Whether you’re looking for your first job or are searching for a new one, learning the different types of interviews and how to prepare for them can help you land a desired position. There is often competition for a position, and often only 20% of candidates are offered an interview. With these odds, it never hurts to brush up on the types of interviews and how to ace them.
Types of Interviews
Interviews are used throughout the different stages of the hiring process, from initial screening to making a final decision. Each type of interview is designed to glean specific information, see how candidates react in scenarios, or test candidates in certain ways. Even though interviews can often be separated into types, they can also overlap. For example, you may be presented with a problem-solving question during your traditional one-on-one interview.
Types of Job Interviews
The traditional one-on-one interview is still the most common type of interview. Usually, these interviews are conducted by a hiring manager or an HR representative. They last for 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Traditional interviews often have a balance of questions. They are aimed to get to know you personally, to learn about your behavior, and to test some problem-solving. These can be done in person, though many companies are opting for Zoom interviews nowadays. This is both to protect those post-pandemic, as well as to provide more convenient scheduling for all parties.
Phone interviews are for candidates who have something appealing on their resume, but are still being screened for a future interview. These interviews are often 15 to 20 minutes. They allow recruiters to confirm a candidate’s interest and availability in a position. Additionally, they can identify salary requirements. Plus, it is a good way to see if the candidate demonstrates an overall good first impression.
Project or Case Interview
A project or case interview is concerned with testing a candidate’s technical skills. Usually, the candidate is assigned a task or project with a deadline. This is used to demonstrate their skill and how they perform on a task under pressure. Sometimes, the assignments are purposefully difficult, making it important to demonstrate a well-thought-out thinking process.
Group interviews are when multiple candidates are brought in for an interview at the same time. These interviews help hirers find an ideal candidate quickly and are structured like a group conversation. These interviews demonstrate how candidates act in a group environment and how they treat their colleagues in a high-stakes situation.
Panel interviews are when multiple staff members, usually around 3-5, interview an individual candidate at the same time. These interviews are more common in highly-structured hiring processes or when a search committee is being used to find an ideal candidate. Each member of the panel has their own agenda and will ask different questions. While it can feel overwhelming, do your best to directly answer one question at a time and then try to connect it to the interests or perspectives of the other panelists.
Mealtime interviews are more common in positions that require meetings with clients (such as sales) or frequent outings and connecting with colleagues. The interviewer will meet the candidate over lunch, usually to get to know them as a person and to examine their social skills. Watching your table manners is critical in a mealtime interview.
How to Prepare for a Job Interview
Research the Company
During the interview, you may be presented with questions related to a company, such as a favorite product or service, or how you are a good fit for company values. To prepare for these questions, it is important to understand the company you are interviewing with. Learn about their competitors and their ideals. If possible, it’s also a good idea to research your interviewer(s) to find something in their background you can connect with.
Prepare Your Answers
While each company will have its own specific questions, there are common interview questions that will pop up frequently during your job search. While you don’t have to answer any single one of these questions, look through common questions lists and think of your answers. They will help you sound prepared and confident in your interview.
You can also prepare defense answers for your weaknesses or answers that ease the interviewer’s doubts about you. For example, if you know you’re a dedicated employee that sometimes works hard or extra hours, your interviewer might be concerned if burnout will affect your performance. You can ease the interviewer’s concerns if you counter with how you counter burnout.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Even if you have your interview answers thought out, nothing beats practicing saying them out loud. This can help you get the phrasing right to sound articulate. Not to mention, it can prevent you from being paralyzed when your thoughts are racing under the pressure of an interview.
Make Sure Your Space and Technology Are Ready
For phone and video interviews, make sure that you will not be disturbed, a glass of water is ready, and that your technology works. Especially for video interviews, make sure you have a strong internet connection and that your speakers and microphone are functioning.
Speak Up About Your Selling Points
Often, interviewers won’t ask the exact questions you might want them to. If there’s something you especially want the interviewer to know, such as a specific experience or skill, it is your responsibility to bring it up during the conversation. When you’re elaborating on an experience, make sure you share the situation, the task, your actions, and the results. In group interviews, it is especially important to speak up without dominating the conversation.
Have Some Questions for the Interviewer
Having questions for your interviewer demonstrates your interest in the company and is also a great chance for you to learn more about the company, its workplace culture, and its values. Not having prepared your own questions can paint you as disinterested and less proactive.
Getting the Interview
If you’re worried about getting interviews to begin with, recruiting companies are the way to go. Here at Brightwing, we pride ourselves on matching employees with the right companies. We can aid your process of getting interviews so that you can move forward and nail them with these tips and advice tailored to your situation.