15 Major Types of Job Interviews (Plus Tips for Success)
While trying to find new employment, you may encounter many types of job interviews. It's important to understand the different kinds so that you can appreciate their unique aspects and practice techniques to help you perform well.
In this article, we explore 15 major types of job interviews and provide tips for successfully navigating them.
15 major types of job interviews
Here are the 15 types of job interviews you may encounter in your job search:
1. One-on-one interview
One-on-one interviews, or traditional interviews, take place in person and involve a conversation between one interviewer and one candidate. They're a chance for the interviewer to ask about your experience and skills and to evaluate how well you might fit in at the company. A one-on-one interview may be structured, meaning that the interviewer asks every candidate the exact same questions. It may also be unstructured, which is when the interviewer has a set of standardized questions but asks more based on your responses.
2. Group interview
Group interviews involve multiple candidates being interviewed at the same time for one or more job positions. Employers may choose this interview style to screen candidates, to interview multiple candidates more efficiently or to test how candidates behave in a group setting. Interviewers are likely to watch how you interact with the other candidates, so be sure to treat them politely, behave professionally and provide unique answers to questions.
Related: How To Succeed at a Group Interview
3. Panel interview
Panel interviews involve a group of multiple interviewers questioning a single candidate. The panel may be a small group of around three to five interviewers or a larger group. Usually, interviewers take turns asking the candidate questions either from a pre-made list or inspired by the candidate's responses. If the panel includes many people, then some interviewers might observe instead of participating in the questioning.
4. Remote video interview
Remote video interviews are when an interviewer conducts the interview over a video call, often because the candidate being interviewed lives in another place. This type of interview can be extremely useful for long-distance candidates, as it saves both them and the company time and money. Although you attend remote interviews from the comfort of your home, it's important to still treat these interviews as professionally as you would an in-person interview. Contact your interviewer as soon as possible if you experience any technical issues, such as an internet malfunction or not being able to load the necessary software.
5. Phone interview
Phone interviews are a type of interview often used to screen candidates before inviting them for an in-person or video interview. These are usually interviews that cover basic topics so the interviewer can get to know you and determine if you fulfill the minimum requirements for the position. Prepare for a phone interview as you would for any other, including preparing questions and knowing your desired salary range. Make sure you take the call in a quiet place with no distractions.
6. Lunch interview
Lunch interviews, or restaurant interviews, take place while the interviewer and candidate eat together at a restaurant. Lunch is the most common time of day for this interview type, but the interviewer may invite you to breakfast or dinner instead. These interviews are usually less structured than a traditional interview and function more like a conversation, though the interviewer likely still has specific questions to ask you. Along with being interested in your answers to their questions, the interviewer may pay attention to how you interact with the host and serving staff.
7. Behavioral interview
Behavioral interviews assess your performance in specific situations at work. Interviewers ask candidates to describe how they have handled situations in past jobs so they can analyze their pattern of behavior and predict how they might handle future situations. For example, the interviewer may ask you to describe a time you handled a challenging customer, and your answer could tell them you're likely to be calm in that kind of situation. Behavioral interviews can exist independently but are often part of other types of interviews.
8. Competency-based interview
Competency-based interviews assess a candidate's skills and competencies. These usually test specific skills related to the position, such as assessing leadership and communication skills for a management position. Competency-based interviews can be like behavioral interviews because employers can pair them with other interview types and may include questions about how you handled a past situation. The primary difference is that behavioral interviews look for patterns of behavior, while competency-based interviews look for evidence of your skills.
9. Stress interview
Stress interviews assess how a candidate responds to extreme pressure and unexpected situations. The questions in a stress interview can be challenging or even confrontational, since the interviewer may be trying to frustrate or intimidate you. In either case, the interviewer wants to confirm that you can remain calm rather than reacting with anger or becoming confrontational yourself. These interviews are especially common for positions where an employee has to navigate a lot of stressful situations.
10. Informal interview
Informal interviews are less-structured interviews that resemble casual conversations. They're often a type of screening interview and may take place at an informal off-site location, like a coffee shop, or via a remote interview. Informal interviewers are usually interested in getting to know you and deciding if you seem like a good fit for their company culture. Although the interviewer might not ask typical interview questions, it's still a good idea to come prepared with answers related to why you want to work for the company.
