• Dec 1, 2020

Interview Types

There are many different interview types for all kinds of interviews. Therefore it is best that you prepare for each one and we explain that for you here. Below, each major type of interview is explained and we have provided advice on how to maneuver each one.

Group Interview

The candidate group is one interviewer and multiple interviewees. These types of interviews can happen at any company, but usually are seen at lower level positions or more entry-level. This is because there is a high volume of people at this level then there are at mid-career/senior. In this type of interview, the interviewer will describe the company and position in brief to everyone. At this point, it becomes survival of the fittest; you must become the extrovert and show them what you’re made of. Below are some tips on how to navigate the waters.

  • Look alive – Do not be intimidated by what situation you’re in, relish in the moment! You got the interview and here you are, show them what your made of. Never look away from the group and always look engaged in what is being discussed. Do not fidget, tap your feet, pull out your cell phone, spin a pen in your hands, etc.

  • Be polite – Introduce yourself to the group. Chances are you will meet most of the other interviewees in the lobby. Spark up a conversation and see what you can learn from your competition. When in the interview, do not try and dominate the conversation, let everyone have their chance to speak. Just because you know every single answer does not mean you need to answer it.

  • Speak up – When the interviewer calls on you, make sure everyone can hear you. Be proud of what you are saying, but more importantly be confident.

  • Be in charge– Do not be afraid when giving an answer to call another interviewee out. Give your answer to the question and then say, “John what do you think?” This will show your leadership skills and you’re ability to capture the moment. You need to show them that you are a go-getter, but at the same time, not overconfident or egotistical.

  • Follow-up –When the interview is over, go up to the interviewer and thank him/her for their time. It is your last chance to make a final impression and maybe follow up on a topic from the conversation.

Panel Interview

The panel interview is where there are multiple interviewers and you. On the surface, this can seem as the most intimidating interview of them all. “All eyes are on me!!” It’s okay, if you are prepared, this interview will be easy.

  • Look at the positive – Everyone is in the room for you to meet. There most likely will not be a second round interview. Also, you can ask one question and get three or more answers.

  • Introductions – Make sure to introduce yourself to each person as if they were the only person you were meeting with. Be personable and make an impression. Make sure you ask each person for their business card, this way you can line each card up with that person on the table. This will help you remember the name of each person so you can address him or her accordingly.

  • Eye contact – This is most important. Only one person will ask you a question at a time, but you should address your answer to each person. So make sure you give eye contact to each person: Share the love! Also, you should not make any assumptions on who is the actual hiring manager; it could be the youngest person, oldest, female, male, or lowest title. Since you do not know, do not try to guess and direct your answers toward any one person.

  • Plan of attack – There most likely will be a mix of departments in the interview. HR, Mktg, IT, Finance, Legal, etc. and you will only know once you receive each business card. You have to make sure that when giving your answers that all examples can be universal. Simply put, everyone in the interview needs to understand what you are saying and be able to relate to it.

  • Thank you – As with any interview, but even more for this type of interview, make sure you personalize your thank you notes. Thank each person personally and add something unique in it. For example, “John, I really enjoyed when you were describing how you joined the company. It is very encouraging to see your success.”

Telephone Interview

The telephone interview is the most common interview of all types. About 99% of all interview processes start with a phone interview to gauge your skills and interest. Phone interviews can also happen with anyone; Headhunter, Executive Recruiter, Staffing Agency, Corporate Recruiter, Hiring Manager, or even the owner. Depending on who it is should dictate how you react or respond. For example, if you are having a phone interview with a headhunter, they will want to get to know your skills and that’s it. Since they may not be representing any companies at that time, there may not be many questions for you to ask. If you are interviewing with a Corporate Recruiter, you will want to relate your skills to the type of business it is and ask relevant questions. Below are some interview tips on how to master the phone interview:

  • As with all interviews, do your research. Look up the person you are interviewing with Research. If possible find a picture of them; it will help you visualize with whom you are speaking. One less thing off your mind will help you concentrate.

  • Always give the interviewer two numbers, your cell phone and a land-line number. Nothing is worse than the call being disconnected by having no service.

  • MOST IMPORTANT – Have your prepared cheat sheet in front of you. Please see our FREE cheat sheet guide on how to best prepare.

  • Do not be afraid to dress up, take a walk, pace, whatever! This helps you get in the right frame of mind.

