Types of Job Interviews

Great job, your resume has taken you to the next step, the interview process. There are several different types of interviews, but they all serve the same purpose of letting interviewers evaluate your skills, knowledge, experience, education and personality to determine if you’re right for the position. Depending on the type of position you’re applying for, you will most likely go through several types of interviews. Please read all pages in this section to become well informed so you can make your interview process a winning one.

Some companies will have you complete a test as part of the interview process, so be prepared. These tests normally evaluate how you handle certain situations, your level of skills in leadership, customer service and problem solving. They can also test how honest you are with your answers; at times they ask you the same question in several different formats and compare the answers for consistency. Normally these tests are multiple choice questions.

Below is an explanation of some of the different types of interviews that you may face. When you are speaking with the person setting up your interview, it is appropriate to ask whom you will be interviewing with and what their position is. Asking this will give you some insight into the type of interviewer you are up against for your interview.

Screening and Phone Interviews

These are usually the first steps in the interview process and are normally quick and take place over the phone. This first interview is extremely important as it will decide if you go on to further interviews. Normally performed by a member of the human resources department, these interviews use direct questions to find out if you would fit the company’s culture and have the knowledge, experience and qualifications for the position. Providing facts about your skills and experience is more important than establishing rapport.

When searching for a job you need to start answering your phone with high energy and in a professional manner in case you get one of these calls. It is not recommended to take a phone interview on the fly if you’re not prepared, you can communicate to the interviewer that you are currently not in a private location to perform a phone interview and arrange for a set time: it can even be later that same day. You need to choose a place that is quiet from any background noise, well lit and at a comfortable temperature. Be prepared with your resume in-front of you, a pad and pen to take notes. Prior to the interview research, the company and the actual job requirements and make a list of how you can bring value to their organization. Highlight areas of your resume that you feel are relevant to this position and company. Make sure you are free from all distractions, don’t multitask and pay attention to the questions during the interview. The interviewer might ask about your salary requirements and salary history, share accurate information to avoid wasting anyone’s time, but don’t lock yourself into a figure, give a range or explain you need to learn more about the position and total compensation before providing a salary requirement.  If they don’t ask about salary it’s recommended not to bring it up at this part in the interview process.

One-On-One Interviews / Face-To-Face Interviews

This is the interview that most are familiar with and normally takes place after a phone screening interview. It is normally established that you have the requirements for the position from your resume and screening interview. The interviewer wants to see how you will fit into the company and will ask questions to test your listed skills and experience. Please make sure that you focus on the questions, don’t go off on a rant and keep your answers short and to the point. Your goal is to build a rapport with the interviewer and market you to them and how you can contribute to their organization.

Multiple Interviews

It is very common that you will go through several levels of interviews, on average most candidates are interviewed by 3 different individuals and it is not unusual to be interviewed up to 5 times; these can take place on the same day or over several weeks. The larger the company the more interviews you can expect and it can be a combination of one-on-one, group and panel interviews. Small and private companies might only take as little as one interview.

Candidate Group Interviews

These interviews set two or more applicants against each other as you all will be interviewed at the same time and most likely there are two or more interviewers. All applicants will be applying for the same position. These interviews test your style, professionalism, leadership skills and the ability to function in a group under pressure. You will be judged on your answers, and how you interact and handle yourself in a group of peers and in stressful situations. Don’t get stressed out during this interview, you are among the cream of the crop, now you just need to shine above the other candidates.

Panel or Committee Interviews

This is when several members of the company who have a say whether you will be hired interview you at that same time. Sometimes this is performed as a time saver method or as a way to see how you deal under more pressures than a traditional interview. You need to make sure that you address each interviewer so that you can connect with them as individuals. Shake hands with each person and repeat their names during the introduction; maintain eye contact with the panel member who is asking the current question but as you give your answers seek eye contact with all the members. When you are asking questions, ensure you engage with all members of the panel and not just one individual, even when addressing only one the interviewers. This type of interview can put more pressure on you, and you need to stay calm and collected.

Breakfast or Lunch Interviews

Some managers like to interview outside the office setting and get an insight on how you behave in more relax surroundings. You need to maintain the same standards during these types of interviews as you would interview in an office setting. The environment might be more casual, but you’re still being closely monitored. Use this type of interview to build common ground with the interviewer and follow their lead with menu choices and etiquette, but don’t order selections you won’t eat or drink. Do not order the most expensive items and never consume alcohol beverages during these interviews. Be aware of your table manners and never speak with your mouth full. This sounds like common sense tips, but many don’t follow them.

Teleconferencing / Web Conferencing Interviews

Many times you are interviewing for a company where their corporate office is a distance away, as a way to save on travel expenses many companies are utilizing the newest process of interviewing using a webcam online format. Technology has made this a very viable method; you may be doing this interview from your home or at one of the company’s remote locations. It can’t be emphasize enough that you treat this interview in the same exact manner as a face-to-face interview, from your attire to your professionalism; remember they can still see you and read your expressions. If you are taking this interview in your home ensure your cam viewed environment is organized and neat, and there are no background noises to distract you. Turn off your house and cell phones and close your windows so outside noise is kept out. If other family members are around the home, ask them to step outside if possible and have them take the family dog with them, a barking dog can distract the interview.

Behavioral Interviews

This method can take place during any of the above interview types, and it’s a test as to how well you have handled certain stressful situations in your past. With behavioral interviews,  the interviewer is examining for behavior patterns rather than correct answers they probe into what you have done in the past, not what you say you will do in the future. It’s predicted that your will repeat your past performance in the future. You will be asked a series of questions on how you handled various different situations from your past that are relevant to the position you’re interviewing. Review your resume to come up with a list of challenges and issues you were faced with and how you conquered them. These questions normally start out with “tell me about a time when…” or “give me an example of how you….” Example

  • Tell me the time when your boss told you to do something you knew was wrong and how you handled it?
  • Give me an example of how you dealt with and completely unreasonable client/customer?

Stress Interviews

These types of interviews are performed to see how you react to unexpected situations and pressures. The interviewer can be   sarcastic, argumentative and rude with you; he/she might make you wait a while before they perform the interview. They will even leave long pauses between questions. All this is their attempt to unnerve you and evaluate how you act under this type of pressure. Ideally you will show them what you are made of by keeping your cool; the more pressure they apply the calmer you need to become.