types of job interviews
Sep 12, 2023 — Carly Miller

20 Types of Interviews & When to Use Them

types of job interviews

Embarking on the journey of interviewing can be daunting, whether you’re on the hiring side or the applicant’s side. With many different types of interviews to navigate, understanding each and knowing when to deploy them effectively can make all the difference.

This comprehensive guide will illuminate the diverse interviewing landscape, covering 20 distinct types of interviews.

It is an invaluable resource for recruiters, hiring managers, HR professionals, or anyone keen to master the art of interviewing.

As we delve into the details of each job interview type, you’ll gain expert insights that will equip you to excel in any interview scenario. Let’s begin!

The Different Types of Interviews

types of interviews

Formal Interview

A formal or traditional interview is a structured process often utilized by corporations and larger organizations. It typically involves a formal setting, a predetermined set of interview questions, and evaluation criteria.

This job interview process is particularly effective when assessing a candidate’s suitability for roles that require adherence to strict rules or procedures. It also provides all candidates with a fair and equal opportunity, minimizing bias and ensuring a standardized comparison.

Informal Interview

An informal interview is a casual discussion that gives job interviewers a sense of a candidate’s personality and potential cultural fit. It typically occurs in a relaxed setting, like a coffee shop, and involves free-flowing, less structured conversation.

This type of interview is often used in the early stages of the hiring process or for roles where interpersonal skills and cultural fit are crucial.

Structured Interview

Like a traditional interview, structured interviews follow a consistent format where each candidate is asked the same interview questions in the same order. By maintaining uniformity, it enables objective evaluation based on candidates’ responses.

This job interview type is beneficial when hiring for roles with specific skill sets or when dealing with many applicants, as it allows for straightforward comparison and eliminates bias.

Unstructured Interview

An unstructured interview is a flexible, conversational interviewing style, often lacking a specific set of predetermined questions. This format enables a deep and personalized understanding of a candidate’s thought process, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

It’s particularly beneficial for roles requiring innovation and adaptability or when the interviewer wants to assess a candidate’s fit within the company’s culture beyond their technical skills.

Semi-Structured Interview

A semi-structured interview combines elements of structured and unstructured interviews. It follows a general script of interview questions but allows flexibility for further discussion.

This type allows interviewers to assess a candidate’s skills and cultural fit while allowing for a deeper exploration of their unique perspectives. It’s beneficial for roles that require a balance of specific skillsets and creativity or when the interviewer wishes to assess both standardized and individual responses.

Group Interview

A group interview involves multiple candidates being interviewed concurrently. These types of interviews allow you to observe candidates’ interpersonal skills, teamwork abilities, and leadership potential.

Group interviews are an effective method when hiring for roles that require collaboration or when you have multiple vacancies and a large applicant pool. It also provides an efficient way to assess how candidates interact in a group dynamic.

Panel Interview

A panel interview involves a candidate being interviewed by a group of interviewers, typically composed of various members from the organization. The panel interview format enables diverse perspectives on candidates’ suitability for the role.

Panel interviews are particularly effective for roles requiring a candidate to interact with multiple departments or for higher-level positions, as they allow various stakeholders to evaluate the candidate’s fit within the organization.

Informational Interview

An informational interview is a meeting where a job seeker seeks advice and information about an industry, profession, or company rather than employment.

It’s an exploration of career opportunities and trends from industry professionals and a way to build a network. This type of interview is useful for individuals entering the job market or considering a career change, as it provides real-world insights and guidance.

Stress Interview

A stress interview assesses a candidate’s composure and problem-solving abilities under pressure. The hiring manager may use challenging, rapid-fire questions, unexpected interruptions, or simulate complex scenarios to unnerve the candidate.

This type of interview is particularly beneficial when hiring for roles where high pressure and quick decision-making are integral, such as sales positions or jobs in fast-paced environments.

Phone Interview

A phone interview is an initial screening method often used to narrow down a large pool of applicants. It is conducted over the phone to verify a candidate’s interest and basic qualifications for the role.

This format is ideal for remote positions, preliminary candidate assessment, or when an in-person interview is not possible. It aids in time and cost efficiency while allowing the interviewer to evaluate the candidate’s communication skills and professional demeanor.

Video Interview

A video interview is conducted via video conferencing, allowing face-to-face interaction between the interviewer and candidate without physical presence. These types of interviews are primarily used when geographic locations differ or for preliminary screenings.

Ideal for assessing visual cues and non-verbal communication, this format is beneficial for roles requiring strong interpersonal skills, presentations, or remote work. It also balances personal interaction with the convenience of technology.

