Top 10 Types of Job Interviews
Why so Many Kinds of Interviews?
During an employment interview, you and your potential new employer become acquainted to see if you both might be a good fit.
The interviewer will examine your qualifications and you will evaluate the company's pros and cons as a potential employer.
Different types of interviews exist, used according to how the employer wishes to obtain information from you. It is very important that you recognize the various types and flow with them. If you go against the grain of the format and try to change the interview type from your side of the interview, you will likely not be hired.
If you encounter a type of interview that you really don't like, you may not like working for that company, either.
"Shock and Awe" Interviews
Employers and HR departments have a variety of ways to interview job applicants and some may surprise or even shock you.
Many companies are drifting away form the traditional one-on-one interview in favor of new settings and new techniques. Look over the Top Ten Interview scenarios below and prepare yourself for all of them.
Remember that the better you know yourself, can express verbally what is on your resume, and answer questions, the better you will fare in any of the following Interview Types.
Top Ten Types of Job Interviews
- Screening Interviews: In-Person or Via Telephone – To weed out the first cut of rejections.
- Directed Traditional Interview (One-on-One)
- Panel or Committee – I have been interviewed by two people and by ten people.
- Behavioral Interview
- Lunch or Breakfast Meeting
- Group Interview of All Applicants – This is another weeding process.
- Audition (Working Interview) – Dental offices use this one. Sales companies sometimes use it. It amounts to a one-day internship, usually unpaid.
- Stress Interview – You may feel attacked during this one.
- Serial or Follow-Up
The Final Selection Interview
1. Screening Interviews: In-Person or Via Telephone
Job applicant screening is done by written application/resume, online application (read by humans and computers) or some sort of employment testing, followed by a telephone call. Screening is used to screen out and reject applicants that do not meet the qualifications of the job.
Your goal in screening is to interest the interviewer enough to ask you to come into the office for a full interview. Be ready to answer questions fully over the telephone and have a copy of your resume in front of you. If you take a test, do your best and don't put down just anything.
Computer software can weed out the resumes of those least likely to succeed, very quickly. Human screeners will spend just 20–30 seconds scanning your resume and if keywords matching the advertised job description do not appear, they will discard it on the first cut.
Screen interviewers will also scan for gaps in work history and apparent inconsistencies. They can also determine whether your salary requirement is over the company's budget.
- Write your resume to match the job you are trying to fill and keep a record of where you apply so you will remember the companies when they call.
- Keep your resume by the telephone or with you in a folder.
- Put a business-like greeting on your voice-mail or answering machine.
- Answer questions immediately, with good grammar and a confident voice. No slang or mumbling!
- Verbally point out accomplishments and skills that match the job description.
- If asked, give a moderately wide range of income figures.
- DON'T answer your Call Waiting when you are interviewing.
- DON'T eat, chew gum, or drink anything on the phone.
- DO ask when you can come in for a full interview.
In-person screening is usually done nowadays when there is a Job Fair or an Employment Open House in which a company is taking applications on the spot. They will have interviewers that will speak very briefly with all applicants and invite the ones who are qualified to the company office for a full interview.
2. Directed (Traditional) One-on-One Interviews
The interviewers have a definite plan for the interaction and you must follow it. They likely ask the same questions of every applicant so follow their lead, listen carefully and answer questions fully.
At the end of the interview, supply information you think is important but that they did not ask, ask your own questions about the company and ask when the selection process will be completed.
3. Behavioral Interviews
Here, interviewers use a set of questions related to specific job skills. You will be asked about problem-solving skills, leadership, conflicts, initiative, etc.
- Practice talking about your skills and qualifications that fit the new job.
- Think about your work, volunteering, and education and prepare stories that feature your skills.
4. Panel or Committee Interviews
These interviews are good for companies that require teamwork.
You may be interviewed by the head of HR, the department head where you will work, your future co-workers, or other important people all at once. Treat them all with the same respect and sense of importance.
5. Lunch or Breakfast Interviews
Don't let food lull you into a false sense of security. This is still a business interview. Use good table manners as well as all your other etiquette. The presence of food sometimes makes an applicant relax and reveal all their negative points, so be careful.
- DON'T sit until the interviewer does.
- DO order a meal slightly less expensive than that of the interviewer.
- DON'T start eating until they do.
- DON'T order anything messy.
- If they order dessert, DO also order a dessert - it can be as simple as fruit.
6. Group Interviews
These interviews set one job applicant against two or more—or several—others in a group.
This format will show your style, professionalism, and leadership skills.
You are actively competing against other job applicants; much like The Apprentice TV show. There may be multiple interviewers at the front of the room or walking around as well.
- Develop your communication skills and reasoning in a group setting.
- Treat everyone with respect, even when you disagree.
- DON'T get into a shouting match and DO pay attention to the main interviewer.
7. Audition (Working Interview)
Dancers, singers, graphic artists, sales people, computer programmers, and others must often audition by showing their skills firsthand, or by presenting their portfolios of work to a potential employer.
Dental assistants and technicians also often work one full day at standard pay rates for their city to see how they perform and how they get along with the rest of the office staff.
If a presentation is required, it is expected to be usually 10–15 minutes long and involve charts and graphs, likely in PowerPoint and presented on a laptop or electronic tablet.
8. Stress Interviews
Fraternity-style hazing seems to be occurring in some job interviews, so be on the lookout for this and enter every job interview fully rested, alert, and calm.
React cooly if an interviewer begins to verbally grill you in an aggressive manner.
If you encounter a seemingly rude or abusive type of interview, think a lot about it before accepting a job with this company. Was the interview a real snapshot of what it is like to work for that company, or did the interviewer somehow seem to take a perverse pleasure in treating you poorly?
If you are an officially EEOC protected minority class, this type of interview may cross the line to become illegal, so check with legal counsel if you encounter such a situation.
In a stress interview, perhaps you'll wait an hour for the interviewer to ever show up. They may sit silently staring at you during the interview and act disgusted with you for no reason you can determine. They will challenge you strongly and try to insult you. Your reaction to all this shows how you will stand up to the management and staff, clients, vendors, and others associated with this organization.
Tip: Memorize your major discussion points so that they will come to mind immediately, even if you are caught off guard. Be polite and smiling, no matter what they say or do to you. If they cross one of your personal boundaries or become physical, thank them for the interview and make your exit.
Was the interview a real snapshot of what it is like to work for that company?
9. Serial or Follow-Up Interviews
You may be called back for a second, third, or fourth interview. In a company that had 1,000s of job applicants, the resume scanning and interviewing process goes through many weeding "cuts," so be patient and be ready for a series of interviews.
If you meet the same interviewer again, use this time to restate your qualifications, then to build rapport and more firmly establish that you will be an asset to the company and also fit their operational culture.
You may meet with the interviewer's supervisor, a department head, or even the vice president or president of the company.
10. The Final Selection Interview
There is usually one final decision maker in the hiring process and after your first, second, or third interview with the company, you will meet this decision-maker.
With each additional interview, you have survived the list of applicants that have bee examined and cut, so this is a good thing. Continue to have patience and continue the interviewing process to its natural end.
All of the interviewers' opinions will be considered by the final decision-maker. This person may even ask the janitor and the receptionist what they think of you. Be friendly, polite, and professional to everyone and give them all equal respect while selling your qualifications to each one.
Much success in your interviewing experiences!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2007 Patty Inglish MS