Types of Interviews

Types of InterviewsAs companies and job seekers continue to evolve, especially with the advent of the internet, interviewing has become increasingly important as the availability of positions and applicants has increased. Below is a listing and description of various types of interviews:

Definition of Interview from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: 1- a formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications 2- a meeting at which information is obtained from a person

Informational Interview: An informational interview can be a form of networking. It is set up at the prompting of the job seeker or person who desires to obtain more information from an expert, person of authority or person with a special vantage point. An informational interview isn’t considered a formal interview for a specific position rather it is generally short in nature and somewhat informal. The informational interview is intended to share and gather information for advice, company/employer insight, career fields or job requirements. As a person requesting an informational interview, you should be prepared with a clear goal of the type of information you want to gather and share. Informational interviews can be a great way of obtaining referrals for job openings thus expanding your personal network as well as making an impression on the contact for future positions.


  • Have your goal clear
  • Prepare questions ahead of time
  • Ask for a specific amount of time and adhere to it
  • Read as much about the company as possible prior to meeting
  • Bring resume and business cards to give
  • Follow up with a thank you note

Screening Interview or Phone Interview: A phone screen interview is a very cost effective, time saving way for a recruiter or company to gather further information for the hiring process. Generally, a phone screen is very brief lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour. Some organizations have professional phone screeners, whose whole purpose is to determine if someone is NOT a match. A phone screen can be impromptu or scheduled, depending on the person generating the call. As a job seeker, you should always treat a phone screen the same as you would a formal, in-person interview. It is more important to highlight accomplishments than your personality as a phone screen is intended to find reasons to disqualify you as a candidate. A disqualification is based primarily on skills and experience. However, because a job seeker has to rely solely on their phone presence, they need to be positive and energetic while interacting with the phone screener.


  • If possible, ask to schedule the phone screen so you can prepare
  • Have your supporting materials available to review, such as resume to ensure you make your key points
  • Be prepared to ask them questions about the position
  • Be prepared for salary to be a screening question

Panel/Group/Committee Interview: There are many variations and terms used for this category of interview. Usually it involves having multiple people involved in the interviewing process for the hiring company but it can also include all of the candidates being considered in the room at the same time(although not a frequent process). Either way, this can be an intimidating situation to be in as a candidate. The organization for this process can range from all company people being in the same room at the same time to each person meeting individually with the candidates. The purpose of the group interview is to provide multiple input and perspectives on a given candidate. The goal for this type of process is to reduce the level of subjective decision making and to validate opinions regarding the candidate. Depending on the organization, the decision process can be democratic or still held by the hiring manager. Many times there are specific roles, questions or insight each interviewer is assigned to give or obtain during a group interview.


  • When the entire interviewing group is in one room, make eye contact with each person
  • Obtain names and positions for each person
  • Observe the group dynamic in order to understand any rules; if you need to ask questions

Individual or Personal Interview: This is the most commonly known interview. It is held one on one and the location can vary but is usually in the business office of the hiring company. The length of a personal interview can vary from 30 to 90 minutes with the average length at 1 hour. During an interview, the interviewer can deploy various interview methods, which are listed below.


  • Ascertain the length of the interview ahead of time. Interviews under an hour require the job seeker to be very succinct in responses and must be prepared to quickly move topics.
  • The length of time allotted for an interview is not a reflection of qualifications but rather time constraints of the interviewer

Interview Methods: The following interview methods can be used in combination or stand alone during the course of an interview.

  • Behavioral: Candidate is given a scenario or asked about a past situation to determine multiple aspects to a candidate, in a deeper way. The candidate usually tells a story, explains the situation, action taken and results.
  • Standard: Questions asked about work experience, skills, education, opinions and background.
  • Stress: Not commonly done but occasionally hiring companies will test the reactions, personality and behavior of a candidate by setting up a situation so they can observe how a candidate reacts. Examples are making them wait longer than expected, asking inappropriate questions or creating an accident like spilled water.
  • Directive: A hiring manger or team may use a “script” of specific questions with each applicant in order to compare responses.
    Interview variations: The interviews listed above are the most common types and circumstances; however there are some other variations that are noteworthy.

Mealtime Interview: This interview is conducted over a meal either at a restaurant or conference room. The meals can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. While it is usually done to save on time, sometimes it is done as a deliberate attempt to observe the behavior of the candidate. A candidate needs to be cautious about the food selection, so they aren’t awkward or spilling food and alcohol needs to be limited. Priority should be given to verbal interaction over consumption.

Follow up/Second Interview: This interview may be conducted following a “first cut” or “first round” of interviews. A second interview can be done to expand on the knowledge gained from the first interview, to gain clarity on specific topics and to expose the candidate to additional interviewers to gain additional insight. The job seeker should treat this interview the same as a personal interview, with the same level of preparations.

This information was provided to you by MBA Highway. We hope you have found it useful to your job search and career development.

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