Interviewer vs. Interviewee: Differences, Tips, and Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviewing is a crucial step when you're searching for jobs. It enables employers to discover more about you, assess whether you're the ideal candidate for the position, and determine how well you can collaborate with current staff. It can help you understand the interviewing procedure if you learn the roles people have in the process. In this article, we define interviewer vs. interviewee, provide differences between them, explore tips for effective interviewing, and discuss how to prepare for an interview.

Interviewer vs. interviewee definitions

The definitions for an interviewer vs. interviewee are as follows:

What is an interviewer?

An interviewer is a person asking questions during an interview. If you're the interviewer, you're responsible for creating questions to ask candidates during the interview process. Typically, your purpose is to determine which candidates possess the necessary qualities to succeed in a specific position. You may also try to understand their personality type to see how well they might fit in with the current team.

What is an interviewee?

An interviewee is a person answering questions during an interview. If you're the interviewee, you're responsible for giving your opinions to make a positive impression on the interviewer. Your overall purpose is to illustrate why you're the best candidate for a job and to set yourself apart from others.

Differences between interviewee and interviewer

The following are some differences between an interviewee and an interviewer:

Preparation process

Preparation is key for both interviewees and interviewers prior to an interview. During this process, you may concentrate on different factors. As an interviewee, you can prepare by researching the organization, learning more about your interviewer, and examining the job description in detail. You can also conduct a mock interview with a friend, dress appropriately, determine the best way of getting to the interview location, and prepare any documents you might bring to the interview.

Interviewers are frequently more concerned with determining the format and content of the interview. As an interviewer, you might study the candidate's resume and make a list of questions to ask during the interview. Depending on your position in the company, you may consult with other managers or employees to find out the most pertinent questions to ask. You may also prepare documents for the interview, such as note sheets, or you may distribute information about how to get to the interview.

Related: How to Prepare for an Interview Presentation (With Tips)

Representation

During the interview, interviewees and interviewers represent separate parties. As an interviewee, you usually represent yourself and attempt to explain why you're the best candidate for the job. As an interviewer, you represent your employer or client and aim to ask relevant questions to find the best candidates for specific positions.

Post-interview etiquette

After the interview, both the interviewees and the interviewers typically have tasks to fulfill. As an interviewee, it's good practice to send a note or email to your interviewer expressing gratitude for their time and consideration for the position. This can help reinforce a positive image and remind them about the discussion you had. As an interviewer, you're responsible for contacting the interviewee and informing them of their progress and, if necessary, their next steps.

Tips for effective interviewing techniques

Here are some tips for conducting a successful interview:

Listen attentively

Active listening, which entails focusing on and comprehending the speaker, is key to effective interview communication. As an interviewer, you can use active listening to understand an interviewee's response and determine the genuine message they're attempting to communicate. As an interviewee, you can employ this skill to listen carefully to what an interviewer wants to know so you can respond appropriately.

Ensure comfort

If both the interviewee and interviewer are at ease during the conversation, this might help ensure a successful interview. As an interviewer, you can encourage this by asking straightforward questions at the outset of the talk and giving the interviewee time to acclimatize to the setting. You may also feel more at ease if you take brief notes that highlight the candidate's most compelling attributes and impressive responses, rather than attempting to record every detail.

Prepare for the interview

The interviewing process, especially if you're the interviewer, relies heavily on planning. It's important to regard the interview with a fresh and balanced approach. You can create a list of key questions and subjects to cover, which may encourage a natural discussion between the two parties. This way, you can help inspire original and pertinent responses from the interviewee.

Related: What Are the Types of Interview Formats?

Detect nonverbal communication

Body language and nonverbal indicators may help make interviewees feel more at ease and show that the interviewer actively cares about the interview. For example, a nod from an interviewer when an interviewee replies to a question shows they're paying attention and may urge the applicant to elaborate on their response. As an interviewer, you can use open body language to make interviewees feel more welcome.

It's important for you as an interviewer to be aware of an interviewee's body language. As an interviewee, your facial expression, for example, may convey an issue with a particular question. A professional interviewer can recognize this, adjust their tone, and rephrase or clarify the question to assist the interviewee.

Maintain professionalism

Throughout the interview process, it's important that both candidates and interviewers demonstrate professionalism. This involves being considerate of each party's time, speaking respectfully, and concentrating on acceptable topics for dialogue. An opportunity may occur for some informal conversation, but it's key to always keep the communication on a professional level.

Leave space for silence

Pauses are a normal part of the interview process which you can use to your advantage. As an interviewee, you can reflect thoroughly on your comments before responding to the interviewer. As an interviewer, you may find these quiet moments are beneficial for establishing full comprehension, asking pertinent follow-up questions, or giving further information as necessary.

How to prepare for an interview as an interviewee

Here are three useful steps you can take to prepare for an interview:

1. Carefully examine the job description

You may find it useful to refer to the job description throughout your preparation. The job description describes a list of credentials, characteristics, and history of the applicant the business is seeking. The closer the connection you have with these specifics, the more readily the company may recognize your qualifications. Additionally, the job description may provide you with insight into the kind of questions the company may ask during an interview.

2. Research the company and role

Conducting research about the organization you're applying to is a key component of interview preparation. It can help in providing a context for your interview interactions and in instigating an interesting discussion with your interviewers. Conducting extensive research about the organization and position may offer you an advantage over the competition. Additionally, thoroughly preparing for an interview can help you maintain your composure and perform at your best. The position may differ from the company's product or service but could be useful knowledge to have if you join the organization.

It's important to gain a good understanding of the product or service the organization creates and advertises. Every detail of a technical product, even if it lacks relevance for a non-technical role can be helpful to know because having a general awareness of the company's primary goods or services is often beneficial. You can sometimes request a sample of the product to gain a better understanding from the customer's viewpoint. The more information you can learn about the product from both a corporate and customer perspective, the more prepared you can be for your interview.

Related: How to Start an Interview (With Tips for Good Performance)

3. Consider your responses to frequently asked interview questions

You can research some typical interview questions so you can prepare your responses. You may choose to build an “elevator pitch” that succinctly conveys who you are, what you do, and what your aspirations are. Certain occupations may require you to complete a test or assessment as part of the interview process.

For instance, if you're interviewing for a position in computer programming, development, or analytics, the interviewer may request you to create or evaluate lines of code. It may be beneficial to take advice from colleagues in the sector who have completed previous tests.

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