If you are searching for jobs or have attended job interviews, you would have noticed that all job interviews are not the same. The type of job interview could depend on the type of job, the company hiring, or even the position that you have applied for. There are several types of job interviews that we will discuss in this article.
Different types of job interviews don’t usually follow the same format, yet they all serve the same purpose, which is to evaluate your knowledge, skills, abilities, qualifications, experience, and personality.
It’s a wise decision to inquire upfront to know the type of interview you will get and who will be your interviewer(s), to avoid surprises. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask your prospective employer the type of interview that will be conducted as it will both benefit you and them. You show that you’re really interested and that you want to show up well prepared. Furthermore, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.
Below the different types of job interviews that you’re most likely to face when you are searching or applying for a job, are discussed. We will discuss the following 15 job interview types:
- 1. Behavioral Job Interviews
- 2. Case Interview
- 3. Competency-based Interview
- 4. One-on-One Interview
- 5. Exit Interview
- 6. Final Interview
- 7. Informational Interview
- 8. Group Interview
- 9. Panel Interview
- 10. Lunch or Dinner Interview
- 11. Working Interview
- 12. Phone Interview
- 13. Structured Job Interviews
- 14. Unstructured Job Interview
- 15. Mock Interviews
1. Behavioral Interview
This type of interview is usually a big part of a job interview. Behavioral-based interview questions are used to extract information from job candidates om how they handled various work situations in the past. Answers to these questions give the interviewers insights into your skills, abilities, and also your personality.
In short, this interview is conducted to get to know your behavior and how you could react to certain situations that might occur in the position that you’re applying for. The thought behind behavioral interview questions is that based on how you performed in the past, an indication of how you might do in the future is given. During the interview, the interviewers want to know how you behaved in a work-related scenario. They want to understand and hear from you how you contributed to a specific situation or how you added value.
2. Case Interview
In a case interview, the interviewer presents you with a work-related scenario and asks you how you would manage that situation if you were to be in that position. It’s up to you to research, analyze, and propose a solution to the business scenario. This specific type of interview is conducted to test your analytical and problem-solving skills within a realistic context.
Interviewers are looking for specific types of skills. However, they are there to evaluate you on your thought process and not specifically on if you can provide the right answer. This might sound strange, but they want to get an understanding of how you think and how you approach a problem.
Case interviewers are looking for you to demonstrate the following skills:
- Numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning skills
- Communication and presentation skills
- Commercial awareness and business skills
Case interviews are mostly used by management consulting firms and increasingly by tech companies and investment banks.
3. Competency-based Interview
As the name suggests, competency-based interviews are meant to test exactly that: your competence. Also called situational interviews, competency-based interviews are used to evaluate key competencies of job candidates. Competencies are behaviors, skills, and knowledge that you can bring into the role.
Based on open-ended questions, interviewers will try to discover if you possess the right skills to take on the actual job. This means that the questions are designed to let you do the talking. Competency-based interviews are often used when previous experience in a specific industry is not essential. Think of entry-level or graduate-level positions.
Example questions that you can expect during a behavioral interview are, for instance:
- Tell me about a time where you led or worked as part of a team
- Describe a situation in which you had to make a difficult decision
- Give an example of a time where you solved a problem
Tip: Listen to the interviewers’ questions carefully and don’t be afraid to take a moment to think about your answer. Provide a clear answer and use the STAR technique to structure your answer.
4. Traditional One-on-One Job Interview
The most common type of interview is still the one on one where the interviewer and the interviewee are having a conversation/discussion regarding the job position. It’s also known as the individual interview or face-to-face interview. Typically in this type of interview, you get to sit and face one interviewer and answer his or her questions. This interviewer is usually a representative of the company.
The advantages of the interviewers are that they can thoroughly assess a candidate and get the opportunity to read their body language while being able to dig deeper into their personalities.
The advantage of a job candidate is that they can practice and rehearse specific answers to questions that you anticipate based on the job profile. In other words, you get the opportunity to show your skills and explain them based on actual scenarios.
Example questions that you can expect during a one-on-one interview are, for instance:
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What are your greatest weaknesses?
- Tell me about yourself
- Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
- What are your career goals?
Tip: Expect open-ended questions where you need to talk about your skill set, strengths, weaknesses, experiences, qualifications and career goals. Your answer to these questions will give the interviewer and indication on how well you’d possibly perform on the job and how you fit in within the team of coworkers
5. Exit Interview
It’s a fact that employees leave a company, and when you do, there is usually a so-called exit interview where information is gathered about your experience within the company and why you left.
