The Different Kinds of Job Interviews You Might Face

This ain’t your father’s job interview! Times have changed and so has the way employers interview. Here’s a rundown of the different kinds of job interviews you might be asked to participate in during your next job search.

Success in any interview is dependent upon your preparation and research in advance of your interview, and your execution of the best practices during your interview.

Interview Types. Successful job seekers understand that employers utilize different types of interviews in their selection process, depending on factors such as where the employer is in the selection process, the geographic location of the candidate and interviewers, and the preferred methods of interviewing practiced by the employer. Each type of interview has its own dynamics and preparation steps.

1. Informational Interviews, arranged by a job seeker, to learn more about a prospective employer, its culture, and whether or not the job seekers should seek to work there. It is not an interview for a position, and the person doing the interviewing is the job seeker.

2. Telephone Screening Interviews are usually the result of your application being chosen for review and consideration. It is the first step in the employer-initiated interview process.

3. Face-to-face Interviews usually follow a successful screening interview. Most interviews will be conducted face-to-face, especially in the later rounds of selection.

4. Remote Interviews are substituted for early round face-to-face interviews where the candidate is located at some distance from the employer or interviewers. Phone and video interviews are the preferred methods of a remote interview.

5. Group or Panel Interviews occur when multiple interviewers all interview a single candidate at the same time. Typically each panel member will lead pre-assigned question areas, providing all interviewers with the opportunity to observe and evaluate the same single interview.

6. Simulation Interviews are used to assess a candidate’s ability to solve puzzles, problems, case studies, or scenarios, as opposed to the traditional Q&A format. Candidates may complete this type of interview in conjunction with more traditional interviews, and complete these in person or in an online, proctored (and typically timed) environment.

7. Social Interviews are used to assess a candidate’s social and interpersonal skills, manners, deportment, and communication skills in a non-office environment, such as an interview over a meal or at another common social setting. Even a “let’s go grab a cup of coffee and get to know each other” invitation is an interview.

8. Peer Interviews are interviews between you and prospective peers, used to see whether or not your prospective co-workers would feel comfortable working with you and vice versa.

9. With Less Than 24-Hour Notice – adjust your prep time (a great reason why all your job search documents must be created and ready in advance) to focus on researching the employer and interviewers.

10. Unstructured interviews. According to research, around 90% of the time the interviewer is making up the questions as they go. The interview feels more like a conversation than an interview. In a relaxed and conversational discussion storytelling becomes a very effective method of presenting your strengths. It is also appropriate to sprinkle some tasteful humor in your stories.

11. Second or follow-up interviews. Second interviews mean that the employer is seriously considering you. It also means that they want to get to know you better. You could face a group or panel interview as likely as face a series of peer interviews. It is likely that you’ll be interviewed by additional staff members. Don’t forget to ask the names, titles, and correct spelling of the people who will be involved in the second interview. Preparation for second interviews follows the same guidance as preparing for a first interview.

When you accept an invitation to interview, ask the person scheduling you to explain how the employer conducts job interviews and what types of approaches you should be prepared for when you arrive. Then use what you learn to research and practice so that you can win the job.

Bottom Line

A job search best practice is to understand the type(s) of interviews for which you will need to prepare, and adjust your preparation to the interview type.

This article was in part excerpted from the seventh edition of the textbook included with the Job Search Readiness Assessment.

We help job seekers, higher ed, and employment services connect people to better jobs faster. Our acclaimed career development tools, the Job Search Readiness Assessment for experienced professionals/skilled workers and Graduate Employment Preparedness Assessment for students/recent grads both assess and explain over 3,000 career and job search best practices. We also work with some of the world’s top employers by helping them get the most out of their talented people. Our extensive leadership development course catalog provides effective skills-building for everyone in the organization, from the new / developing leader to the seasoned C-level executive. Our coaching programs produce significant results in compressed periods of time. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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