What is Interviews ?

Interview refers to an exchange of ideas among a group of two or more than two people, where the Interviewers ask the questions to interviewees in order to extract the requisite data from them. The process of interview consists of acquiring information by putting forward various verbal stimuli and getting the responses in verbal forms. The interview can be carried-out through various methods, as per the conveniences. 

Interview is a very significant method for collecting the data. It can be a collaborative and organized communication between the researcher and the respondent, which is usually done to acquire information related to a particular field of study. Not only the oral communication, but also the body language of the respondent, his facial expressions, gestures, pauses, and the settings play a crucial role in the interview method. The basic requirement for taking the interview is either face-to-face contact or the telephonic contact with the respondents. The basic skill of interviewer in conducting an interview is also very important. The interview is generally carried-cut with the help of a structured interview schedule or even through an unstructured manual.

Characteristics of Interviews

Following are the features/characteristics of interviews in research :

1) Requires Appropriate Introduction : 
Since the interviewer and interviewee are not familiar with each other, it becomes essential for the interviewer to give his suitable introduction.

2) Includes Transitory Experience : 
The participants establish a momentary relationship with each other. It starts and ends at particular points. The interview renders a transitory experience for them.

3) Objective-Oriented : 
Interview cannot be said as a simple, informal exchange of ideas, rather it is an interaction carried-out with particular objective, i.e. to acquire the data related to a particular field of study.

4) Verbal Communication : 
In the method of interview, questions are asked verbally in order to draw verbal responses.

5) Applicable In Group : 
Though usually the interview is carried-out between two people, but it is not mandatory. There is a possibility to carry interviews with a group of people like family members, a class of students or a cluster of customers, as per the requirement of research objective.

6) Process of Interaction : 
The process of interaction between the interviewer and interviewee is highly dependent on the perception about each other. The response of an interviewee is affected by the looks, conduct, body language, voice modulation of the interviewer, and how powerfully he perceives the question along with his own individual desires.

7) Involves Concurrent Recording : 
The interviewer has to record the information provided by the interviewee. Along with this. arises the need to check that the recording of information does not hamper the flow of discussion.

8) Needs Flexibility : 
Interview is a flexible psychological process unlike the standardized chemical processes. This implies that the interviewer has to be careful while applying the rigid standardized tests, since in interview, he has to handle human beings having changing drives and different insights. The degree of success of an interview mainly relies on the perception and proficiency of the interviewer in handling the changing socio-psychological conditions.

Types of Interviews 

Various types of interviews are as follows :

Types of Interviews

1) Personal Interviews :
In most of the cases, information is acquired through personal interview. In the process of interviewing, the interviewer needs to put up pre-planned questions and has to record the responses obtained. The major benefit of benefit of this type of interview is that persons generally reply when the questions are asked face-to face. Moreover, the interviewer has the ability down particular reactions and remove any sort confusion shortcoming of regarding the questions. The main of the personal interview is that this method is expensive than other method. Another major limitation is related to interviewers. In case, the interviewers lack proper training, there are chances of divergence from the purpose of research, which might result in introduction of biasness in samples.

Lastly, faulty results might emerge from faults in recording the answers. The acquired responses can be influenced by the gesture, facial expressions, and speech of the researcher. An example of personal interview is the one, taken in case of recruiting of hiring personnel in various companies. Personal interviews belong to a particular individual, which may be a set of straight forward questions of unrelated questions and avoiding the main questions that are put up to respondents which are meant to make them divulge the sufficient Information which they are consciously or unconsciously not able to provide and make a guess work by drawing the inferences to know the reality.

Types of Personal Interviews 

The types of personal interviews are described below : 

i) Structured and Direct Interviews : 
Generally, direct interviews are arrangement of set of questions related to a subject with probable correct answers mentioned against each question and respondents have to identify the correct answers. The questions are related to a particular subject and reply given by the respondents indicates their depth of knowledge.

ii) Unstructured and Direct Interviews : 
The structured interview gives limited knowledge about the respondents because the interview is restricted to a set of questions. Sometimes it is desirable to know reasons behind certain happenings. The respondents are given a topic and full freedom to express themselves on the topic. In this way a free flow starts from the respondents and interviewers receive a wider spectrum of feedback to arrive at a conclusion.