  • SMILE – It is a known fact that when you smile you sound happier. So when you are speaking to the interviewer be sure to be smiling the entire time.

  • During the actual phone interview, make sure you match the interviewer’s speed/jargon/style. If they are talking fast, you talk fast. If they are slow, you should be slow. You will want to match their Jargon. If they are speaking in all acronyms or technical terms, then so do you. Finally match their style. If they are joking and laughing a lot or are very serious and professional, then you should be too.

  • When the phone interview is over, the interviewer will give you time to ask any questions. You have to recognize that the interviewer does not have time to answer 50 questions; at most, maybe five short questions. Make sure you have your five questions prepped and ready to be asked. Sometimes, you may feel the interviewer answered all your questions. This means that you did not prepare enough questions. Think through how well you know the company, the person, the job, etc. from the phone conversation.

  • Once you have asked all your questions, it will be the last time you speak to that person. You want to give a 20-30 second recap as to why you are a good fit for the position. You want to highlight your skills and talents as they relate to the position’s responsibilities.

  • Finally, you will want to ask what the next steps are and how to proceed. If you are invited in for an interview, give them as much availability as possible. You want to show them that you want this job as much as possible. If they tell you that they will be in touch, you say thank you and hang up. Immediately afterwards, you will want to send them an email thanking them for their time and that you are anxious to learn the next steps. It is okay to ask them on the phone for their email address.

  • There is one more step to take. Sometimes whomever you spoke with may take a long time getting back to you. It is important that while you do not want them to forget about you, you do not come off as a pest. What you can do is a few days or a week later follow up with them on an interesting article that you read and that you wanted to share with them. Of course, an article that relates to either their profession or the company’s industry.

1-on-1 Interview

The 1-on-1 interview is the most frequently used method of interviewing. Every company will want to meet with you before they hire you. It is this interview that will land you the job or not. First, we recommend that you use our Mock Interview service to best prepare you for this venture. Secondly, there are different types of 1-on-1 interviews and you can read about that in the interview questions page. Below are some tips on the best way to conquer your 1-on-1 interview.

  • First and foremost, print out the interview prep guide. This guide will help make sure you forget nothing prior to your interview. One less thing to worry about.

  • As with any other interview, preparation and research is monumental. Please go to our research page to see how to properly research prior to your interview.

  • Arrive 15-20 minutes early.

  • Once in the building, greet the receptionist and let them know whom you are there to see. Please go to our greet the receptionist section to learn more.

  • The type of interview will vary how it will be conducted. Is this an entry-level, mid-career, or senior position? Who are you meeting with: Corporate recruiter, HR, hiring manager, executive? Let’s assume a standard interview panel – Corporate Recruiter, Team Member, Hiring Manager, HR.

    • Corporate Recruiter – This person is most likely the person who originally called and spoke to you on the phone. If you are thinking, “No they are not” then they are working with the executive recruiter/staffing agency/headhunter who did call you. They have already seen your resume and spoke with the individual/company representing you. These individuals serve two purposes for this interview: To filter you out if you have a bad interview (i.e. not pass you on through the interview process if it goes south) and sell you on the company. Corporate recruiters’ main job is to be the company’s first filter. They want to see you well dressed, good attitude, passionate, and knowledgeable. For the most part if you can meet those 4 criteria, you will make it to the next person. But even still, they will ask you questions to try to trip you up. Again, we recommend you use our mock interview service and go to our interview questions page to prepare. The latter part is easy as they will do majority of the talking, but a lot of their sell tactics will come from the questions you ask them. Please make sure you visit our interview questions to ask section.

    • Team Member – You will usually meet with a member on the team for the position in which you are applying. This person can be at any level; entry-level, manager, director, etc… This person’s sole mission is to see if you are a good fit for the team. They will be asking you questions like, “How do you deal with conflict” or “Tell me a time you didn’t get along with your coworkers and how you dealt with it”. Your goal here is to show them your personality and that you are a team player. This person is great to ask your questions as they relate to the position and it’s responsibilities, the training, and group dynamics. While this person is clearly not the hiring manager or decision maker, they can make or break your interview. If everyone you met with thought you were very intelligent and can add value to the company, but this individual said you would disrupt the team dynamic and create conflict, it is likely that you will not get the position. Again, you must have a strategy to tackle this type of interview.

