An interview is a conversation between two or more people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee. Interviews can be divided into two rough types, interviews of assessment and interviews for information.
The most common type of interview for assessment is a job interview between an employer and an applicant. The goal of such an interview is to assess a potential employee to see if he/she has the social skills and intelligence suitable for the workplace. Similar interviews are also used for admissions to schools, allotment of grants, and other areas.
In most developed countries, rules and regulations govern what can be asked in these interviews. Highly personal questions and those unrelated to the job at hand are forbidden, as are questions which invite discrimination. However some interviewers tend to ask such questions in order to see how the interviewee reacts and if (s)he is able to elegantly avert the question....
Such interviews can be brief fifteen-minute affairs or they can stretch for many hours even over a series of days. McMaster University and other institutions have begun admitting medical students based upon Multiple Mini-Interviews. Multiple Mini-Interviews involve having each candidate rotate through a series of 10-12 short "stations." Each station requires the candidate to perform a task. A score is assigned by an observer to each performance and the total score determines the standing of the candidate. Research on the Multiple Mini-Interview has suggested it is more reliable than traditional panel-based interviews as interviewer biases and unusual performances on the part of the candidate get diluted among a larger sample of behaviors.
Another important type of interview is the psychological one that can be divided into three forms: structured, semi-structured and non-structured.