of mind of the candidate and it also gives interview panel an idea as to how the candidate will approach the things practically in a real situation.
- Telephonic interview : This category is not a separate type of interview but it is any kind of interview taken on phone. The telephonic interview may be both technical and managerial. Sometimes HR interview also gets conducted over the phone. Telephonic interviews are conducted when a company wants to have the initial discussion with the candidate regarding his job profile to see if its a fit or not. Some companies do not want to call candidates for a F2F interview when they are not certain whether candidates profile will match to their requirements or not. So they want to make sure on phone first. Sometimes telephonic or Skype video call interviews are conducted also because interview panel is either in a different city or different country. I think it is good practice for companies to conduct telephonic interviews first and then call the candidates for F2F interviews as it would save a lot of hassle for the candidate in traveling to their office, in case his profile is not matching the job requirement. But this depends on the company. Some companies prefer to meet the candidates F2F rather than discussing over the phone.
Conclusion : It is very important for the company to frame their interview process in such a way so that they are able to judge the candidate properly through it. For the candidates also they should be aware of different kinds of interview rounds and the kind of questions that are asked. Accordingly, the candidate should prepare themselves. Sometimes hiring process of companies can be long and have many rounds of interview, so a candidate should keep his calm and patience while attending different interview rounds.