Types of interviews

Types of interviews

Types of interviews

Ready for every type of interview? Learn how to prepare, even for multi-stage interviews.

Companies use a variety of methods to conduct interviews. Depending on the position, you may interview multiple times with different people from one employer, and be asked to demonstrate your skills. These are the most typical interviewing methods:

Phone screening or phone interviewing

A telephone screening is brief, and is used to verify your basic qualifications for the position. A telephone interview may be more in depth, asking traditional interview questions, and may have multiple participants involved. Some employers use single-sided phone interviews, in which candidates' responses to pre-recorded questions are recorded and later listened to by human resources. 

Keep these suggestions in mind for phone interviews:

  • Choose a quiet place where you can concentrate
  • Have all of your company, industry, and job research material handy
  • Mention something you learned about the organization in your research, to demonstrate your interest
  • Get dressed for work; it creates a professional attitude that comes through in your manner 
  • Have questions prepared and be prepared to take notes
  • Smile—your smile will impact your voice inflections
  • If you are driving, be sure to stop and give full attention to the call

Face-to-face one-on-one interview

With this method you will meet with one person at a time. The interviewer may be the person who will be your supervisor or manager.

Panel or committee interview

This type has two or more interviewers sitting on a panel and may include HR, the hiring manager, the supervisor, and/or a team lead. Multiple people will ask you questions. While this could add significant pressure, it's helpful to focus on the person you're responding to, making eye contact.

Video interview

Video and teleconference interviews are becoming more common. This is especially true if you are in a remote location or geographically distant from the company. Video interviews may take place “live” with both the company and the candidate connecting through video conferencing software, or they may be “one way”, in which the employer creates a series of interview questions, and job candidates record their answers.

Best practices:

  • Check your technology. Familiarize yourself with the webcam and microphone. Position the webcam at eye level so you are looking directly at the camera and can address the interviewer.
  • Dress for success from head to toe.
  • If you have control of your environment, here are some considerations:
    • Present a professional and uncluttered background
    • Check that the lighting is appropriate; do not sit in front of a window
    • Choose a quiet room with no distractions, such as cell phones, pets, children, etc.

Stress interview

The goal of this type of interview is to put you in a stressful situation and see how you perform under pressure. Positions that may use this tactic include:

  • Law enforcement
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Intelligence jobs
  • Positions in high-pressure work environments or those that deal with highly sensitive information
  • Sales

Meal interview

Whether breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, or drinks, these interviews are meant to observe you outside of the formal work environment. Due to the seemingly casual environment, it is easy to get comfortable, so be sure to answer questions in a professional way.

Best practices:

  • Carefully select your meal (it shouldn’t be too pricey or too messy)
  • Avoid ordering alcohol (even if the interviewer orders a drink first)

Group interview

This method brings in many applicants at once and can be more of a presentation about the company and the types of challenges you will encounter on the job. You may be called for a face-to-face or panel interview after the group session.

Remember, be yourself—your personality will definitely show in this interview setting!