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Types of Interview

Employers use several different methods to evaluate possible job candidates. The situation or type of job you are applying for will determine the type of interview. As an interviewee, you should found out ahead of time the type of interview and prepare accordingly.

Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interviews are the most common type of interview used by employers. Behavioral interviewing is based around the idea that past behavior and performance is a good predictor of future behavior and performance. This type of interview requires the candidate to provide specific examples of past actions. One thing students should consider when preparing for this type of interview is to understand the basic rules for traditional interviewing also applies to behavioral interviewing.

How do you answer behavioral questions?

One of the best ways to prepare for a behavioral interview is determine what skills and behaviors are relevant for the position. For example if the job description stresses teamwork, then it is likely you will have a behavioral question that addresses that skill. Your goal is to select meaningful examples from your experiences that adequately demonstrate the skills desired. So how do you organize your respond so you communicate effectively what you want the employer to hear, you can use the STAR method.

Situation - Discuss a specific situation or problem you have encountered
Task - Explain the task you had to complete and your role within it
Action - Tell specific actions you took, steps you followed, barriers you faced, etc.
Results - What was the outcome, the accomplishments, goals reached

This approach will help you communicate the important parts of your situation and avoid rambling or unnecessary information. For further information on interviewing, view the Career Center Handbook.

Case Interview

Case interviews are typically used by consulting firms to screen candidates but they can also be used by other areas as well like laws firms, police departments, and counseling and social work settings. This type of interview requires you to work through scenario-based, problem solving activities. The employer wants to see how you respond to the problem and is not as concerned with the correct answer.

How should I approach a case interview?

  • Gather Information - Listen carefully to all the information given and ask as many questions as needed to fully understand the situation.
  • Take notes as you gather information.
  • Organize your thoughts - the use of silence is fine.
  • Establish a framework for your answer - look at the bigger picture.
  • Manage your time.
  • Talk through your response with the interviewer.
  • Show your excitement about problem solving.
  • Close the case - share your recommendations with the interviewer.

Phone Interview

The telephone interview is becoming increasingly more popular with the struggling economic times because it allows the employer to conduct an initial screening of candidates without the expense of the face-to-face interview. In most cases, you will be contacted in advance to schedule a time but always be prepared for surprise calls. When contacted make sure you gather information about who will contact you, names and titles of others who will participate in the interview, and arrange a proper location to interview free from distractions.

Understanding the interviewing process and possessing good interviewing skills is just as important for a telephone interview as the face-to-face interview. However, you do have some special considerations for a telephone interview.

  • Be ready 10-15 minutes early.
  • Gather any needed materials - resume, cover letter, job description, company information, etc...
  • Answer the phone in a professional manner.
  • Remember, your first impression will be in your initial greeting.
  • Smile when you speak - it helps to keep enthusiasm in your voice.
  • Maintain appropriate posture - no slouching or laying on the bed or floor! This can affect your voice.
  • Be in a private place, preferably a quiet room with no distractions.
  • Avoid eating, chewing gum, drinking, or smoking.
  • If available, use a land line for a better connection.
  • Ignore call waiting and apologize if it continues to beep in.
  • Practice by scheduling a mock interview with the Career Center.
  • Make sure you prepare an appropriate voice-mail message.
  • After the interview, follow up with a thank you letter within 48 hours.

Take the telephone interview seriously; it is your ticket to the next step!

Group Interview

The group interview involves several candidates being interviewed at the same time in small groups. The employer may use this type of interviewing to observe group interaction and communication skills with one another when given an assigned project. When participating in this type of interview, you should keep several things in mind.

  • Actively participate in the conversation without taking over.
  • Be yourself.
  • Effectively communicate your thoughts about the problem.
  • Demonstrate your abilities of teamwork and problem-solving.
  • Do your best and do not be concerned about others performance.

Panel Interview

The panel interview involves several interviewers interviewing one candidate at a time. You may or may not be informed of being interviewed in this manner so don't be surprised by this. If you use good interviewing skills and prepare ahead of time, you can effectively adjust to this type of interview.

  • Be ready for the number of questions to increase because of the number of interviewers.
  • Use proper eye contact with ALL interviewers giving slightly more to the interviewer that asked the question.
  • Make sure that your position in the room allows you to see everyone.
  • Watch the interactions of interviewers to pick up hints about the office/company environment.