What is Interview: Definition and 309 Discussions

An interview is essentially a structured conversation where one participant asks questions, and the other provides answers. In common parlance, the word "interview" refers to a one-on-one conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee. The interviewer asks questions to which the interviewee responds, usually providing information. That information may be used or provided to other audiences immediately or later. This feature is common to many types of interviews – a job interview or interview with a witness to an event may have no other audience present at the time, but the answers will be later provided to others in the employment or investigative process. An interview may also transfer information in both directions.
Interviews usually take place face-to-face and in person but the parties may instead be separated geographically, as in videoconferencing or telephone interviews. Interviews almost always involve spoken conversation between two or more parties. In some instances a "conversation" can happen between two persons who type their questions and answers.
Interviews can be unstructured, free-wheeling and open-ended conversations without predetermined plan or prearranged questions. One form of unstructured interview is a focused interview in which the interviewer consciously and consistently guides the conversation so that the interviewee's responses do not stray from the main research topic or idea. Interviews can also be highly structured conversations in which specific questions occur in a specified order. They can follow diverse formats; for example, in a ladder interview, a respondent's answers typically guide subsequent interviews, with the object being to explore a respondent's subconscious motives. Typically the interviewer has some way of recording the information that is gleaned from the interviewee, often by keeping notes with a pencil and paper, or with a video or audio recorder. Interviews usually have a limited duration, with a beginning and an ending.
The traditional two-person interview format, sometimes called a one-on-one interview, permits direct questions and follow-ups, which enables an interviewer to better gauge the accuracy and relevance of responses. It is a flexible arrangement in the sense that subsequent questions can be tailored to clarify earlier answers. Further, it eliminates possible distortion due to other parties being present.
Face to face interviewing helps both parties to interact and form a connection, and understand the other. Further, face to face interview sessions can be more enjoyable.

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  1. P

    I got my first graduate interview invite

    Not looking for advice I just can't believe I'm actually getting an interview. I've been psyching myself up to prepare to be ghosted by every program and apply a 2nd or 3rd time because I've been so confident that I'm not good enough yet on paper and didn't want to be delusional. Yet somehow an...
  2. J

    Other Disclose criminal record BEFORE interview?

    I've been working as a software developer since April. I'm considered self-employed and I am working on two contracts, both with two guys who are in senior positions at a very large tech company (I won't mention the company's name). We get along well and they're very happy with my work. Said...
  3. K

    Degrees of freedom (question based on an interview I attended)

    I was asked by an interviewer the number of degrees of freedom (in both translation and rotational senses) this part has with respect to each axis. Indeed I can share what I think of here, but I want to start it fresh and correct. If you were the interviewee, what would have been your answer and...
  4. BillTre

    Origin of Life Chemistry interview with Bill Martin

    This video is an interview of Bill Martin (Martin wikipedia link) (one of the godfathers of modern origin of life chemistry) by Jitender Kumar about several origin of life issues. He has a lot chemical knowledge and expresses it clearly. Interesting to me, he places the formation of membranes...
  5. Haorong Wu

    Admissions Need help preparing for an interview

    Hi. I am going to apply to a physics Ph.D. program at UBC, and I just received an interview invitation from a professor after I contacted him. I have never taken part in any interview, so I am pretty worried about how to prepare for it. There are tons of websites teaching me how to prepare...
  6. B

    Microsoft Technical Interview question

    I had a Microsoft Technical interview this past Friday, the question I was asked was this : How do you find the middle value for a dataset that is too big to fit in RAM? I was not able to figure this out during the interview, but I have been look in this all weekend and I read something online...
  7. berkeman

    What is this technician holding below the camera's view in this TV interview?

    During a TV interview of an American-style football player today after a win, one camera view briefly showed this technician from the interviewing team holding some instrument below the normal camera view of the interview. Does anybody have an idea what the instrument is? It looks like it has...
  8. Simon Bridge

    Cambridge Interview Question (pet peeve + demo)

    I'd start with a short discussion of what it means to "simplify" in this context... student needs a little background here, but not a lot. ie. we want no nesting square-roots if we can help it. In this working I am illustrating how I'd approach explaining how to approach these sorts of problems...
  9. Yukatto

    Engineering Recommended book for Optical Engineering graduate

    I am a recent Optical Engineering graduate, It's easy to forget about concepts that I learned, so I would like to have a book to that can help me while preparing for job interviews, a book to help me remember the most important concept in Optics and Optical Engineering. Can anybody recommend...
  10. icesalmon

    Engineering Projects to showcase capabilities for job application / interview

    I'm in the process of applying for jobs as a recent graduate( December 2020 ) and was curious what types of projects I could work on by myself to showcase my capabilities in Power Distribution Engineering (simulations, design work etc.). I was thinking I could build a presentation around it...
  11. M

    Job Skills Thank you note after job interview

    Is it really common practice to send a thank you email after a job interview? At all of my interviews I have concluded by thanking the interviewer for their time etc., but never sent a thank you email. To me, it seems redundant, pushy, and smarmy. Or is this common practice? What would you think...
  12. Jake Ng

    Mechanical Engineer Career. Short 3 question interview.

