Types of Job Interviews
Job hunting is never fun.
You spend countless hours going through the listings on job boards looking for a job you qualify for. You go ahead to apply and then wait for a response. One that is never guaranteed to come.
But you wait anyway even as you follow up.
Suddenly, you’re full of joy as you get a response from one of the companies you applied to. You’re eager to get the job and start earning. Then you remember that the journey is just getting started.
There is a test coming.
You have to pass the interview. You must outshine all the other candidates.
The thought of this brings about its own challenges. It’s time to start preparing for the interview.
But even as you prepare for the interview, you also need to know the type of interview you’ll be having.
TYPES OF JOB INTERVIEWS
You may not have thought much about this but there are indeed different types of job interviews. Some of them are not very common while others are used more often.
The biggest reason why you need to know the different types is because some require unique preparation. Knowing the type of interview you’ll be undergoing helps you prepare accordingly.
And with the right preparation, you increase your chances of shining and being picked for the job.
Here is a list of job interview types which are often used in different situations. Familiarize yourself with them to stay ahead of the other candidates.
1. One-on-One Job Interview
This is by far the most common type of interview many companies do.
It’s the kind of interview that takes place between you and one representative of the hiring company. In most cases, this representative is the manager you’ll be reporting to.
With most companies doing more than one interviews, the first is the one likely to be one-on-one with your manager-to-be.
If she determines that you’ll be a good fit for the vacant position, then the next interview you’ll be having is with the HR manager.
This kind of interview is helpful for managers to make a decision in choosing what people form their teams.
For you, there is also the opportunity to interact firsthand with the person you might be reporting to.
You’re also able to get a clearer picture of what that position is all about.
If you were to ask the HR for instance, you may not get the most comprehensive answers compared to asking someone in the department you’re looking to join.
2. Panel Interview
As the name suggests, the panel interview is one where the interview is conducted by a panel of interviewers.
You may walk into the interview room and find a panel of at least three people waiting for you.
In most cases, these will be representatives of different departments.
Where the number is three, it could be managers from the HR, Accounts and the one you’re hoping to join.
This kind of interview can be challenging because it has the potential of appearing a bit intimidating.
Many companies conduct panel interviews. There are three main reasons for this:
1. Saves time – with at least three different departments represented, candidates may go through one interview only. This is contrary to what many may expect. For the company, the extra days which would have been used for the second and third interviews are saved.
The decision making process is also faster. Instead of waiting for three interviews so as to compare notes, interviewers can do this at the end of the day. They can even do it immediately the interview is over. That way, the hiring decision is made quickly. Possibly on the same day.
2. Specialized questions are asked – considering that the panel is made up of representatives of different departments, every possible issue can be addressed. For instance, if the interview was only with the HR manager, you may not be able to negotiate your pay well.
The HR may look at things from the perspective of work experience and previous pay only. But the inclusion of the manager you would report to makes it easier. You can mention some technical aspects of your skills which only he understands, thus getting him to your side.
3. Various opinions are considered – the fact that there are three or more people involved in the screening of a candidate makes it possible to make a better decision. Furthermore, when all the three are interviewing you at once, they get to discuss the same responses.
This removes the challenge of one manager seeing you perform better than how you performed in the presence of another.
For the company, the panel can pick the right candidate compared to if the interview was done by one person.
3. Behavioral Interview
Behavioral interviews take a different approach in looking for the best candidate for the job. Instead of the usual questions about your academic qualification, this will focus on your past performance.
These interviews are based on the belief that your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance.
It then becomes easy to settle on a candidate because if he did well in the past, he is likely to do well in this new job.
When attending a behavioral interview, you need to keep in mind that it’s all about action.
What action are you going to take when confronted with a certain situation?
Your potential employer knows that things don’t always go as planned. So what if things go terribly wrong yet the task at hand has to be completed? Can you handle such situations?
To get you talking about any situations you have been in before, you’re likely to be asked questions like:
- Tell me of a time you handled a difficult situation which threatened to stop company operations.
- Describe a situation where you failed to achieve your goals and what you did about it.
- Have you ever dealt with a case of conflict among team members? How did you do it?
During your preparation for the interview, one thing to note is that your answer should not be short and factual.