11. On-the-spot interview
On-the-spot interviews happen immediately and with little to no time for preparation, usually right after you've turned in an application. These interviews are a way of screening applicants by quickly getting a sense of who they are and what qualifications they bring to the position. You may also encounter an interview like this at a job or career fair when talking to a recruiter. Although this type of interview is rare, try to organize your thoughts about why you want a job and why you're a good choice before turning in an application.
12. Case interview
Case interviews require a candidate to learn about a hypothetical business situation and provide solutions as if they were consulting on the case. These interviews are most common for positions in investment banking, technology and management consulting. They're a test of a candidate's skills, like problem-solving and analytical thinking. During this type of interview, you're given a set of instructions to review and may have a certain amount of time to provide your solution.
13. Working interview
Working interviews require candidates to complete a task related to the job as part of the interview. This may involve completing a task on-site during an interview or being given a task to complete at home within a certain time period. For example, at a tech interview, they may ask you to write code for a certain problem. If you're applying for a writing job, they may ask you to write a piece using a prompt. Some working interviews pay candidates for completing these tasks, but others may include it as an unpaid part of the interview process.
14. Puzzle interview
Puzzle interviews assess how quickly and creatively a candidate can think by asking them difficult, puzzle-like questions. They also test a candidate's critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, an interviewer may provide a riddle and ask you to provide an answer and explain your reasoning. During a puzzle interview, it's important to think through the puzzle, ask clarifying questions and take your time to ensure you provide your best answer.
15. One-way interview
One-way interviews, or asynchronous interviews, are a newer form of interview that involves using technology like voice recognition and AI to pre-screen candidates. They're like a normal video interview because you complete them on camera at a computer, but instead of talking to an interviewer, you record your answers to preset questions. In some one-way interviews, you may be able to re-record an answer, but others only take your first attempt. After the interview, a hiring manager or a computer program analyzes your answers and determines whether to call you in for a traditional interview.
Tips for different types of job interviews
Here are some tips that can help you navigate a few of these interview types:
Engage the entire group during a panel interview
During a panel interview, it can be easy to focus only on the person who asked the last question. A good way to impress at this type of interview is to engage the whole panel with each of your answers. Work to establish a rapport with everyone by making eye contact and maintaining open body language. You can also engage the group by relating your answer back to a previous question or a comment made by another interviewer.
Consider your order carefully at a lunch interview
Lunch interviews are often casual, but it's a good idea to treat them like a more formal interview. This includes being thoughtful about what you order for your meal. Avoid foods that can be messy, like foods you eat with your hands or foods with strong odors. Order something you know you're comfortable eating while holding a conversation so that you can navigate the interview with confidence.
Have business cards ready for on-the-spot interviews
It can be generally beneficial to have business cards at the ready while searching for a job, but they can be especially useful if you encounter an on-the-spot interview. If you're asked to do an on-the-spot interview, you may not have immediate access to a resume or cover letter that you can leave with the interviewer. Keep a few business cards with you when turning in applications or attending job fairs so you have something to give them. This also makes it much easier to provide your contact information.
Ask for time to form your answer in a case interview
Although some case interviews may include a time limit, it's always a good idea to ask the interviewer for time to form your answer. They're likely to appreciate that you want to consider the instructions and case carefully before answering. Take the time to organize your thoughts, structure your answer and confirm that it meets all the requirements in the instructions. This can allow you to give a more detailed and creative answer than if you responded with your very first thoughts.
Use calming techniques during a stress interview
Stress interviews test your ability to remain calm in a high-pressure situation, so they may elicit negative emotions. Before the interview, you can practice your answers and thoroughly research the position and the company, which can make you feel calm and prepared going into the interview. During the interview, the interviewer may attempt to set a fast pace to their questions. If the pace is overwhelming, politely ask them to repeat a question and use that time to take a deep breath and calm down.
Check your background before a video or one-way interview
Before you begin an on-camera interview, check your background and what the camera is going to see. Set up your computer and camera early so that you can check the view and clean up the area as necessary. Find a private space for the interview where you can answer questions without interruptions from people or pets. Some video-call platforms allow you to use a special effect to change your background to something more neutral so you can avoid any distractions behind you during an interview.
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