iii) Structured and Indirect Interviews : 
This type of interviews avoids any type of inclination or prejudices between interviewers and respondents. This makes it superior to structured direct interviews. The respondents are asked unrelated question other than the main question and inferences are drawn from their question It is a well-known fact that memory, replies. It is a perception and knowledge of respondents very much depend upon their pattern of thinking. This makes the respondents not to respond to direct questions. In such cases other option left is to dig through unrelated questions and make a conclusion. In such cases the interviewer has to be an expert on human behavior to make a correct guess work.

iv) Unstructured and Indirect Interview : 
The unstructured and indirect interviews are best established procedure for giving a forecast based on present trends. The respondents have freedom to interpret a situation in their own way. There are different types of procedures which are adopted for making an estimate of situation. The most common methods used are to write the word that comes to mind after seeing a photograph, incomplete sentences are given for completion or shown a set of pictures and asked to narrate a story.

2) Telephone Interview :
Telephonic Survey Interviewing techniques are applied for limited information. These are commonly used in lieu of Personal Interviews due to the involvement of less time and more economic. However, it cannot be compared with Personal Interviews due to limitations over adoption of differential functions. During telephonic conversation it is not possible to go into very much in details to find the depth of knowledge instead it is more suitable to know about the instant reactions over an event or programme on radio or television, Moreover, unstructured question may not be replied by the respondents over telephone.

These are very good for taking an opinion poll of public. Instead of personal contact in Personal Interviews, the interviewers and respondents discuss through telephone and interviewer has freedom to put up subsequent questions to know more details. It is a systematic way of collecting public opinion using set of questions on a topic. The opinion may be sought from general public or person of repute. The telephonic interview data is preferred over others due to maximum response and quality of data. There are certain constraints with this system of interview due to the non-availability of telephone numbers to many subscribers, many do not like disturbance of their home privacy and lengthy interviews are not liked by people.

3) Mail Interview :
The construction of questionnaire plays a in mail interview due to physical absence of the major role interviewer for putting-up the questions and recording the responses. It is almost impossible to carry out mail interview in case of unstructured study. In this regard, personal interviews and telephonic interviews offer more flexibility as pausing any time or modifying the the directions is interviewer's dispose, while in at case of mail interview, the interviewer completely loses control after dispatching the questionnaire. A covering letter is sent along with the questionnaire, guiding the respondents regarding filling the questionnaire followed by mailing it back to the investigator. This type of interview offers more flexibility as respondents are free to fill it as per their comfort and free time, and then mail it back to the researcher. The structuring, pre-testing and compiling of questionnaire of such interviews has to be done with more care as compared to that of the personal interviews.

4) Self-Administered Interview :
This process of interview makes the respondents who. are eye witness to an accident to recall their memories and give the detailed account of accident. The greatest advantage of self-administered interview is that it gives the first-hand account without any bias and can be considered as correct. It very much depends upon the maturity and presence of mind of the interviewer to make the respondents to divulge some more information which is relevant and important for further questioning.

This system needs more time and deputation of more manpower and there are chances of corruption of information data due to inclination or prejudices of interviewers. The narration of information starts from the respondents without any structured questionnaires or the computer and hence, it is in most natural form. The information is solely generated from the respondents and there are no explanations or feedback, it remains open ended.

5) Panel Interview :
In Panel Interview system the company in need of man power hires a company for selection of candidates. The details of expertise, qualifications and experience are handed over to hiring company. The hiring company hires a group of experts derived from different fields like technical, humanities and representative from the company needing man power. The hiring company makes screening of applicants and gives its recommendations on selection.

Panel Interviews are now very common in top companies as well as public sector undertakings. The selection panel consists of experts or heads of corporate offices. It is found to be most easy and efficient way of selection. The same panel takes interview with similar topics at regular interval of time for a considerable period and this ensures the quality of selected candidates. The information data is received through a panel which remains unchanged for a certain period which ensures reliability of trends and changes given by it,

6) Electronic Interview :
The types of electronic interviews are discussed below :

1) FAX : 
The survey data collected through FAX has also picked up recently. It is faster than E mail. However the print quality in FAX remains inferior to e-mail despite advancements in technologies. It is generally limited to business establishments rather than individuals, since the FAX machines are more popular with business establishments rather than individuals.

2) Internet Survey : 
It is easy to conduct. It consists of small text, small visual presentation and small interactive capacity. Complex or skip patterns are not used in this system. However Web surveys provide great number of options to researchers along with audio and video affects.