Off-Site Interview

An off-site interview occurs in a location other than the company’s premises, such as a restaurant or hotel. This format often provides a relaxed environment, enabling a candid exploration of the candidate’s character beyond their professional skills.

It’s ideal for roles in which interpersonal skills are vital or when gauging a candidate’s comfortability and adaptability in unfamiliar situations.

Case Interview

A case interview presents candidates with a business problem, challenge, or scenario, requiring them to problem-solve, strategize, and showcase analytical skills.

It’s an effective method for roles necessitating strategic thinking and creativity, such as consulting or managerial positions. This format assesses the candidate’s ability to analyze complex information and derive sensible solutions in real time.

Career Fair Interview

A career fair interview is a brief, often informal, conversation between recruiters and potential candidates at a job or career fair. This format allows recruiters to meet many candidates, evaluate their initial impressions, and identify potential fits for various roles.

It’s an effective method for mass recruiting or when looking to fill entry-level positions, offering a quick way to screen a vast array of candidates.

Mock Interview

Mock interviews are simulations of actual job interviews intended for practice purposes. They help job seekers to prepare, build confidence, and improve their interviewing skills. Conducted by a career counselor or a professional, it provides immediate feedback and tips for improvement.

These interviews are particularly beneficial for individuals entering the job market, those transitioning careers, or anyone looking to refine their interview techniques.

On-the-Spot Interview

An on-the-spot interview is an impromptu interview that happens immediately after an initial meeting or during a job fair. These interviews allow employers to assess a candidate’s spontaneous responses and adaptability.

Ideal for roles requiring quick thinking or adaptability or during mass recruiting events, it provides a swift evaluation of potential fits.

Behavioral Interview

A behavioral interview asks candidates to describe past experiences and how they handled specific situations. The rationale is that past behavior is an excellent predictor of future performance. Questions often require candidates to provide real-life examples demonstrating their skills and abilities.

This interview style is instrumental when hiring for roles that require problem-solving, decision-making, and teamwork skills, offering robust insight into a candidate’s competencies and suitability for the role.

Exit Interview

An exit interview is conducted when an employee is leaving a company. The departing employee is asked about their experiences, reasons for leaving, and suggestions for improvements.

It’s a valuable opportunity for organizations to gain insights into the workplace environment, identify potential issues, and enhance retention strategies. Conduct an exit interview whenever an employee leaves to create a smoother transition and improve overall employee satisfaction.

Personal Interview

A personal interview involves a one-on-one conversation between the interviewer and the candidate. It’s an opportunity for employers to assess a candidate’s personality, communication skills, and compatibility with the company’s culture.

This type of interview is beneficial when hiring for roles that require strong interpersonal skills or to evaluate a candidate’s fit within a team or the overall organization.

Lunch Interview

A lunch interview occurs more casually, often at a restaurant. It allows the interviewer to evaluate the candidate’s interpersonal skills, etiquette, and overall comportment in a non-formal environment.

Ideal for roles that require high levels of client interaction or to examine a candidate’s fit within the company culture, it provides a well-rounded assessment beyond technical competencies.

How to Choose the Right Interview Method

types of job interviews

Choosing the correct interview method depends on your specific recruitment goals and needs. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Role Requirements: Analyze the skills, competencies, and personal traits required for the specific role. A case or behavioral interview might be best if the job demands strong analytical and problem-solving abilities. A lunch or off-site interview can provide valuable insights if the position requires excellent interpersonal skills.
  1. Candidate Location: Phone or video interviews are viable options for candidates based in different geographical locations. They’re also helpful for initial screenings to save both time and resources.
  1. Volume of Applicants: If you have a large pool of applicants, career fair interviews or on-the-spot interviews might be the most efficient way to connect with a high number of candidates in a short time.
  1. Company Culture: Evaluating a candidate’s potential fit within your company culture is essential. Personal interviews or lunch interviews can provide opportunities to assess this.
  1. Stages of Interview: Consider the stage of the interview process. Preliminary stages might benefit from phone or video interviews, while the final steps could include more in-depth methods like behavioral or case interviews.

Remember, it’s crucial to be flexible in your approach. Your chosen method should provide a comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s capabilities and potential fit within the organization.

Master the Art of Interviewing

types of interviews

The art of interviewing is a dynamic process that requires thoughtful planning and execution. Each method offers unique insights into a candidate’s skills, personality, and compatibility with a role or organization.

By understanding the strengths and applications of these diverse interview types, HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers can make more informed decisions to ensure the right fit for their teams.

Mastering these interview techniques is essential to building a competent, cohesive, and successful workforce.

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