Job interviews come in all sorts of different formats and styles and as a job-seeker, it is important that you know about and are prepared for all of them.
So this week, we thought we’d give you a helping hand!
Here are 9 of the most common types of job interviews you should definitely be aware of:
1. The Structured Interview
This kind of interview is formal and structured, and can include several interviewers assessing you (a “panel interview” which we’ll discuss later).
This is the most common type of interview and it usually starts with a few icebreaker questions to warm you, leading into more in-depth and formal questioning.
The interviewer may take some time to describe the company, the position and industry to you before asking about your education, work experience and extra-curricular activities.
At the end, the interviewer may ask if you have any questions, in which you should have some on hand.
I’m sure you know how this kind of interview plays out, but if you’d like some help with the basics, check out this blog post: 10 Typical Interview Questions and How to Answer Them.
2. The Unstructured Interview (AKA. “The Chat”)
This kind of interview is more laid-back and focuses on getting to know you on a more casual basis.
You may be lead through a series of open ended questions and the tone tends to lean toward conversational, in a bid to make you feel more comfortable.
When you’re faced with this kind of interview, it is important you don’t forget, this is still an interview.
Maintain professionalism and a positive tone about your qualifications for the job.
3. The Stress Interview.
This style of interview is often used when the job in question involves a fair level of day-to-day stress.
The interviewer may ask similar questions to in a normal (unstructured or structured) interview, but they may have a very different demeanor – perhaps nonchalant or even a little aggressive.
They may ask difficult questions such as brainteasers and curveballs to really test your nerve.
This is done on purpose to assess whether or not you can withstand the pressure of indifference and stress, so do try to remain cool and collected. Focus on the question, rather than how it is being asked.
4. The Behavioural (or Competency) Interview.
Behavioural (AKA competency) interviews are used a lot and within them your past performance is evaluated to predict future behavior.
Examples of these questions may include
- “Tell me about a time you had to deal with conflict…”
- “Share an experience where you demonstrated leadership…”
- “Describe a time you had to work as part of a team. What role did you take?”
The most common competencies assessed are: teamwork, leadership, communication, technical abilities, administration, motivation and flexibility.
A thorough answer should use the STAR Method: Situation, task, action and result.
Here’s a really good video about competency / behavioral interview questions and how to answer them from our friends at the Interview Academy. I strongly advise that you watch it.
5. The Panel Interview.
At a panel interview, more than one person will interview you.
From your point of view, you should treat this the same as any other interview – but just remember to keep eye contact and answer questions to everyone, rather than focusing on one person.
This kind of interview typically includes behavioral questions that will be dished out depending on the person’s role (for example, your potential manager may ask about skills and manageability) but can vary in style.
6. The Impromptu Career Fair Interview.
Impromptu interviews typically result when attending career fairs, so make sure you have a unique set of outstanding and prominent skills to present.
You will have 10-15 minutes to convince the recruiter to give you a full interview and remember you, so make sure you are friendly and interactive.
7. The Working Interview.
Sometimes, you may be asked to complete a job task as part of the interview process.
This typically happens in sectors where skills are easy to assess like the creative, engineering and sales industries.
Interviewers want to see that you can do the job you claim you can do, so be prepared and familiar with what kind of tasks they may ask you to complete.
You could even get invited to do a trial day at work (although this is rare) so, as you can imagine, it’s absolutely essential that you are ready and prepared to impress.
8. The Group Interview.
Although group interviews are not common, they do occur occasionally.
In a group interview, you will be interviewed with other people and pitted against them in a race to impress the interviewers.
Here are some tips on that:
- Remain calm.
- Make friends.
- Involve everyone.
- Be yourself.
- Listen to others.
We wrote a blog on this recently if you’d like some more advice: How to Survive a Group Interview.
9. The Lunch Interview.
I’ve chucked this one in because it’s becoming more and more common.
Interviewers like to see candidates in more of a natural light – specifically how they behave outside of an office setting.
Usually these interviews are unstructured and casual (see number 2).
I’d highly recommend researching the menu before attending a lunch interview.
You want to order something that doesn’t disturb your conversation flow. (Or get food in your teeth.)
Also – don’t worry about paying… the interviewer has invited you there, remember. They will be expecting to pay.
As you’ve probably gathered, these job interview styles often overlap.
For example, as I mentioned, your lunch interview is likely to be unstructured.
The most important tip I can give you is to ask your recruiter what you should expect, so you can use that information to structure your interview preparation properly.
If you’d like some more interview tips and careers advice, subscribe to this (weekly) blog here.
Need More Help With Interviews?
We know, preparing for interviews can be an absolute mind-boggle.
So if you need some (free) help prepping, check out this resource:
It’s short, sweet and great for structuring your preparation.
Because if you fail to prepare… you’re preparing to fail.