    I have an assignment for a class where I have to interview Mechanical Engineers. The questions are “Why did you choose this career?”, “Are you happy in this career?”, and “What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue this career?” I would appreciate it if someone could answer these...
  13. fluidistic

    How did Vanadium50 become a polymath in physics and computer science?

    Hey PFers, I had seen in the past interviews about moderators, but I did not see one about Vanadium50. Here's what I'd be glad to know about: You seem to be a polymath. How did you acquire a so deep and extensive knowlegde in areas such as physics and computer science? Out of curiosity...
  14. codyschellinger0731

    Need to interview an engineer for an engineering paper

    1. What is your field of engineering? 2. Why did you choose to become an engineer? 3. What do you enjoy most about your work? 4. How well are you aware of homelessness in the United States, and more specifically, where you live? 5. What is your opinion on examples such as “no-sit benches”...
  15. Jarvis323

    Help Translate Interview About Grete Hermann

    Can someone help translate this (German to English), or point me to a transcript?
  16. A

    Job Skills Attending a Physics PhD interview when you might not go?

    Hi everyone, I have an interview with a potential PhD supervisor scheduled for Friday, but I am not sure I will attend the college even if I get in. However, I want to attend the interview for the sake of experience (because I believe it'll help me identify the areas I need to improve myself in...
  17. P

    Admissions How to prepare for a PhD interview?

    Hello everyone! I recently got an interview request from OSU's Astronomy Ph.D program and was wondering how I should prepare for it. Thanks
  18. Rlaneholliday

    Admissions I'm accepted as a PhD student. Interview for funding/RA -- Any Advice?

    First post, so I'm not entirely sure if this is the right place to post this. I have been accepted as a PhD student at the Stevens Institute of Technology. It's my ideal institute as my area of interest is in nanofabrication/nanophotonics and their lab is top tier in this regard. I was not...
  19. Ricky Aguilar

    I need to interview an electrical engineer (School related)

    Good evening everyone, My name is Ricky and am in my first year in becoming an electrical engineer at Olympic College in WA. I am in a technical communications and need to write a discourse community analysis paper. Part this paper is interviewing someone with at least a BS in electrical...
  20. Auto-Didact

    Who is Penrose Sir Roger Penrose? Insights from His Recent Interviews

    Sir Roger Penrose, famous for his numerous contributions to mathematics and physics, is approaching 90 but still pretty active. In this thread I'll post some of his most recent and best interviews. The interviews tend to be a mixture of him talking about some new idea of his, his prior academic...
  21. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Engineer Mentor anorlunda - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new blog post Interview with Engineer Mentor anorlunda Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  22. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Physics Mentor bhobba - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new blog post Interview with Physics Mentor bhobba Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  23. T

    Prepare for Your Instacart Interview Tomorrow: Tips and Requirements

    I have an interview with Instacart at one of the local grocery stores tomorrow. This would be the ideal part-time position as I can make my own hours/schedule and get paid. I was told to bring 2 forms of ID and a blank check for direct deposit. It's an interview tomorrow evening.
  24. T

    Balancing Multiple Jobs: Navigating Employer Expectations

    Hi, I have an interview at a walmart on Thursday. I want to do both the retail job that I just got rehired at and the walmart job if I get hired there. My question is how to tell the walmart manager during my interview that I want to do both jobs (multiple streams of income)? What would be a way...
  25. Brandon Lathrop

    Interview About Writing in Engineering

    I am a senior in college, working on getting my bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. I am currently taking an upper division writing class about writing in engineering, and am required to interview someone either presently working or has worked in the field, about writing in engineering...
  26. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Niels Tuning, LHCb Run Coordinator - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Niels Tuning, LHCb Run Coordinator Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  27. T

    Job Skills Interview soon at local phone company this week

    Hi, I have an interview at one of my local phone companies for a tech, internet helpdesk 1 position (something that I'm qualified for) (I'm trying to get out of dishwashing ASAP for obvious reasons). There's paid training both in classroom and hands on. It's a full time position. I'm attending...
  28. A

    B The Impact and Relevance of Quantum Mechanics: An Interview with an Expert

    Hello everyone! I am working on a quantum mechanics research paper and I need to interview one person. It can be electronically or even in a place like this. I just need one person to answer a few simple questions and to describe their qualifications that prove they are a reliable source for...
  29. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Astrophysicist: Adam Becker - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Astrophysicist: Adam Becker Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  30. FallenApple

