5 Types of Job Interview Formats You Need to Know About
Follow these simple strategies and prepare to ace your next interview, no matter what form it takes.
The modern-day job interview has come a long way since its invention in 1921, when Thomas Edison designed a simple written test to evaluate a candidate's knowledge. As the employment landscape continues to evolve with innovative technologies and concepts, job seekers must also keep up with the changing times. In fact, it's more important than ever to educate and prepare yourself for the diverse types of job interview techniques and styles companies use to assess potential employees.
In your pursuit of a new job or career change, your impressive resume may get you to the next phase of the hiring process. But your ability to handle potentially stressful or challenging interviews can ultimately land you the job. Remember, employers want to know more about you than just your education and background. By using different strategies and asking specific types of job interview questions, they can gain insight into:
- how you perform under stress
- how you approach problem solving
- your ability to communicate
- whether your personality type aligns with their culture
Although there are numerous types of job interviews, in this article we list the most common ones that you can expect to encounter along your job hunt journey. We also include practical tips on how to succeed in each one.
Screening interviews are used to determine whether you're a qualified and suitable applicant before you progress to the interview proper. Prepare to answer questions about your education, experience and skills, and motivation for applying to the job. Companies will use a screening interview as a quick, lower-cost alternative to conducting a first-round interview. This typically takes place over the phone, and you're likely to be interviewed by a recruiter or human resource manager. Companies across all different industries use these types of job interview formats, but they are most often used in the finance, technology, healthcare, and education sectors.
Tips to succeed:
- Prepare well in advance – Research the company and the job requirements and remember to have your resume and a notepad in front of you. Listen actively, ask questions, and take notes so you can use that information in your follow-up interview.
- Pick a suitable location – Choose a quiet place with minimal background noise where you’ll be comfortable and free of all distractions. This will help you stay focused during the interview.
- Speak confidently and enthusiastically – Let your voice set the tone for the phone call. Do your best to convey professionalism and interest in the role, as your interviewer will be listening for this.
With new technology and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, employers have changed how they connect with job candidates. Virtual interviews have become a standard element of the application process for many companies. While some may request a phone interview, you'll most likely participate in a live video interview that's essentially an in-person interview conducted from a remote location. Companies across all industries now use virtual interviews to save time and money and make the hiring process more manageable.
Tips to succeed:
- Check your connection - Whether you're waiting for a phone call or logging on to a video platform for your virtual interview, make sure everything's working as it should. Check your internet speed, webcam, and audio quality, and make sure your phone is fully charged.
- Choose the right location – Find an environment, preferably at home, where it's quiet and well-lit, with a clutter-free backdrop so the interviewer can focus on your responses without distractions.
- Be professional – Treat your interview in the same manner as an in-person conversation. Dress appropriately, maintain good eye contact, smile, and use positive body language.
This method uses specific types of job interview questions to assess how you have behaved and handled situations in the past. A behavioral-based interviewis designed to examine your past performance and successes at work. This is an indicator of how you will behave in the future, should you be hired.
While there are not necessarily right or wrong answers, you will need to talk about your past accomplishments, challenges, and experiences using real-life examples, so preparation is essential. This style of interviewing is used across various industries, although larger corporate companies in the technology, finance, and healthcare sectors more typically use this method to assess if you'll fit into their culture.
Tips to succeed:
- Prepare real-life success stories – Behavioral questions tend to focus on themes such as leadership, teamwork, conflict, and problem-solving. Take your cues from the job description and choose a few real-life examples that would be appropriate within each of these themes and write them down beforehand.
- Use the STAR method to respond – Your stories and examples should include the situation you were in, the task you had to carry out, the specific actions you took, and the results you achieved. Using this method will allow you to show your detailed thought process to the interviewer.
This type of interview (also called a board or committee interview) is typically conducted by two or more hiring team members. The panel could include an HR manager, a supervisor, and other decision-makers. The purpose of these types of job interview formats is to learn about your communication style, ability to build rapport, and how you perform under pressure.
While it may seem nerve-wracking, a panel interview is beneficial to all involved, as it improves the efficiency of the hiring process and enables the panelists to make more informed and collaborative decisions. It can also give you a sneak peek into what the company culture and structure looks like.
This interview method is typically used in academic institutions and government organizations, or for senior-level executive positions in finance, technology, and healthcare.
Tips to succeed:
- Research the Panelists – Ask the recruiter to provide you with the names and job titles of those you will be meeting. Learn about them through the company website and their social media profiles. This can help you craft useful talking points during the interview.
- Prepare thoughtful questions to ask – This will show your enthusiasm and motivation for the job. Make sure to direct each question to a specific panelist and remember to engage with every person in the interview.
- Practice your communication skills – It's essential to practice dealing with a group dynamic. Think of the interview as a business meeting. Make eye contact with everyone, display confidence, smile, and remain calm and composed.
The idea behind these types of job interviews is to evaluate how you can analyze and solve a challenging business situation. During the interview, you'll typically get a case study and a set of instructions to review. Then you'll have to ask questions and formulate a logical argument for your solution to the problem. You could also be given a puzzle or brain teaser to assess your analytical, logical reasoning, and creative problem-solving skills.
While management consulting companies have used case interviews for decades, it is now commonly used in the technology, finance, medical and engineering sectors as well.
Tips to succeed:
- Practice the case-study process – This is extremely important as you don't want to show up to the interview unprepared. You can find plenty of free sample cases online from within your industry. You can even do a mock interview with a friend or family member first.
- Ask clarifying questions – You should feel comfortable asking your interviewer precise questions to obtain additional information. It's essential to extract as much data as possible so you can arrive at an intelligent solution.
- Be prepared to take notes – Bring a notepad so you can jot down your thoughts and questions after you receive the case. This will help you break down your analysis into cohesive parts.
Land More Job Interviews with Help from Monster
Are you looking for a new career and need more tips and guidance to get there? Now that you know the various types of job interview formats and techniques, you can start polishing your interviewing skills. Create a free profile on Monster and search for your next opportunity. As a member, you'll get expert career advice, interview insights, and job search tips straight to your inbox. We'll also put your resume in front of recruiters to get you one step closer to your next interview.