The different types of interviews

No matter if they’re the bane of your existence or just a fact of life, interviews are here to stay. And the more familiar you get with the different types of interviews, the better you’ll know how to prepare for success. In this article, we’ll break down the different styles of interviews. We’ll also give you valuable tips for each of them, so you can be ready at a moment’s notice. Some interview types are more common than others, but you can expect to come across at least one during the job application process.

What is an interview?

In its basic form, an interview is a conversation between two or more people that involves some form of questioning or assessment. However, different interview types serve different purposes. In the context of job applications, they are used by employers to evaluate a candidate’s skills and experience. Some are simple and straightforward, while others are more complex and sophisticated. It’s possible that multiple styles of interviews are used throughout the job application process. Which one you get is often beyond your control, hence why it’s important to know about them.

What are the 6 common job interview types?

1. The phone screening interview

The phone screening interview is by far one of the most common interview types. Most of the time, a screening interview comes soon after your application. If your CV or cover letter catches a hiring manager’s attention, a call is their way of saying they like what they’ve seen so far, and see you as a potential candidate.

Most phone screenings take about 15 to 30 minutes, and they include straightforward questions. These could be about your reasons for applying, your salary expectations and availability, and if you have the basic skills required to do the job. Phone interviews can be tricky, because it takes body language out of the picture. This is why it’s important to make a good first impression by giving answers using a positive tone of voice, and without rambling. We can give you some great phone interview tips to help you get prepared for this job interview type.

2. The face-to-face interview

Face-to-face interviews give your employer a chance to better understand your personality. They also allow for a more in-depth conversation about your experience, skill sets, and motives. Preparation is key for a face-to-face interview. Answering questions directly and skilfully can build a connection with your employer and move you further in the hiring process.

3. The online interview

This interview type is more common now than it used to be. With companies offering fully remote or hybrid jobs, online interviews are becoming more convenient for getting to know candidates. Many employers also carry out their screenings online instead of by phone, since the body language aspect of the interview can still be assessed.

The benefit of online interviews is that employers can use Q&A tools or other software to evaluate answers directly. In general, online interviews prove to be less stressful and more convenient. Make sure to use our online interview tips to get prepared!

4. The group interview

Although a one-on-one interview is effective, it’s not always efficient. Some employers have hundreds of candidates to sift through, and even then, have many potential candidates left over to be interviewed. This is where a panel or candidate interview comes in.

Panel interviews: These are the more common of the two types of job interviews for groups. A panel usually consists of two or more representatives of the company you’re applying for, such as a hiring manager and the department’s senior manager. The questions asked are important as they allow the different panel members to judge the best candidate from different perspectives. At the end of the interview, both parties will agree on whether you’re a good fit for the role. By putting our panel interview tips to good use, you can be sure to ace your next group interview.

Candidate interviews: This style of interview allows employers to assess multiple candidates in one fell swoop. It also makes it easier for them to compare candidates, which puts more pressure on you to perform. Questions are often more situational, and allow employers to see who can come up with the best solutions. The assessment can also include group activities or exercises, which help employers evaluate how you fit with the company culture.

5. The behavioural interview

Employers use this interview type to gauge how you handled specific situations in the past. In turn, they can determine if your past decisions align with the current role. It’s common for employers to ask behavioural questions during a traditional interview, usually as part of an exercise or assignment. These kinds of questions are best answered using the STAR technique. This will help you to paint a picture with words and illustrate your behaviour in a certain situation. You’ll want to have a few situations in mind before starting the interview, so that you can easily recall them when asked.

6. The testing interview

During a testing interview, employers will typically assign a task for you to complete within a certain timeframe. For example, they may present you with a situation, and give you five minutes to prepare an answer. For technical interviews, they may ask you to complete a coding assignment, or request you to sketch a prototype. The types of interview tests are endless, but the main purpose is to find out if you’re capable of performing under pressure, and to come up with creative and innovative solutions.

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Interview types: in short

There are many different job interview types that you can expect when applying for a new role. In summary, these are:

  • Phone screening interview
  • Face-to-face interview
  • Online interview
  • Group interview
  • Behavioural interview?
  • Testing interview

Luckily, most interviews follow the traditional face-to-face type, which is likely the one you’ll have next. However, it’s good to be prepared for various styles of interviews, so that it doesn’t come as a surprise when employers request them. If the information in this article isn’t enough to help you prepare for your upcoming interview, make sure to check out our interview tips. Or do want to start from scratch, and give your CV an overhaul? In that case, it’s worth checking out our free CV maker to give it a fresh new look. There, you’ll find helpful information to prepare for any interview you may have. Good luck!

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FAQs about interview types

  • How long should a job interview last?

  • Depending on the interview type that your employers decide to use, an interview should last between 45 minutes and an hour and a half. Typically, employers will let you know how long the interview will take, and will keep track of the time. Knowing this allows you to prepare yourself mentally, so don’t hesitate to ask.

  • What type of interview is better, online or face-to-face?

  • Both types of job interviews have their advantages and disadvantages. An online interview allows you to be in a comfortable environment, and can reduce overall pressure for both parties. They’re convenient and flexible, and don’t require much effort. Face-to-face interviews are much more personal, allowing employers to accurately assess your behaviour. It’s also a great way to build a connection.

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