    Job Skills Data Scientist Phone interview at Apple

    So I have a phone interview at Apple tomorrow. Are there any tips on what part of statistics I should review? I guess it wouldn't be helpful to do computations with matrix equations or derivations, but focus more on the concepts? I suppose I can review linear regression and logistic...
  31. binbagsss

    Physics Academic papers of supervisor, PhD interview, reading other papers

    Is it ok to refer to a papers published by a different academic, or should i mainly be talking about my potential supervisor's published papers in my interview? thanks
  32. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Theoretical Physicist Clifford Johnson - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Theoretical Physicist Clifford Johnson Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  33. binbagsss

    Other PhD interview question to 'why do you want to study astrophysics'

    My dissertation was basically a literature review of sean caroll lecture notes on general relativity. I got a first in this, and got offered phd interviews with the supervisors being aware of this so it must suffice? but I'm unsure how you explain the motives and conclusion of such a piece of...
  34. Greg Bernhardt

    Questions for Veritasium creator Derek Muller Interview

    We are fortunate to have secured an Insights interview with YouTube channel Veritasium creator Derek Muller. This is a big opportunity as he's on the forefront in science video creation and has a massive following. I'm open to suggestions for questions on his personal background, Veritasium...
  35. yeshuamo

    Admissions What is an informal interview? (for a graduate program in the U.K.)

    I have received an invitation to interview for a graduate program in the U.K. The email came from a professor who previously expressed interest in working with me and helped me write a fellowship application. Now, my question is: what makes a graduate interview in physics "informal"? Mind you...
  36. Drakkith

    Insights Interview with a Mentor: Drakkith - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with a Mentor: Drakkith Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  37. A. Neumaier

    Insights Interview with Mathematician and Physicist Arnold Neumaier - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Mathematician and Physicist Arnold Neumaier Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post. Arnold will welcome science questions and comments only.
  38. ATY

    Physics I need your help for an job interview in astrophysics

    Hey guys, I'll have an interview for a PhD position on monday (they told me today) and need your advice. They want me to outline a sheme on how I'd create an experiment about sublimation on asteroids. The problem is, that I don't know anything about this topic. Do you have any ideas for me or...
  39. qspeechc

    Discussing Anxiety in Interview

    Hello everyone. So I'm going through a lot of interviews right now. For a long time I've been painfully awkward and shy, and now, at the ripe old age of 28, I'm trying to get over it. Of course, as far as the interviewer is concerned, they have no way of verifying that, so you're just hoping...
  40. saybrook1

    Physics Research Job Interview Presentation Advice

    Hello everyone! I'm soon flying out to several research facilities/companies that have invited me to give presentations, meet with staff, check out the towns etc... I have a few questions about what I should be including in the presentations. I understand that I need to include my past research...
  41. fresh_42

    B Interview with Karen E. Smith (Mathematician at U-M)

    Here's an interview I've found on the AMS site, which I think offers some interesting insights on the way to become a scientists. http://www.ams.org/publications/journals/notices/201707/rnoti-p718.pdf Especially what she said about the learning process can be seen as a real good advice:
  42. Christopher Bauer

    Physics Any physicists willing to do a quick interview?

    I have a research paper on communication in the workplace for my technical communications class. I need to find two or more physicists that can answer about 12 questions on things like how much writing is done and things along those lines. This interview can be done over email or the phone. If...
  43. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Biologist Jim McNamara - Comments

    TheAdmin submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Biologist Jim McNamara Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  44. S

    Admissions PhD Interview at DAMPT, Cambridge: Questions & Advice

    I am applying for a PhD possition at DAMPT, Cambridge University. How many interviews are there? And for the academic one, with the possible supervisor, does he test your knowledge? Which are the most common questions? I have a strong research, very good letters, a good motivational letter but...
  45. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Astronomer Pamela Gay - Comments

    TheAdmin submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Astronomer Pamela Gay Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  46. fresh_42

    B Who is Lisa Randall and What Can We Learn from Her Interview?

    Lisa Randall (Harvard): https://www.physics.harvard.edu/people/facpages/randall Video: http://www.3sat.de/mediathek/?obj=62357 (41 minutes long, English, click the picture)
  47. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Q&A With Universe Today's Fraser Cain - Comments

    TheAdmin submitted a new PF Insights post Q&A With Universe Today's Fraser Cain Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  48. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with a Theoretical Physicist: Sabine Hossenfelder - Comments

    TheAdmin submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with a Theoretical Physicist: Sabine Hossenfelder Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  49. S

    Need to interview a Mechanical Engineer

    I am a first-year Mechanical Engineering major at Cal Poly, and I need to interview a Mechanical Engineer for my Technical Writing class. If you have a few minutes and could answer these five questions, I would greatly appreciate it! What are common genres in the field of mechanical...