Advantages and disadvantages of interviews
This comprehensive article aims to assess the advantages and disadvantages of interviews in research and recruitment. There is no doubt that interview is often used by both researchers and recruiters for data collection and assessing suitable job applicants. It is indeed a very effective tool for applicant selection and data collection.
Definition of Interviews
According to Soanes (2002) an interview is a spoken examination of an applicant for a job or college place. According to Kahn and Cannell 1957, cited in Saunders et al. (2007) an interview is a purposeful discussion between two or more people. It involves two or more people exchanging information in the form of questions and answers.
The purpose of an interview for employers is to evaluate the skills, and experience of job applicants. It is also a chance for the applicants to learn more about the job and the organisation. In research, the purpose of an interview is to collect primary data from research respondents.
Types of interviews
Both researchers and HR professionals use different types of interviews e.g. fully structured interviews, unstructured interviews, and semi-structured interviews.
In a structured interview, the interviewer presents each respondent with the same questions in the same order. On the other hand, semi structured interviews consist of both close-ended and open-ended questions.
Unstructured interviews are called in-depth interview. In this type of interview, the researchers may have a checklist of topics to cover in questioning, but they are free to word such questions as the wish.
Advantages and disadvantages of interviews in research
The use of interviews can help researchers collect valid and reliable data that are relevant to their research aims and objectives. However, interviews are not without some limitations.
Advantages of interviews in research
Interview is one of the most widely used methods of collecting primary data in qualitative research. By using it, researchers can collect qualitative and in-depth data. As many people say, the easiest way to get information from someone is simply to ask them!
Interview helps researchers understand the body language and facial expressions of the research respondents. It can also be very useful to understand their personal opinions, beliefs, and values.
Researchers can establish good rapport with research participants. This can make the latter feel comfortable and engaged in the process which should eventually generate very good responses.
Disadvantages of interviews in research
Interviews are time consuming. Each interview may consume a considerable amount of time. In addition, researchers need to collect responses, code and organise them, and finally analyse them for the final reporting purpose.
Interviews can produce biased responses. Interviewers and their view of the world may affect the responses of the interviewees. This can impact on the outcome positively or negatively.
Interviews can be expensive as well. For instance, to get the best responses from the participants, the researchers need to be skilful in conducting interviews. However, this may not be the case with many new researchers. Therefore, they may need to have some kind of training on how to conduct interviews. And training often costs a lot of money!
Advantages and disadvantages of interviews in recruitment
Hiring the right people for a business is a challenging task. Therefore, HR professionals often use a variety of techniques to attract and select the most suitable candidates. Interview is indeed one of those techniques.
HR professionals use different types of interviews. However, this article explores some of the advantages and disadvantages of interviews in general.
Advantages of interviews in recruitment
There are a number of advantages of interviews from the perspectives of both an applicant and a hiring organisation. For example:
Interviews allow job applicants to demonstrate practical evidence of their attributes. They can speak freely and describe their special skills that make them a good fit for the advertised position. They can also ask the interviewers questions about the job and the organisation. And finally, they can decide if they should take up the job.
On the other hand, interviews help employers assess an applicant’s abilities to do a job. Employers can provide applicants with more details pertaining to the job and the associated responsibilities. It is also an opportunity for them to give a positive impression of the company to the applicants (CIPD, 2023).
Disadvantages of interviews in recruitment
There are a number of disadvantages of interviews from the perspectives of both an applicant and an organisation. For example:
Interviews are sometimes difficult for some people. They may feel very uncomfortable and anxious which may lead to a poor performance in the interview. They may also be disappointed when they face irrelevant questions from the interviewers.
On the other hand, organisations face certain challenges too. For example, an interview alone may not be effective enough to select the best candidates. Likewise, organisations also need to spend a lot of time for the preparations of the interview. Interviews are generally expensive and there is a possibility that the interviewers may be biased in their assessment of the applicants.
Summary of the advantages and disadvantages of interviews
Interviews can be daunting for job applicants, researchers, and research participants. However, with the right preparation and practice, they can easily get the best out of it.
We hope the article on the ‘Advantages and disadvantages of interviews’ has been helpful which has addressed interviews in two contexts i.e. ‘advantages and disadvantages of interviews in research’ and ‘advantages and disadvantages of interviews in recruitment’.
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Last update: 13 January 2023
CIPD (2023) Recruitment: an overview, Available from http://www.cipd.co.uk/hrresources/factsheets (Accessed 13 January 2023)
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2007) Research Methods for Business Students, 4th edition, UK: Pearson Education Limited
Soanes, K. (2002) Pocket Oxford English Dictionary, 9th edition, New York: OUP
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.