Exit interviews are usually conducted face-to-face between you and someone from the HR department. For the company, it’s seen as an opportunity to learn about your employee experience.
Example questions that you can expect during an exit interview are:
- What made you start looking for another job?
- What ultimately led you to accept the new job?
- How would you describe the culture of our company?
- What did you enjoy the most about your job here?
- If any, under what circumstances would you consider returning to the company?
- On what points do you think the company can improve?
- Are there any concerns about the company that you would like to share with us?
6. Final Interview
If you have made it to the final interview, you already accomplished previous interview rounds and proved that you meet all the job requirements. For the final round, interviewers usually have a shortlist of two or three candidates that will compete for the job. This is good news and bad news at the same time. The good news is that you do not have to compete with a lot of other candidates. The bad news is that, at this point, everybody is highly motivated to get the job, especially since everyone went through the entire interview process.
There are no more assessments, personality tests, screening, or technical questions. However, realize that the last step in the process is the most difficult one to take. In the final interview, you usually meet the decision-maker in the process of deciding if you will get the job or not. This could, for instance, be a human resource, team manager, or even the CEO of a company.
Questions in the final interview will mostly target the following topics:
- Projects you have worked on
- Your soft skills
- Work-related experiences
- Professional background questions
Tip: To prepare for your final interview think back on your earlier interviews and analyze the job description once more. Its important that you are able to demonstrate that you possess the needed skills for the job and you should try to build a good relationship with the decision maker during the interview.
7. Informational Interview
During an information interview, you have an informal conversation with someone who works in a professional area of interest to you. This type of interview is used to gather information about an industry, a career field, a firm, or a particular job position. However, in this case, you are the interviewer.
It’s up to you to set up a meeting with somebody who is knowledgeable in the areas that you are interested in. It might feel awkward at first to reach out to people you don’t know. However, see it as an opportunity network; most people actually enjoy taking out a few moments of their day to reflect on their professional life and give advice on their experience. Try to reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances and ask if they know anyone in the industry that you’re interested in, to make a connection.
There are several benefits to informational interviews, such as:
- First of all, it’s an interview without stress. It’s an opportunity for you to gain information and freely talk about the industry, the market, the career possibilities, and more.
- You will get information about the field of work that you did not know before. Also, you will find out about specific career paths that you probably did not know existed.
- Get insider information and tips about how to prepare for and land your first position in the industry of your choice.
- Networking! Professional relationships and a network of contacts in the field you want to work in can be crucial in finding the right job for you in the future. Try to go out and meet new people who might be able to help you further your career now and in the future.
During your informational interview, you’re able to make a great impression and ask questions such as:
- How did you get your start in this field of work?
- What is it like to work at your company?
- What kind of projects are you working on right now?
- What do you think about [i.e., interesting industry development]?
8. Group Interview
A group interview is when a group of employees together form a panel to interview one candidate or when an employee or team of employees interviews multiple job candidates at the same time, which is called a panel interview (discussed below). This type of interview is used by companies to effectively find the right candidate for the job and expedite the process of interviewing candidates.
In this particular group interview, there are multiple job candidates and one or more interviewers. This format is often used when employers are looking to hire for more than one position in a short amount of time. It allows them to save time and money on the interviewing process. It’s known that this group interview format is used in industries such as retail, hospitality, and the food service industry.
Your goal during this interview is to stand out in a positive way so that you can clear the way toward a solo interview. This first-round interview can be nerve-wracking, but it’s also an opportunity to show what you got.
Example questions that can be asked during a group interview are, for instance:
- Who in the group would you hire based on what you know about the other candidates? Why?
- What skills do you think are important to succeed in this position?
- What made this teamwork successful as a group?
Tip: It’s essential to show that you’re a team player, even though the other participants are competitors for the position you’re applying for. Therefore, make friends and involve everyone in the group activities. Don’t talk constantly to be noticed and make sure what you’re saying is contributing and unique to the conversation.
9. Panel Interview
A panel interview might feel intimidating because you have a conversation with multiple interviewers at the same time. It’s important to remember that these people are here for you and that they see potential in you as a candidate; otherwise, they would not have taken time out of their day to get together to interview you.
The panel that interviews you usually consists of representatives from different units or departments of the organization. Think of an HR manager, department manager, and someone who’s the leader of the team that you could be working in, should you get the job. Due to the fact that all panelists come from different backgrounds, each one will consider your resume and responses to questions differently.
Tip: Find out who your interviewers are in advance so that you can research who they are and what they do. This will give you the ability to prepare better because you can make an educated guess about who will ask what kind of questions.
