Common Types of Interviews

Everyone loves getting a new job, but few (if any) enjoy the interview process.  Let’s face it, the interview is one of those necessary evils in life that we all must go through.  It can be scary interviewing for a job whether or not you actually know the person that you are interviewing with.

You can, however, cut through the anxiety and nervousness that comes with interviewing.  The best way to get around these type of feelings is to combat them with confidence and take back a little control of the process.

Being confident comes with practice and preparation.  The practice comes with time, while you can always prepare whether you are interviewing for the first time in your life, are a seasoned pro, or are a seasoned pro.

To prepare for an interview, it helps to know the types of interview you come across.  There are many types of interviews, and this list will help you brush up on some of the most common.

  • Phone interview – Typically phone interviews are screener interviews at some level, meaning that the intent of the interview is filter out candidates early on in the process.  However the phone interview can also be used instead of paying for travel for a candidate in if distance and cost are a factor.  With a phone interview, you have to make sure that you are well-spoken and able to demonstrate enthusiasm in your voice for the job you are going after.  HELPFUL HINT:  Don’t forget to smile..it can be heard in your voice.
  • Face to face interview – This type of interview puts you face to face with a representative of the company,
    Knowing what type of interview you are heading will make you feel more confident and prepared.

    Knowing what type of interview you are going to will make you feel more confident and prepared.

    whether one on one with a recruiter or hiring manager or even interviews by a panel of mutliple interviewers.  The key is to be prepared and not only show enthusiasm for the job but also be seen as someone who could do the job.  This can be proven through your body language, dress, enthusiasm, and ability to tie in your experiences with the needs of the job.  HELPFUL HINT:  Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.  Not too tight and not too limp.

  • Behavioral/Situational Interview – A growing trend in many larger companies today is to do a behavioral interview in which they are looking for examples of how you handled various situations.  Typically, this  interview is structured with a defined list of questions.  The interviewer is looking for specific examples of things you did (aka behaviors).  In these interviews, you want to give your answers in the format of the situation or task you were faced with, the action you took, and what result came out of it.  This is often referred to as the STAR model.  HELPFUL HINT:  Before you go to the interview list out the results and what was accomplished from your job responsibilities on your resume.  This will help you get a feel for these type of interviews as well as answer questions that naturally come up about your resume.
  • Cultural Fit – Some interviews are simply intended to make sure that you are a fit for the culture of the organization.   The interviewer  for this type of interview is often someone who is not directly tied in with the position such as someone in a different department or higher up in the organization.  There is less focus on how much technical ability you have to do the job, and you are showcasing yourself as someone who would fit in with the organization’s culture.  Basically, they just want to make sure who would be productive and adapt well to the company’s culture and values.  HELPFUL HINT:  As always, it is best to be honest while putting your best foot forward.  Don’t try to be someone you are fundamentally not just for a job because it can end up being a painful situation for everyone involved later.
  • Panel Interview – Personally, I have found these interviews to be the scariest.  This opinion comes both as an applicant (personally) for a job and seeing the nervousness of the applicant when I have been an interviewer.  From what I have seen, most panel interviews involve at least three or more interviewers.  Don’t get too scared and feel like you have to impress everybody equally because that will put too much pressure on you. HELPFUL HINT:  Make eye contact with everyone in the room.  As the interview progresses, you will feel a bit of connection with some interviewers more than others.  If you feel stuck thinking of an answer or start getting nervous, look at the people you feel the most comfortable with because take away the nervousness making eye contact with the people you are most comfortable with.
  • Group Interview – In this scenario, the group interview is often with more than one interviewee.  Most often this is done when there are many candidates to interview.  This is an efficient way to filter out qualified candidates.  Whether on purpose or not, this type of interview also becomes a way to judge who works well with other and is a “team player” based on how well the candidates interact and show respect for one another.  HELPFUL HINT:  Attentively listen when another candidate is speaking.  You are still being watched to see if you can show respect for others which means you would likely be better at working well with others.

Whenever in an interview situation, always ask what the next step  is going to be.  This will give you a sense of what to prepare for next.  Having a little background and understanding of the types of interviews you will see when applying for a job will help you feel better prepared and more confident.