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Different Interview Styles

Dr. Brittany Castonguay 7 Aug 23 #jobseeking

Interviews can be a nerve-wracking process. Unless you have a lot of experience as a hiring manager or an applicant, interviews are often stressful. It is an understandable stress that can be managed by practicing different interview types and question styles. This article aims to help you familiarize yourself with the other interview styles to reduce your stress about the interview process.

It is important to note that each organization handles the interview process differently. Smaller organizations may only require a one-on-one interview with the direct hiring manager, while larger organizations may require multiple interviews. First, with a recruiter, then HR, additional interviews may be necessary depending on the job level you are applying for. The interview process can be simple or complex and take weeks to months to complete. As with everything in the job search process, patience is vital.

Styles of an Interview

The first step in any interview process is preparation. You need to research the organization you are applying for, and if able, find the hiring manager on LinkedIn and research them as well. This will help you gather essential factors such as the mission, vision, and values of the company and the goals of the hiring manager. Websites and personal profiles are a great way to get an inside scoop on the hiring manager and the company.

Plus, it helps you assess if you are a good fit for this company or team. Finding a job that fits you and your lifestyle is more important than a paycheck and benefits. If you are a bad fit, you will be unsatisfied with your position and may look to move on sooner than you originally planned. This can backfire on you and negatively impact your personal development.

In addition to researching the company and the hiring manager, you also want to practice interview questions and compose your responses beforehand. Unless a hiring manager gives you the questions they will ask (which is highly unlikely), you will have no way of knowing what will be asked. That is okay; you can still prepare yourself by having a bank of answers and scenarios ready to help you respond with grace and eloquence. A well-prepared interviewee can trump what is on a resume and win against others with better resumes.

1. One-on-one Interview. If you have ever sat in on an interview before, you most like have experienced a one-on-one interview. This is a traditional process where the recruiter, HR specialist, or hiring manager meets with you one-on-one to conduct an interview. In the past, it is common for these interviews to consist of basic interview questions such as, “tell me what you know about this position,” “what about this job interests you the most," or “why do you think you are the best candidate for this job?” The questions are unimaginative and do little to showcase an applicant’s interpersonal or problem-solving skills.

2. Panel Interview. Panel interviews are a great tool where multiple people can simultaneously assess an applicant’s talent. It decreases the length of the hiring process and can be an effective means to review applicants. Everyone will ask a set of questions that HR either split up for each panel member or based on their type of expertise. I.e., HR may ask administrative questions like salary expectations while the hiring manager asks technical questions.

A con of this style is that the panel can influence the hiring choice rather than one person, and depending on how the panel is set up will determine everyone’s amount of influence.

3. Virtual Interview. A virtual or phone interview is ideal for organizations with remote jobs or looking to support applicants that may need relocation assistance. Recruiters may also use a virtual or phone interview to pre-screen applicants. Don’t mistake the importance of a virtual interview. While you may not be co-located with the interviewer, professionalism is just as important. This includes how you dress, appear on the screen, and your background. You will want to use Zoom etiquette to guide you when preparing for a virtual interview. Being too informal or not in a quiet, professional area can quickly eliminate you as an applicant.

4. Behavioral Interview. A behavior interview is a popular tool for HR specialists to assess interpersonal and problem-solving skills. This style allows the interviewer to assess an applicant’s quality of fit for the position and can be used in conjunction with any other interview style. In today’s hot job market, behavioral-based interviews are commonly used and can throw well-qualified but unprepared applicants off their game. A behavioral interview does not eliminate talent but determines how quickly and efficiently an applicant enters a problem-solving state of processing.

5. Group Interview. An uncommon interview style that you should be aware of. If a hiring manager decides to use this interview style, you will be notified in advance so you can mentally prepare yourself for this style of interview. A group interview is where a single evaluator interviews multiple applicants at once. Some on-the-spot interviews will operate this way to screen applicants quickly and efficiently.

6. Working Interview. This style of interview may be combined with a one-on-one interview and typically includes you completing a task related to the job you are applying for. It is common to provide a writing sample or complete a sales proposition based on your expertise. Hiring managers will use a working interview to assess how well your capabilities match the job they are hiring for.

7. Informal Interview. An informal interview is common for internal hires with an established relationship between the interviewee and the interviewer. An informal interview can occur in or outside the office and may include more than one person from the team to see how well you mesh with each other.


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