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Types of Interviews

The purpose of a job interview is for you and an employer to learn about one another.

Employers want to evaluate your qualifications, and you also want to evaluate the employer. There are several different types of interviews:

Type What to Expect Tips
Telephone Screening Interview A call from an employer to eliminate candidates based on essential criteria. An employer may call you without an appointment. Have your job search records organized and handy. Refer to your resume as needed.
In-Person Screening Interview Used instead of a telephone screening interview, but with same basic purpose. Provides an initial impression of your attitude, interest, and professional style. You may not be meeting with the final decision maker, but don’t slack off. Sell yourself as you would in a “regular” interview.
Selection Interview In-depth questions to evaluate your qualifications for the position and your ability to fit in. There may be more than one interview at this stage. Establish a connection with everyone you meet (before and after the actual interview). Sell yourself as a natural addition to the team.
Behavioral Interview (also known as a STAR interview -Situation, Task, Action, and Results) The interviewer will ask questions that require you to describe how you have handled work-related situations. This provides more information about your behavior, personality, and character. Think of a few examples ahead of time. Use examples that illustrate your skills and give a good impression of you.
Work Sample Interview Gives you a chance to show samples of work you've done or demonstrate your skills. May be a display of your portfolio or a demonstration of your skills. Run through different ways to describe the projects in your portfolio. Practice your presentation until it is smooth.
Peer Group Interview A meeting with your prospective coworkers who evaluate how well you fit in. Don't forget to smile. It shows confidence.
Group or Panel Interview Three or more people will ask you questions on your qualifications and evaluate how you fit in. It may include other candidates for the position. Direct your answer to the person who asked the question, but try to maintain some eye contact with all group members. If other candidates are present, introduce yourself and be polite. Volunteer to respond first to a few questions, but do not dominate the entire interview. Compliment another candidate's response and then build on it with your own thoughts.
Luncheon Interview (also known as "The Meal") Interview conducted in a restaurant to assess how well you handle yourself in social situations. Pick easy things to eat so you can answer questions and pay attention to the conversation. If the location is a coffee shop, the interviewer is probably looking for a more casual conversation.
Stress Interview Questions intended to make you uncomfortable and a test how you will handle stress on the job. Keep your cool and take your time in responding to the questions. Don't take anything personally.
Video Conference Interview Uses technology for a “person-to-person” interview by video. Allow people from different locations to interview you without traveling. Practice before a video camera or mirror if facing a camera during an interview makes you nervous. If the employer requests that you interview using an online video chat (such as Skype or Google Chat), do a mock interview with a friend using that technology.

Source: Creative Job Search, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Review common interview questions and practice answering them with someone else or in front of a mirror.

If you're networking, learn about informational interviews.