Focuses on employment and work patterns. Assumes job track record is the best predictor of future performance. Characterized by questions that address the details of past job actions and accomplishments, and pin down responsibility for achievement.

Personality Profile

Concentrates on understanding the personal style and motivations of a candidate. Assumes basic personality type is the best predictor of future performance. Characterized by questions about attitude, personal reaction and speculation.


Tests a candidate’s reaction within the interview itself. Often places someone in a real or hypothetical work situation and asks for a commentary, contribution or decision. (Salespeople have been told, “Sell me this pen”. PR people have been asked to come up with an initial positioning statement.) Assumes what you see is what you get.

Match interview approaches with the job requirements, your culture and your candidate

Stress *

Tests a candidate’s response under pressure. Assumes the most important element of a person’s candidacy is being able to keep cool when embattled. Characterized by persistent devil’s advocate or trapping questions (see Types of Questions), criticism of a candidate’s answers, and/or intensity of tone. More extreme versions can include maneuvers such as arriving late intentionally, interrupting, leaving early, condescending, etc.


Picks and chooses from all of the above. Assumes different people and situations require different approaches. Could even include a modified Stress approach, but would not likely ignore establishing a rapport.


* Stress interviews have generally fallen out of favor. One big problem with them is they risk offending a quality candidate in their neglect of rapport and selling the opportunity. Devil’s Advocate and Trapping questions can be asked cordially.

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