Every employer or HR team is different – they all have their own personal preferred methods to use whilst carrying out job interviews. During your search for a job or internship, you may come across a variety of interview types; some employers will use just one type; however, many use a combination of different ones.
Knowing the different types of job interviews you might find allows you to understand what the purpose of the questions you are being asked is and exactly the kind of answers the interviewer is looking for. Interviews can be stressful, but knowing this kind of information allows you to prepare correctly for each type. So, at Planet Expat we’ve made a list with some added tips about how to ace each one!
Here are the 5 types of job interviews that are most commonly used by recruiters:
1) Telephone interview
In the present it’s very common for recruiters to do a candidate screening by telephone. This is due to the large amount of job applications they receive. The purpose of this is to eliminate the candidates that don’t coincide with the main requirements for the position in question.
The questions they ask focus on the key requirements mentioned in the job offer. They can also delve into your past experience, if it is related to the position or things you mention in your CV. In this case it is useful to have your CV at hand and also to have your job search organized, so you can identify who the employer is and what position they are offering.
2) Structured interview
These types of job interviews are one of the most common, their style is formal and organized. Many a times there could be more than one interviewer, in this case it would be a panel interview.
Typically, the structured interview begins with what are known as “icebreaker” questions. These questions are intended to make us feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible, before moving on to more serious questions. The questions are usually based on small talk, such as the weather or traffic.
After these icebreaker questions the interviewer usually moves on to a brief description of the company. Taking a look into its values and mission. Followed by a more detailed explanation of the tasks, daily responsibilities and the team dynamic that the job you applied for entails.
The next step in a structured interview is asking the candidate to talk about their education, previous jobs and past experiences that relate to the requirements. This gives you the opportunity to sell yourself and your achievements.
Finally, the interview usually ends in the interviewer asking you if you have any questions. We strongly advise you to always have some questions prepared, this way you can demonstrate you have done research on the company and show interest in the position you are applying for.
3) Semi-structured/ unstructured Interview
As the name implies, unstructured job interviews don’t follow a set structure. It is usually more of a conversational interview, with more of a casual tone and much less formal than a structured one.
In this case the hiring professional is interested in what you have to say and your capacity to communicate. Which means you may receive a lot of open-ended questions. This allows you to express yourself, letting the interviewer get to know you better. You may encounter a range of questions based on anything like your personal hobbies or professional passions.
The purpose of this type of job interview is to put you at ease. This means that you should be wary about getting too relaxed, as sometimes you might say things that you wouldn’t normally say in a more formal setting.
A semi-structured interview, would be a combination of structured and unstructured.
Setting a positive tone, being friendly whilst also maintaining professionalism are key points to being successful in these types of interviews. As well as having the ability to direct the conversation towards your skills, qualifications and any relevant accomplishments, this lets you demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the position.
4) Behavioral interview
Behavioral job interviews are based on anecdotes and open questions. This type of interview rests on the belief that your past performance is a good way to predict how you will act in similar situations in the future.
The questions most commonly used are not hypothetical. The main point is for you to tell the recruiter about a specific experience. They will ask how you approached it, how you handled a problem or about a situation in which you demonstrated certain skills or abilities.
The goal is to find out how you acted. Don’t talk about what you think you should have done or what you will do next time. Focus on accurately telling them what you did, although you can add anecdotes about what you learnt from this experience.
This method is based on your ability to tell stories about your past experiences. Before the interview we recommend you identify the skills and strengths the interviewer will be looking for, this way you can include them. It’s a good idea to reminisce before interviews on situations you faced that you think will be relevant. They don’t have to be professional, if they are personal moments can help you demonstrate your soft skills.
A common method used by candidates is the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, and Results. Following this order will help you tell your stories and experiences in a structured and clear way. This allows you to incorporate the information the employer is seeking.
5) Stress interview
This type of interview is less common than the rest. Hiring professional use it for positions that have a significant amount of stress put on them on a daily basis. For example, positions in sales, marketing or managerial positions.
The questions asked could be very similar to the ones in a structured or unstructured interview. What differentiates this technic is the way in which the interviewer asks the questions. They could act indifferent, passive and almost uninterested; the aim behind this is to evaluate your reaction and how you deal with the uncomfortable or stressful situation.
A common technic used in this type of interview are “curveball” questions. They are usually very random, and they can seem completely unrelated to the topic. The aim of these questions is to see how you would break down the problem and understanding your problem-solving abilities.
In these types of job interviews, we advise you to focus on answering the question you are being asked and not on the manner. Lastly, the most important thing is to remain calm and collected during the process.
The essential thing to nailing any type of job interview is preparation. Think about the questions you may be asked and practice the most common ones. Being prepared is one of the first things an interviewer will notice. However, preparation is not about memorizing your answers, they should seem natural and engaging during the interview. If you need some extra help you can check out our career coaching services that include an interview preparation!
Thinking about what you are going to say before the interview will help you remember to include all the most important aspects and allow you to demonstrate the skills you have that are relevant to the position.