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The 9 types of interviews you should know about

August 31, 2022 - 13 min read

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What is a job interview?

9 interview types

Common interview questions

Moving forward: interview essentials to carry with you

Gone are the days when the hiring process was a quick chat and a handshake before you knew if you landed the job or not. 

Now, you have to be prepared for many types of interviews that require you to show your specific skills and experience in all sorts of ways. Perhaps you'll have a panel interview, a case interview, or no face-to-face interview at all. 

But in 2017, Glassdoor found the average length of the U.S. job interview process was almost 24 days. Most positions require several rounds of interviews, which can draw out the process — and means you might have several different job interview types. 

Job interviews come in all shapes and sizes. If you've only had more traditional interviews that ask you a series of questions, you might be surprised. You don't want to be caught off guard, so the best thing to do is research to prepare.

That's what we're here to help with. We'll explain the common types of job interviews and not-so-common types so you feel more comfortable during the hiring process. Plus, we'll share some interview tips that apply to all formats to help you land your dream job.

What is a job interview?

A job interview is an opportunity for job candidates to meet with hiring managers to demonstrate why they should be hired for an open role. The hiring managers evaluate the candidate to gather information on them to see how they'd benefit the team and do the job. It's where candidates try to make a good first impression and hope to advance in the hiring process.

But here's the thing: The hiring process isn't usually just one singular interview. One job interview isn't enough to decide whether a candidate is a right fit for the role. That's why all sorts of different types of interviews come in handy. They evaluate the interviewee in different ways to assess their technical or soft skills

In fact, studies have found that relying only on a conversation with someone is an unreliable way of evaluating them. A better hiring process should include exercises, samples, and other tests to see if the candidate is a good fit. A combination more accurately demonstrates their abilities.

The type of interview you do might depend on the job you're applying for, but they all have the same purpose: to see how you'd handle your roles and responsibilities and what positive impact you'd have on the company. 

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9 interview types

Sometimes interviews are quite unstructured and you go with the flow. Other times, they're semi-structured interviews, and the hiring manager has a schedule or list of questions to follow. You could even have a screening interview, where you'll be asked a few basic questions before the first official interview. 

It's understandable to be intimidated by job interviews. But putting in the effort to learn more about the hiring process and what may be expected of you will help you feel more comfortable. You'll know what to expect and how to succeed in each type of interview.

Here are nine different types of interviews for you to review:

1. Traditional interview

This type of interview is the most straightforward and common you'll encounter. It's where you'll meet with one recruiter and they'll ask you a series of questions about yourself. They'll determine your competency, skills, and experience to see if you should move on to the next round.

Remember to have open and attentive body language, and make eye contact with the recruiter.

2. Lunch interview

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Make sure you have an appetite for your lunch interview. These interviews happen at a cafe, sit-down restaurant, or take-out. They aren’t very formal but still tell a recruiter a lot about you. These are more unstructured interviews and conversations tend to flow easier.

They want to see how you act outside the office and how you can communicate your skills in a casual setting.

3. Working interview

A working interview doesn't apply to all industries, but it's pretty common for industries like sales, journalism, or healthcare. It's where you'll perform a task that's part of the job. Think of it as a test run for the role. Don't expect too many questions since you'll be doing more with your hands. 

4. Case interview

Case interviews involve puzzles and problem-solving. They ask you to solve a problem that might come up in the job. These interviews are done either in-person, online, or as a take-home assignment. They could depict stressful situations or downright disasters, so be prepared to think critically and problem-solve.

5. Panel interview

How do you feel about speaking in front of a group of people? Panel interviews are several-person interviews, where several members of the panel ask questions. These interviews make it tricky to build a connection with each team member, so be mindful of making eye contact with each person. Listen thoughtfully to the questions and stay confident.

6. Group interview

Similar to a panel interview, a group interview is where multiple people come together. But this time, there are more job seekers than hiring managers. These types of interviews usually happen when the company is hiring more than one person for that position, so they try to save time by meeting multiple people at once.

You're still asked a variety of questions, and you have the opportunity to listen to other job candidates’ answers.

7. Phone interview

A phone interview is also used as a screening interview. But other times, you'll have a full-length conversation about yourself and the role with the recruiter. For people with anxiety, these interviews can be stressful.

Studies have found that people have phone anxiety because of the immediate reaction they receive from people, and they worry more about rejection or disapproval than face-to-face communication.

8. Video interview

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Video interviews became one of the most common types of interviews during the pandemic, and of course, for remote work. You'll have your interview over platforms like Skype, Zoom, or Google Meets.

The recruiter will still ask you similar questions and remember to have video call etiquette, like making eye contact over the screen and limiting distractions around you. Just make sure you have reliable internet and all the necessary equipment to avoid technical hiccups.

9. Behavioral interview

A behavioral interview lets you talk about your past experiences and how they'd help you in this role. Expect some "Tell me about a time when…" questions, too. These types of questions ask you to reflect on both positive and negative experiences and what you learned from them.

They help you demonstrate accountability and adaptability, or how you'd act in stressful situations, like when you're behind on your work or in conflict with other coworkers. 

Find someone to support you as you prepare for all types of interviews. At BetterUp, our coaches will provide the guidance you need to become comfortable with any type of interview and be confident navigating the hiring process.

Common interview questions

You can't read the recruiter's mind, but you can study some of the most common interview questions. It'll help you think about your skills, how you'll word your responses, and calm your nerves. Sometimes the unknown and unexpected make you nervous, so preparing ahead of time will help. 

Here are 10 common types of interview questions that the recruiter will ask you:

  1. Tell me about a time when you failed at work.
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. Why did you leave your last job?
  4. What's your greatest weakness?
  5. How do you define success at work?
  6. How would you describe your work style?
  7. Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict at work.
  8. What is your most in-demand skill?
  9. Tell me about a time when you reached one of your work goals.
  10. Where do you see yourself in five years?

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Knowing the questions ahead of time is one thing, but knowing how to answer them is another. Remember that they might be wondering if you’re a good culture fit, manager, or growth prospect for their team.

If you find you jump back and forth with your responses, try practicing the STAR interview method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It's a great way of framing your response because it tackles your story's beginning, middle, and end. Hint: this method is especially handy for behavioral interviews and other situational questions.

Moving forward: interview essentials to carry with you

With all the types of interviews, your head might start swirling. It's OK to be intimidated by a panel interview or be nervous about how you'd do in a working interview. But putting in the effort now to prepare yourself for all different types of interviews will serve you well. 

Even though we've just discussed various job interview types, a few essential basics apply to all of them. 

To cap off this article, here are six interview essentials to keep in mind:

1. Research the company ahead of time to learn its values, goals, and company culture 

2. Practice your responses to common questions 

3. Prepare your route to the interview or technical setup ahead of time

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4. Adopt a growth mindset and be ready to acknowledge your mistakes and failures

5. Think about how you'd like to meaningfully follow up after your interview

6. Think of questions to ask your interviewer about the job to show your interest

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Published August 31, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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