Career Services

Types of Interviews

Whatever the type of interview, the purposes of interviewing are focused on convincing the interviewer that you can make a contribution to the organization, appraising the opportunity, avoiding being screened out for reasons within your control, and, ultimately, landing a job.   There are different types of interviews; some are described below:  

  • Directed/Structured Interviews are formal and direct, guided by the interviewer, questions are mostly job related, a no-nonsense style.
  • Unstructured Interviews involves open-ended questions and relaxed style conducive to shedding light on candidate's personality; be assertive and stay away from 2-3 word answers, provide examples.  Avoid being too relaxed--this is still an interview. 
  • Stress Interviews involve a process designed to provoke the candidate and test his/her reaction to stress; may involve long gaps of silence, a hostile manner, or challenging the candidate.  Candidates need to depersonalize the process, understand the interviewer is playing a role, and maintain their cool.  
  • Telephone Interviews are often used to screen applicants and narrow job pool; some organizations are using Skype for this.
  • Group Interviews involve several candidates being interviewed at the same time, sometimes used with large organizations that hire large numbers of employees or for positions involving extensive group work.  Sometimes it is done to view how a candidate functions in a group.
  • Panel Interviews have more than one interviewer posing questions;  helpful hint--maintain eye contact with everyone.
  • Behavioral Interviews incorporate process based on the premise that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.  Employers predetermine which skills are necessary for the job and ask you to describe specific times you have demonstrated that skill in the past.  Respond in a specific and detailed manner, always listen carefully to the questions and ask for clarification if necessary, your interview preparation should include identifying examples of situations where you have demonstrated specific skills and  behaviors, such as decision making, conflict management, and effective communication. 

 Typical Interview Structure 

  • Making contact, the time for introductions, establishing rapport and explaining interview structure
  • Establishing qualifications and opportunities, the question-and-answer time
  • Closing, the time for the interviewee to  ask questions of the interviewer; interviewer often outlines next steps
  • Sending thank you letter; interviewee should send this immediately following the interview.
  • Reviewing and deciding, the time for the interviewers to review of interview results, check references, gather other materials, and make a decision.