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The Top 6 Job Interview Types

Monday | September 18, 2017 | by Jodi Tingling

Business women in a job interview

If you have been through a company’s hiring process, then you know job interviews vary in type, intensity, and duration. From undergoing an initial screening process to meeting with multiple interviewers, the process can be manageable once you know what to expect.

The following is an overview of the top six interview types to help you prepare and succeed during your interview.

Telephone (Screening) Interviews

This type of interview is typically done over the phone as an initial screening process with the aim of assessing your skills and abilities. This helps recruiters determine if you will make it to the next step of the interview process. You will likely be asked about qualifications on your résumé, such as your work history, education, volunteer experience, etc., and your motivation for applying to the position.

Tips for success:

  • Answer your phone in a quiet space free of distractions; if you cannot speak to the recruiter when they call, provide alternative times that would be better to talk.
  • Have your résumé in front of you when speaking to the recruiter; this will help you remember your accomplishments and job duties.
  • Print a copy of the job description to help you discuss how your qualifications align with the role.
  • Take notes; the interviewer may have more information about the job that will help you for the next round of interviews.
  • Maintain proper telephone etiquette throughout the conversation; keep focused, eliminate background noise, listen to the recruiter, and respond appropriately.

Virtual Interviews

This type of interview is usually done by video conference using Skype or another virtual platform. Employers will choose this type of interview if they are located remotely or if they would like to save on resources and time to bring applicants in.

To be successful:

  • Make sure your system is set up for video conferencing and you understand the technology; have someone assist you if necessary and test your connection prior to the interview.
  • Dress the part; dress as if you are attending a face-to-face interview, this means appropriate grooming as well.
  • Look into the camera and maintain eye contact as if you were there in person.
  • Prepare notes or have your résumé in front of you to help you remember your accomplishments and applicable experience.
  • Check what is visible around you; the area behind you should be neat and tidy and not create a visual distraction.

Related article: How to Ace a Video or Phone Interview

One-on-One Interviews

This type of interview is a more traditional format and usually includes you and the hiring manager discussing your qualifications for the role.

Tips for success:

  • Conduct research on your interviewer; find out recent projects they have worked on as a potential topic to discuss as it relates to the role.
  • Come prepared: Do your research on the company and have speaking points ready on what you can contribute to the company and why you want to work there.
  • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand the question; it is better to have a question repeated than answer it inaccurately.

Panel Interviews

A panel interview includes two or more people interviewing you. There may be two to six interviewers in the room; this can include members of the team, managers from other departments, and human resources personnel. The purpose of this interview is to see how well you perform in stressful situations and to help the hiring manager determine the best candidate for the position by getting feedback from other members of the team.

Special note: Make eye contact with each interviewer by rotating your head as you speak, do not only look at the hiring manager or the person asking you the questions. Remember to keep calm by preparing and practicing before going into the interview.

Group Interviews

A group interview is conducted with more than two applicants at a time. With this interview format, each person gets asked the same question and has a turn to answer. The purpose of this type of interview is for employers to interview multiple candidates at a time and to see how you present yourself in front of others.

How to stand out:

  • Speak up; make sure your voice is heard, don’t let your opinion get lost because there are other candidates in the room.
  • Do not repeat the answers of others; be specific and provide examples to strengthen your speaking points.
  • Ask insightful questions. Conduct research on the industry and the company to develop thoughtful questions.
  • Follow-up. At the end of the interview, ask for business cards from the interviewer, send an email thanking them for their time and restate your interest and suitability for the position.

 Related article: 5 Questions to Ask in Your Next Job Interview

Behavourial-Based Interview

The focus of this type of interview is on getting to know more about your past behaviour within a work environment. The interviewer will typically ask questions that start with “tell me about a time when…” or “can you describe an instance where…”

Be prepared:

  • Have at least five examples of situations in which you used skills required for the job that resulted in positive outcomes.
  • Practice, practice, practice; rehearse the scenarios out loud, have a friend or colleague give you feedback on your interview answer.
  • Use the STAR method to develop your answers to behavioural based questions:
    • Situation: Provide an explanation of what happened (be specific on the relevance of the situation but do not overwhelm with details).
    • Task: Describe your roles and responsibilities within the situation.
    • Action: Provide a step-by-step account of your actions taken in the situation that contributed to the end results.
    • Result: Discuss the outcomes; connect your actions to the end result, include any follow-up items, what you learned, and what was accomplished.

Understanding these top six interview types will start to help you succeed in your journey to gain employment opportunities. Always learn from each interview you go through in order to strengthen your interview skills.

Jodi Tingling is a Program Manager at WES Global Talent Bridge Canada.