Types of Interviews

Types of Interviews | Behavioral Interviews | Sample Behavioral-Based Interview Questions

Types of Interviews

There are many different types of interviews. Once you are selected for an interview, you may experience one or more of the situations described below. When you schedule an interview, try to get as much information about whom you will be meeting. It is rare to have only one interview prior to a job offer. Most employers will bring back a candidate more than once to be sure a potential employee will fit into the organizational culture.

Screening Interview Screening Interview
May be conducted in person, over the phone, or via video to help employers determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for a job. These interviews are usually handled by a Human Resources representative and tend to follow a set format and logical procedure. Emphasize succinctly and directly that you possess the desired skills and abilities for the position. For phone interviews, keep your resume close at hand for easy access and reference. For video interviews, rehearse in advance to come across naturally.
One-on-One Interview One-on-One Interview
This is the most common interview format and is usually conducted on site by the hiring supervisor, manager or owner. The interviewer focuses on questions to assess your skills, knowledge, and abilities as they relate to the position. Your focus should be on the person asking questions. Maintain eye contact, listen and respond once a question has been asked. Establish rapport with the interviewer and communicate how your qualifications will benefit the organization.
Panel Interview Panel Interview
This group interview is usually conducted by three or more people who generally ask you questions that correspond to their areas of interest or expertise. Maintain primary eye contact with the panel member who asked the question, but also seek eye contact with other panel members as you give your response.
Behavioral Interview Behavioral Interview
This format is used by employers to evaluate a candidate’s experiences and behaviors in order to determine their potential for success. The interviewer identifies desired skills and behaviors, and then structures open-ended questions and statements to elicit detailed responses.
Phone Interview Phone Interview
Many organizations will conduct interviews by phone to narrow a field of candidates. Phone interviews may also be used as a preliminary interview for candidates who live long distances from the job site. It is important to treat this interview as you would a face-to-face connection. Since your voice is key, convey energy with inflection in your voice. Keep a copy of your resume nearby as a reference.
Lunch/Dinner Interview Lunch/Dinner Interview
This type of interview is designed to assess how well you can handle yourself in social situations. You will probably be dining with your potential boss and co-workers or Human Resource professionals. Although the setting may be casual, remember it is a business meal and you are being watched. Develop common ground with your interviewer and follow his/her lead in selection of food and etiquette. Do not order alcohol even if others do and avoid messy foods.
Stress Interview Stress Interview
The stress interview is usually a deliberate attempt to see how you handle yourself under pressure. The interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting. Do not take it personally. Calmly answer each question and ask for clarification if you need it and never rush into an answer.

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Behavioral interviewing is a widely used mode of job interviewing. This type of interviewing consists of questions that ask you to describe how you exhibited a particular “behavior” in a recent situation. The interviewer identifies desired skills and behaviors, and then structures open-ended questions and statements to elicit detailed responses. A rating system is developed and selected criteria are evaluated during the interview.

Even if you don’t have a great deal of work experience, organizations expect you to be able to relate past experiences, from undergraduate or graduate school, internships, employment, campus activities, volunteer work, membership in an organization, etc., to the job for which you are interviewing.

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions: The "STAR" Technique
One strategy for preparing for behavioral interviews is to use the "STAR" Technique, as outlined below:
S - Describe the situation or event you were in.
T - Describe the Task(s) you performed.
A - What action(s) did you take?
R - What was/were the result(s)?

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  • Recall recent situations that show favorable behaviors or actions, especially involving course work, work experience, leadership, teamwork, initiative, planning, and customer service.
  • Prepare short descriptions of each situation; be sure each story has a beginning, middle, and an end (i.e., be ready to describe the situation, including the task at hand, your action, and the outcome or result).
  • Be sure the outcome or result reflects positively on you (even if the result itself was not favorable).
  • Be honest. Don't embellish or omit any part of the story.
  • Be specific. Don't generalize about several events; give a detailed account of one event.
  • Vary your examples; don’t take them all from just one area of your life.

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  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
  • Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
  • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.
  • Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish failed.
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

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