Importance of Interviews 

Following are the significance of interviews : 

1) Timely Provision of Participants : 
At times the participants are willing to respond to the questions of interviewer, but fail to appreciate the underlying driving force for their behavior, The questions put by the interviewer help the people to find out the utility of goods or services. But, generally people do not want to spend time thinking about the motives behind their reasons unless they are encouraged to do so.

2) Can be Conducted at Diverse Set-Ups : 
Since, the only basic requirement for conducting the interview is an interviewer and an interviewee, without the need for any particular provision or may be conducted a at any place as per the convenience of the participants. It is possible to the conduct the interview at the residence of the interviewee, especially in those cases when interviewee is not able to travel. It is also feasible to conduct the interview in the office, which would be more comfortable in case of the expert interviews, in which the interviewer is looking to reduce the chances of nuisances. In the end, intercept interview can be conducted in the public places such as markets where it is quite easy to find a participant.

3) Applicable in Detailed Areas : 
Interviews are specifically useful for handling the subjective areas which require detailed and comprehensive information. It would be feasible to investigate the topic and problem further over a long time.

4) Valuable Insights : 
There is a possibility of getting valuable Insights on the basis of depth of information acquired and the knowledge of the primary informants.

5) Tools : 
There is a need for only simple. instruments in case, of interviews as its success. mainly depends upon the communication skills of the researcher.

6) Knowledge about Interviewee : 
Interviews are regarded to be an excellent means to generate information on the basis of concerns, point of views and background of the interviewee. The interviewee con elaborate their ideas, can give explanations of their point of views and can recognize what is considered to be vital for them.

7) Flexible Approach : 
Interview is possibly one of the most flexible methods of data collection. It offers various chances of alteration as per the demands of investigation during the interview. It also helps in forming the outline of the interview.

8) High Rate of Response : 
Usually the interviews are pre-planned as per the convenience of time and place. Hence, it offers comparatively high response rate.

9) Soundness :
As at the time of the interview, the interviewer has direct contact with the interviewee, he is in a position to check the preciseness and the importance of the information acquired. Online interviews offer the chances of removing the faults while entering the data. The interviewer does not have to rely on the methods like tape-recorded interview in case of which there can be doubts regarding clarity of what is heard and as a result it raises uncertainty regarding what was actually spoken. With the help of internet, the interviewer can acquire the response in the form of written text acquired from the public places where it is quite easy to locate the respondents.

10) Employed to Acquire Factual Information : 
Every research is not concerned with the consumers of non-profit firms. Instead few studies are carried on with the help of experts, in order to draw insights related to the issues of the firm. Moreover, it is also possible that the firm takes interviews from the staff of the rival firms. The basic design of such investigation targets not at acquiring behavioral insights, but rather on acquiring factual information. The interview has a better success rate as there are chances that specialists would definitely give a reply when questioned personally, in comparison to written investigation. In fact, the expert cannot get anything from the investigation except to help the associates in their issues.

Limitations of Interviews 

Following are the limitations of interviews :

1) Prolonged Process : 
The process of data analysis can be challenging and time-taking. Most of the tasks in the preparation and analysis of the data has to be carried-on till the end, unlike the pre-coded questionnaires, in case of which, data can be immediately analyzed once it is collected. A chief task for the interviewer, once data is collected is transcription and coding of the data.

2) Analysis of Data : 
There are chances of generating non-standardized results in the case of Interview method. Unstructured and semi structured interviews have a comparatively open format and results are not pre-coded data.

3) Consistency : 
Due to the influence of the interviewer and the circumstances, attaining stable and reliable data is somewhat difficult. To some extent, the collected data is distinctive due to the presence of particular individuals and situations. This, however badly affects the reliability of data.

4) The Influence of the Interviewer : 
The basis of information acquired in the interview is the wards of respondents instead of their actions, as there may be disparities between the two. What the people are saying that they do, favor or believe; can be another way true. Specifically, the personality of the interviewer can influence the words of the interviewee. However, such problems can be overcome in the case of the online interviews when the verbal and visual hints are missing.

5) Reluctance to Answer due to Inhibitions : 
When the interview is conducted face-to-face or by using an audio/video recorder, there are chances that the interviewee is reluctant to answer due to inhibitions. Though, the influence of recording equipment might go away, but it is not always so. In case of an interview, artificial circumstances (like in the case of experiments) are created, where the persons have to speak on such records.