How to Succeed in 8 Common Job Interview Types
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 5 January 2023
Published 12 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.
When you're applying for jobs, you may encounter several different interview types. Companies choose various interview formats based on what they want to know about candidates, their locations and efficiency. Understanding common types of job interviews can help you perform better during your interviews and boost your chances of securing a job. In this article, we describe the different styles of interviews and how to approach them to increase your chances of success.
Common interview types
Interviewers use a variety of different interviewing styles to assess the skills of job applicants. Adapting to different types of job interviews can make you desirable for a range of positions. Ask the hiring company what format your interview will take, unless they supply this information in their interview request, so you can prepare yourself. Here are some of the most common interview style formats that employers use:
1. The one-on-one interview
A one-on-one interview sees a single interviewer asking questions to a single candidate. It is the most common type of interview. During a one-on-one interview, an interviewer asks traditional questions to learn more about each candidate's experience, skills and personality. One-on-one interviews are usually held in private rooms, such as a conference room or office in the interviewer's place of business. The interviewer is usually a hiring manager or department head.
At a one-on-one interview, you should:
Provide clear answers. Listen carefully to each question and provide direct answers with relevant examples using the STAR method.
Build a rapport with the interviewer. Use open, confident body language and maintain eye contact to build your connection and show you are a capable candidate.
Be polite to everyone. While one person interviews you, others may give feedback so make sure you're polite to everyone you interact with, including the reception staff and other candidates.
2. The peer interview
A peer interview is a popular type of one-on-one interview, which sees a peer interviewing their potential new colleague. These interviews help businesses learn how well candidates would fit in with their existing employees and company culture. Companies often ask job applicants who performed well in one-on-one interviews with the hiring manager or department head to return for peer interviews.
At a peer interview, you should:
Build a rapport with the interviewer. While you should remain professional, you can be a bit more relaxed in these interviews to ensure the interviewer wants to work with you.
Show them what you know. As your interviewer is a peer, you want to show you're knowledgeable enough to be an asset to the team. You can use more technical language in these interviews as your interviewer has a similar background.
Ask questions. As your interviewer is a peer, they can provide real insight into what it's like to work at the company. Ask questions about the company and its culture to assess whether you're a good fit.
3. The panel interview
A panel interview sees a single candidate facing questions from a team of interviewers. Using a team of interviewers lets businesses collect different perspectives on candidates. Often panel interviews involve interviewers from various departments who bring different knowledge and skills. For example, a panel interview may use a human resources representative who knows how to conduct job interviews and someone from the hiring department who understands the skills their team needs.
At a panel interview, you should:
Build rapport with each interviewer. Make eye contact, smile and shake the hands of each interviewer.
Focus on the person asking each question. When someone asks you a question, give them your full attention, then address them when delivering your answer.
Be prepared for follow-up questions. Panel interviews often have a fast pace, with interviewers often following up on answers you provide. Prepare several examples so you can give confident follow-up answers.
4. The group interview
A group interview sees an interviewer or interview panel interviewing multiple job applicants at once. Companies choose this type of interview to efficiently screen a large number of candidates. If you perform well in a group interview, a company may ask you to return for a one-on-one interview. Group interviews often feel relaxed, as candidates share the interview experience and interact with one another.
At a group interview, you should:
Introduce yourself to the other candidates in the waiting room. Chatting to the other candidates ahead of time can make the interview more comfortable, which will help you seem personable.
Focus on standing out in a positive way. Smile, use open body language and consider wearing an outfit with a pop of colour. Speak confidently when answering questions and be polite when the other applicants respond.
Interact with the other candidates. Listen to their answers and interact with them to show your interpersonal skills. For example, if a candidate says they studied at the same university you might share your own insights about your time studying there.
Read more: How To Succeed at a Group Interview
5. The informal interview
An informal interview, also known as an informational interview, is a job interview held in an informal setting, such as a café, restaurant or pub. Companies often ask candidates for informal interviews over coffee, drinks or meals to assess their candidate's technical and interpersonal skills. These interviews are usually conducted one-on-one, but you can also have a panel or group interview in these settings.
At an informal interview, you should:
Bring hard copies of your resume and cover letter. As these interviews occur outside the office, your interviewer may not have these documents on hand. Bringing hard copies ensures your interviewer can access them as needed.
Remain professional. While you may dress less formally or have a relaxed tone fitting the setting, you should remain professional at all times. Limit alcohol consumption and respond to all questions in a professional manner.
Let the interviewer guide the conversation. Informal interviews can become social, but only if the interviewer steers the conversation off-topic.
6. The telephone interview
A telephone interview is a one-on-one interview conducted over the phone, rather than in person. Companies often use telephone interviews to screen candidates and decide if they'll interview them in person. Companies may also use telephone interviews as their main interview method for applicants located interstate or overseas.
During a telephone interview, you should:
Take the call in a quiet spot. A quiet place helps you hear the interviewer's questions and ensures they can hear your responses. To reduce background noise, close your door and windows and send other people and pets out of the room before the interview starts.
Work from notes. Since the interviewer can't see you, you can work from notes that remind you of key talking points. Your notes could include key points about the company, examples of your experience and why you're suitable for the vacant role.
Use a headset. Using a headset keeps your hands free for taking notes during the interview.
7. The teleconferencing interview
A teleconferencing interview uses teleconferencing technology to connect one or more interviewers with a remote job candidate. Companies often use teleconferencing interviews as an early screening method for local candidates. Teleconferencing allows interviewers to assess body language, which makes it a popular choice for interviewing overseas and interstate candidates.
During a teleconferencing interview, you should:
Dress professionally. Remember that teleconferencing technology shares video, so you should wear clothes that are as professional as the outfits you'd choose for a face-to-face interview.
Choose a quiet, professional location. As with the telephone interview, you should choose a location free from background noise. Send out other people and pets, who can be loud and distracting, and ensure your background looks professional.
Have working audio and video. You may like to test your device's audio and video before your interview by calling a friend or family member.
8. The assessment centre interview
An assessment centre interview sees several candidates screened at an assessment centre. Candidates may undergo psychometric testing and take part in interviews and group activities, such as situational role-plays and team-building games. Companies that recruit new employees at regular times of the year, such as ski resorts that hire staff before the start of the ski season, often use assessment centre interviews.
During an assessment centre interview, you should:
Be outgoing. Assessment centre interviews involve large pools of candidates, so being outgoing can help you get noticed over other applicants.
Focus on the task at hand. Focusing on each task in turn, rather than thinking about what you'll do next can help you to perform your best.
Show you understand the company. Mentioning any of the company's new products, sponsorship deals or promotions shows you understand the business and want to be part of it.
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