Different types of interviews and how to succeed
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 12 January 2023
Published 25 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
As you navigate your career, you may encounter various types of company interviews. While all employers use interviews to get to know more about you and your qualifications, their interview styles may differ. Understanding the different types of interviews can help you best prepare for a variety of scenarios. In this article, we explain what an interview is and list the various types of interviews you may encounter.
What is an interview?
An interview is a structured conversation where an interviewer asks you questions to assess your qualifications as they relate to a job opening. They often involve a variety of general and job-specific questions that can help determine your fit for the role. After a successful interview, you may advance in the interview process or receive a job offer.
Common types of interviews
Recruiters may conduct a variety of different interviews to find the best fit for a job opening. Preparing for different interview styles can help you present yourself as a strong candidate no matter the situation. Here are different types of interviews to consider:
During a traditional interview, you and an individual from the company you're interviewing with meet to discuss your credentials. You're often interviewed by a manager, a supervisor or the business owner in an office or conference room. They ask you questions about your qualifications, your prior work experience and your relevant skills.
Answer each question directly and maintain eye contact. If you have multiple interviewers, learn each person's position before the interview so you know how to direct your questions.
Related: How to prepare for an interview
A phone interview is an introductory interview wherein a recruiter calls you with basic questions to determine your candidacy. Recruiters often use phone interviews to screen a large pool of job applicants. They often have you tell them about yourself and follow up with questions about why you applied for the position.
If they think you might fit the job qualifications, they may ask to schedule a traditional, in-person interview. If you're interviewing for a remote position, a phone interview may serve as a formal interview. For a phone interview, look for a quiet location that's free from distractions.
During a video interview, employers assess your qualifications by holding an interview through a video platform. Remote employers often use teleconferencing or video interviews to find suitable job candidates for their open positions. To succeed in a video interview, act as if it's a traditional interview. Prepare for questions ahead of time, dress professionally and clean the space where you plan to hold the video interview. It's also important to find a place that's free from loud noises and distractions.
In a group interview, a company interviews multiple people at one time. While this type of interview lends itself to a competitive environment, it's important to remain polite, professional and friendly to the other job candidates. Offer answers that can help you stand out among the competition and listen to what the other candidates say and ask so you can think of a unique answer for the same question.
A panel interview is an interview where multiple people evaluate your candidacy at once. Companies may hold panel interviews if the position you're interviewing for involves you reporting or working alongside multiple people. When you answer questions during a panel interview, provide a direct answer to the person who asked it and make sure to maintain regular eye contact with everyone else on the panel. As with other interviews, research the positions of the other interviewers so you know where to direct your questions.
These interviews take place away from the business location. For example, employers may ask you to meet for a meal or for coffee to get to know you and your qualifications. They may also invite other managers or their colleagues. Though the location may seem informal compared to a traditional office setting, it's important to act professionally. Order something similar to the interviewer and select something easy to eat while you speak.
Employers hold stress interviews to determine your ability to handle pressure. They often use this type of interview when filling a high-stress position. During a stress interview, an interviewer asks you unusual questions that don't relate to your background or experience. For example, an interviewer may ask you to solve a puzzle or have you complete an odd task. They do this to determine your typical performance in a high-stress situation. To succeed, remain calm and professional.
During a case interview, an interviewer poses a hypothetical business situation for you to analyse and solve. Oftentimes, the cases they present were real-life situations that occurred at the company. Industries like the technology and finance industry may use a case interview to assess your problem-solving skills and determine how you may handle similar situations upon hire. If you find yourself in a case interview, read the instructions thoroughly to ensure you provide the interviewer with the right answer.
Job fair interview
A job fair interview is an interview held between a job fair attendee and a company representative or recruiter. Companies often send both representatives and recruiters to speak to job fair attendees about their open positions and the company in general. When you speak to these representatives, they may ask you questions about your qualifications and may even ask for your resume.
Before attending a job fair, print several copies of your resume so you can hand them to any companies you're interested in. Prepare to speak about your qualifications and your interest in their company. Use the opportunity to learn more about the company and ask them thoughtful questions. At the end of the job fair interview, ask for their business card to stay in touch and follow up with a thank-you email where you can ask them about the next steps in the hiring process.
An on-the-job interview gives you the opportunity to highlight your skills as they relate to the job you're interested in. During an on-the-job interview, you may get asked to complete real job tasks. For example, if you're applying for a job as an editor, the interviewer may ask you to edit an article based on certain style guides. Prepare for a variety of scenarios for this type of interview and for completing various tasks related to the position you're interviewing for.
During a behavioural interview, an interviewer discovers how you may act in certain situations. The questions an interviewer asks require more than a yes or no answer. Prepare for a behavioural interviewer by thinking of your previous work experiences and how they relate to the job you're interviewing for. Then, prepare your answers to various behavioural questions you may receive.
A competency-based interview involves an interviewer asking you questions to assess your relevant skills and experiences. To prepare for a competency-based interview, read the job description to identify which of your skills align with what the employer's looking for. Consider how you've used these skills in your past work experiences so you can provide the interviewer with a detailed answer.
A final interview is the last interview before a company determines if they want to hire you. You may make it to the final interview if you successfully completed the previous interviews. Final interviews often involve you speaking with the CEO or other senior-level employees.
Before heading to your final interview, think of the preliminary interviews and what you discussed with the interviewer. Then, think of any additional insight you can provide that can help them see why you're the best fit for the role.
An informal interview is an interview that's more laid back compared to a traditional interview. Recruiters often hold this type of interview during the screening process to get to know you better. It often consists of a casual conversation in an informal setting like a coffee shop. Prepare for an informal interview by knowing why you want to work for the company and what you want out of the job. If you don't already have a job in mind, the recruiter may help you find a good fit based on your qualifications.
An informational interview is an interview that helps you learn about a company, its job opportunities and its workplace culture. Taking part in an informational interview helps you identify your career options. To get the most out of an informational interview, conduct research on the company and prepare questions you want to ask.
A mock interview is a practice interview you can conduct to improve your interviewing skills. You can conduct a mock interview with a trusted family member or friend who can provide you with helpful feedback. Hold multiple mock interviews to best assess your interviewing strengths and weaknesses. As you continue to hold these mock interviews, look for ways to apply the feedback you received.
Explore more articles
- How To Answer 'Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself'
- Interview question: 'what are your hobbies?' (with tips)
- Top Customer Service Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
- 35 stakeholder management interview questions and answers
- 39 incident manager interview questions (with answers)
- Common mental health interview questions and answers
- 35 florist interview questions (with sample answers)
- 10 common C++ interview questions for programming roles
- Interior designer interview questions (with example answers)
- Outstanding interview lesson: sample questions and tips
- 8 Common Administrative Assistant Interview Questions
- How to answer 'What do you like least about your job?'