Instead, your response should be a story.
Identify the situation in which you saved the day and tell a story around that situation.
Your aim is to paint a clear picture of how the situation was problematic.
How you understood the situation, came up with one or two ideas, shared them with the team and included them in the final execution.
This way, you show that you’re well placed to fight fires and you can also be a team leader.
Watch the below video for more explanation on how to deal with such questions.
4. Group Interview
Group interviews are not very common but some companies carry them out. In some cases, the company may reserve them for certain departments. One such department is sales.
This interview type is used when hiring many employees at the same time.
In other cases, a company may decide to use a group interview to pre-screen the candidates. This is done to narrow down on those seen to stand out from the crowd.
For example, the first interview for a higher management position may be a group interview. The company will be seeking to identify the candidates who have certain qualities which the position requires.
Here are three qualities which will be evident during a group interview.
1. Concentration and Intellectual Skills – this comes out well when the company starts the interview by making a presentation. This might take the form of a company representative speaking about a situation and requiring responses on how best to tackle it.
The first thing to be clear is the ability of different candidates to prove their concentration by retaining the information presented. The information presented will usually be required to make a good decision.
Since these interviews involve everyone, they can be very competitive. If you’re not very outspoken, you could get muzzled by the views of the rest as they seek to stand out. However, things can get tricky for anyone speaking just for the sake of doing so.
Keep in mind to use your strengths to your advantage. If you’re not outspoken but are analytical, use that. Analyze the situation and even consider the thoughts others are presenting. Not belittling them, give an answer which covers all the loopholes you saw in other responses.
2. Teamwork – it is not uncommon for the interviewers to watch the group before the interview starts. They do this mainly seeking to see if there are any interactions between the candidates. Interactions are an indication of potential teamwork.
As you may have noticed in interviews, candidates rarely talk to one another. They often sit quietly focused on their papers, revising their notes etc. Others will take out their phones and scroll through.
But once you have all been ushered into a room and you become aware of the possibility of a group interview, try starting a conversation with the candidate next to you. You can learn the art of making small talk if necessary.
If the interviewers are watching, they will notice this and it will be to your advantage. This is a sign that you are able to interact with others. Such an ability gives you credit later on when you say that you are a team player.
3. Leadership Skills – depending on how you perform on the teamwork test above, your leadership skills can also be noticed. The very fact that you started the conversation is a possible sign of leadership. Leaders usually take the lead.
Interviews create tense atmospheres. Therefore, if you start a conversation, you’ll likely be the one to sustain it unless someone else eagerly joins in. The rest of the candidates might be listening without much contribution. This paints an image of you being in control.
If still being watched, this will also be noted. As part of the conversation you have before the interviewers arrive, you will get to know a few things about your competitors. Maybe two important ones are their names and their personalities.
You can make references to what you and another candidate discussed earlier. This shows how you can connect different situations and learn from one to solve another.
Moreover, the fact that you broke the ice by starting the conversation, that in itself increases your confidence levels. High confidence will always be noticed and rewarded as long as you can maintain it.
5. Phone Interview
The phone interview is also used for pre-screening candidates. Based on your performance during the interview, you’ll proceed to one of the other types involving a physical meeting.
In some cases though, the phone interview is not just for pre-screening. It can be done as the primary and only interview. This is for the cases where a company is hiring an employee for a remote office.
Because you can never know from a job advertisement that you’ll do a phone interview, the company will notify you once your application is accepted. You will normally receive a call asking you whether the time is okay for an interview.
Some companies will give you some time options for the interview.
In case you’re not given the opportunity to choose the appropriate time, don’t worry. You should feel free to request having the interview at a particular time. Just make sure it’s not too far from when you’re called.
After agreeing on the day and time, ensure you plan for it. Here are some tips on passing a phone interview.
Be ready at least 10 minutes before the time. Choose a quiet location for the interview and confirm that the location has good network reception.
In case you were informed that it will be a video interview, make the appropriate plans. The location of the interview should be well lit.
Your face should be visible and the network reception should also be good.
Test the webcam and connection before the interview starts. Find out which software will be used so as to install it if necessary. Check out the options here.