    • Hiring Manager – Arguably, the most important interview of them all. This person will most likely be your boss/manager/superior/executive. They will carry most of decision-making on who to hire and who not to hire. They will ask you your most challenging questions and will want to know how your professional history makes you qualified for this role. This goes for any position: Construction/retail/professional corporate/ freelance, anything. There are many schools of thought on how to tackle this interview and most of them will ask you for about $500-2000 to tell you. We won’t! Here are some basic interviewing tips to tackle the hiring manager.

      • First, you wouldn’t have made it to the hiring manager if you did not know how to do the job, you would have been filtered out. The hiring manager knows if you made it to him/her then you have the technical skills/know-how/ and the smarts to get the job done. You might be lacking in a few areas here and there, but they know that they can train you and have you up to speed in a few days because you’re a quick-learner right? Maybe, maybe not, either way you need to show them how you have picked up on new tasks without any formal training. So what’s the point of this? This point is exactly what the hiring manager is trying to gauge, so lets make it easy for them. They want to see your PASSION. Once again, they want to see if you are passionate for this career and this company. At the end of the day, the hiring manager can spend all the money in the world and train anyone and everyone. While that may not be a smart financial decision and the CFO would be quite upset, in theory the hiring manager could do that. What can the hiring manger NOT do? Train you to be passionate. Nobody can and that is exactly the big hiring manager interview secret that no one will tell you. They are a lot of strategies to navigate this, first and foremost, are you interviewing for a job/career that you truly want or is it just a job? Maybe it is just a job, but is it something that you truly want to learn and grow into and make a career out of? To either question, the answer has to be yes! If it’s not, it’s just about certain that you will not get the job. While most interviewers are not good at interviewing, they are still human and like any other human they can tell when someone is lying to them. So the first strategy, be passionate about the job/career and the company you are interviewing with. Second strategy, be prepared to give the hiring manager specific examples. We can help you with this with our mock interview service. Hiring managers do not want to hear about how you memorized or some theoretical answer. They want to hear about you, specifically you, and how you have dealt with a particular situation. So give them what they are looking for: Passion and examples.


    • Human Resources – HR is usually the last to interview in the panel and just like the corporate recruiter they are going to be looking for a culture fit. They will also ask you the brunt of the behavioral questions for the day. It is from these behavioral questions that they will be able to gauge your work ethic and culture fit. Below are some interview tips on how to handle the HR interview.
  • Most importantly – Be yourself! Most of HR people are in the HR profession because they like people! They are extroverted outgoing people who genuinely want to know you for you. So give them the opportunity and let your guard down. Its okay to joke, laugh and have fun.

  • Since the majority of the questions they will ask will be behavioral, you should prepare accordingly. The interview secret to answering behavioral questions is having prepared examples. Most behavioral questions start with, “Tell me a time when…” or “Please explain how you have …” Now since you know that these questions are already going to come, prepare your examples.

  • Research the company! – Most HR professionals are going to quiz you on the company or at least try to find out why you want to work there. Any answer you give should be based upon the research you have done. In addition to this, any smaller company you interview will also want to make sure you have researched them. Since it is a smaller company, chances are high that you will interview with the founder/CEO of the company. Since they created the company, they want to be sure they hire the right person and someone who wants to work for them; not just someone who wants a job.

  • Although the people of A Better Interview all have HR backgrounds, we recognize that the majority of HR professionals do not have much if any other technical background. Meaning that if you are interviewing for anything else that is not HR, they most likely will not have an understanding of what you do. For example, try talking to an HR professional about .NET programming and its importance in today’s tech society. Since you know this now, do not try and “wow” the HR professional by using job specific jargon. While some may know what it means, most will not and you will just get off topic. The goal is to show them that you are a team-player and a great culture fit with excellent learning agility.

  • Once you leave the interview, drive home safely and immediately send your Thank You’s to everyone you met with. Please visit our interview follow-up section on how to do this.

Lunch/Dinner Interview

The lunch/dinner interview can be a tricky one to navigate. The only way to understand its true motive is when it is happening. Is it the first interview or last? If it is the first then it will be a full-blown interview and you should refer up top to the 1-on-1 interview section. If it is the last, then chances are you already met with this person and you have a good understanding of the position and job. The reason for them bringing you out is not to see how much food you can eat, but to gauge your interest in the job/company. The hiring manager might be on the fence about you and this is their way of being able to meet with you one last time. Simple advice here: Manners and proper food etiquette. You already wowed them in the office, do not lose the job because you eat with your hands and slurp your soda.

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