This type of interview is used by organizations because it’s an easy way for a group of people to get to know a job candidate quickly. Therefore, The panel interview replaces the multiple individual interviews you would normally have, saving the company both time and money.
Example questions that can be asked during a panel interview are, for instance:
- Give us an example of how you effectively communicate at work
- Why do you want this position in this company?
- Describe a project in which you worked together with another department to complete a project
10. Lunch or Dinner interview
Even though this type of interview is less common than, for instance, a traditional one-on-one interview, they are still used. A reason for companies to take a job candidate out for lunch or dinner is that it gives them an opportunity to evaluate their social skills in a more casual environment. Such skills are, for instance, important in positions where there is a lot of client interaction. The interview could be conducted with one or more members of the hiring team.
Remember that this type of interview is meant to be less formal, so you can relax a bit more and be more open. A lunch or dinner interview is not one-sided. Engage in conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions back to keep the conversation going.
Tip: Make sure to dress appropriately for the occasion, just as you would for a regular interview in the office. Also, make sure to leave a good impression and show that possess good table manners.
11. Working Interview
When you’re invited to a working interview, the preparation can be stressful. So, what can you expect? How should you prepare? These are questions that every working interview candidate has.
This type of interview is an opportunity for an employer to have a job applicant prove their job skills to them. You will perform the job duties alongside a supervisor and sometimes also co-workers. This will also give the recruiting organization insights into whether you fit the team and company culture.
To prepare for your working interview, make sure that:
- You know about the company’s history, market activity, and strategy
- You’re dressed according to the dress code of the company
- You have the right mindset; think positively
Tips for the working interview:
- The interview starts once you enter the building. Treat everybody with respect and behave professionally
- Put your phone on silent
- Maintain an open body language
- Listen carefully before answering questions
- Speak clearly with enthusiasm and avoid being monotonous
- Remain calm, even if things are not going well. The more you stress, the more focus you’ll lose
Tip: Approach a working interview as a two-way street. This means that you should show your skills and prove that you’re a good fit for the company, but this is also your opportunity to find out if the company and the job are a good fit for you. Therefore, ask plenty of questions about the position and the company. Also, make sure, that besides the task you’re performing, you also get some time to talk to colleagues.
12. Phone Interview
Phone interviews are usually conducted in the early stages of the interview process as an initial screening of job candidates. This initial screening is done to make sure that the candidates that advance to the next round at least meet the minimum requirements for the job.
This interview is probably the first time you’ll speak with a hiring company representative. Some companies use one phone interview, while others request two or even three calls before you’re invited to an in-person interview. Usually, a phone interview will be scheduled in advance by email or via phone.
Remembering that you cannot use your body language to get the point across during the phone interview is important. It’s therefore important that you think about your tone of voice and speak calmly and clearly on the phone. An advantage is that you can have all your notes in front of you that you have used to prepare.
Tips to prepare for your phone interview:
- If you get the call from a recruiter and its not a convenient time, ask to reschedule. However, only do this if the interviewer calls you at a time that was not agreed on via email or phone before.
- Clear the room of any distraction. Make sure it’s quiet in there too.
- Create a list of items you would like to tell in response to the interviewer’s questions.
- Have your resume and cover letter nearby.
- Have a pen and paper available to take notes.
The preparation of your phone interview is basically the same as the preparation you would have for a traditional face-to-face interview. Example questions that you can expect during a phone interview:
Background and experience questions
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Questions regarding work history such as job descriptions
- What were your responsibilities?
Job profile and company questions
- Why do you want this job?
- Tell me about what you know about the role
- What do you want to work at this company?
- What value can you add to the team?
- Are you interviewing with other companies?
- What challenges are you looking for in a job?
Questions about you
- Tell me about yourself/your background
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How would you describe yourself?
- What motivates you?
Besides answering questions, make sure you have some questions to ask the interviewer as well. This will show that you have thought the position through and that you are well-prepared.
13. Structured Interview
Employers use this type of interview to compare the job candidates to each other. Typically, the interviewer throws the same question to candidates and takes note of their answers. With their answers, he judges them to know who has the skills and abilities needed by the company.
14. Unstructured Interview
In this type of interview, there is room for flexibility. The questions, even if they have been prepared in advance, can be changed based on the candidates’ response. The interviewer just flows with the direction of the conversation. This type of interview is rather casual than formal.
15. Mock Interview
This is not the main job interview but an avenue for you to practice for the interview and get to know your performance. A career coach, a counselor, or a mentor will be in the best position to conduct this interview for you. They will give you the most honest and, therefore, best feedback. However, in their absence, a friend or a family member can do this for you.