For remote locations, companies will prefer a video call so as to see your face. This helps in creating a deeper connection and building trust.
Make sure you’re well dressed because this is an interview like any other. Every common interview skill you have learned about will likely be required here too.
6. Lunch Interview
This is arguably the trickiest type of interview any job candidate can go through. It is a challenging one for many job candidates because it includes something many don’t expect—a meal.
Obviously, the interview is not about how well you handle the knives and forks. Neither is it about your eating habits. But that doesn’t mean that you can indulge in the lunch treat as you would when at home. This is still a job interview.
Whereas you could find it difficult to concentrate on both the food and interview questions, you can still perform well.
The biggest reason many interviewers choose this type of interview is to see how well you can fit with others.
The meal is meant to create a casual and friendly environment away from the office setup. As such, you should do your best to be comfortable and not get carried away by the environment.
Check out these two tips then watch the below video for more:
1. Order a simple meal – probably the worst mistake you could ever make in a lunch interview is to order the wrong meal. This is not the time to be adventurous and try out the meal with the most difficult name to pronounce. It is best to have a meal you’re comfortable eating.
If you order a meal which you’ll struggle eating, your confidence will take a dip. You don’t want to keep struggling with the cutlery. Even worse, you might order a meal which you don’t know how to eat. Some meals are not easy to eat.
If you’re informed in advance about this interview, find out the restaurant and check it out online or in person. If visiting the restaurant, sample a simple meal and pick one you can order during the interview. If doing so online, check their menu and settle on a meal you will order.
2. Check your eating habits – as much as the interview is not about the food, you cannot afford to showcase bad eating habits. Simple table manners will go a long way in ensuring your interviewers don’t dislike you despite your qualifications.
Don’t fill your mouth with big chunks of food. Remember not to speak with food in your mouth. Say “Thank you” at the end of the meal and remember to ask questions.
7. Working Interview
A working interview is very practical and mostly comes after a session of answering questions. This is where you’re given a task to complete. This is how you show your skills and prove your qualifications.
For instance, you may have applied for a job as a network admin. In the work interview, you may be given a Wi-Fi router, some computers and a firewall device. Your task may then consist of connecting the computers to the internet while ensuring no other device can connect to the network.
If the job is for a HR position, you may be given a scenario and asked to draft a policy which protects the interests of the company.
These interviews can be fun and the best if you are a hands-on person. If you have the experience, you will easily perform well in these.
8. Stress Interview
A stress interview can be as stressful as the name suggests.
But just so you know, the stress was well intended. It’s actually the interview itself.
These interviews are designed to push you to the corner as the interviewers seek to find out your limits. They are common for higher management positions like CEO, CIO and other similar positions.
Since these positions are synonymous with pressure, the interviewers will be testing how well you can perform when under pressure.
You can expect them to pile pressure on you as they wait to see how you will respond or react.
Your interviewers will likely take on different personalities as they seek to make this interview a success.
As you respond to a question, one interviewer may cut you short by asking another question. If you move to his question, the one who asked the previous one may stare at you asking why you deemed his question less important.
You may find one interviewer being indifferent while another is rude or argumentative. If you’re new to this, you may wonder how the company functions under such leadership.
But with the knowledge of their intentions, all you need to do is stay calm.
Try your best not to be pulled into an argument with any of them. At the same time, attempt to show respect while staying calmly confident. Be tactical and hopefully, you’ll get their approval.
9. Exit Interview
The last type of an interview is one which you do while parting ways with the company. This comes at the time of your resignation or when being laid off.
Exit interviews are intended to get your feedback about the company.
You’ll be asked about your thoughts of the company, how it runs its operations and even the working environment.
Just because you’re leaving (for whatever reason), you shouldn’t speak negatively about your now-former employer. Make an effort of being objective. Point out the challenges you have faced in your work and what you would change if in a position to.
The information you provide is usually meant to give insights into employee behavior and attitudes.
It’s to be used to make the workplace better. It should be your hope that the changes you suggest get implemented or planned for so that those remaining behind enjoy working there.
With this list of interview types, we hope that you’ll be able to identify which one you’re being taken through.
Once you do that, you can then utilize the necessary skills you have acquired and prove that you’re the best fit.
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