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Different types of job interviews and how to prepare for them

While crafting the perfect resume is well worth the effort, you'll also want to be prepared when you land an interview. However, with the rise of remote work and an ever-changing office landscape, there's no guarantee of where your next job interview will be, or if you'll even have to leave your house. Let's take a look at a few examples of different types of job interviews, along with tips to succeed at each of them.


You can think of the informational interview as an exploratory, face-to-face meeting with a professional in your industry, or an industry you'd like to learn more about. Although informational interviews aren't about a specific job position, they are a chance to gain insight into a career path. They are meant to be more informal, often held at a cafe or other place to have coffee or a light meal. If they go well, you might get a new industry connection out of a friendly conversation.

Informational interviews are also unique because you will be the one asking the questions and interviewing them about their job, company, and industry. Common questions revolve around what the person has worked on, their opinion on recent industry developments, and their advice about achieving your career objectives.


Remote work jobs commonly depend on phone interviews, and office positions might use them as a first-round screening tool. “Phone interviews are a critical part of the screening process that can help a job seeker land a face-to-face meeting," notes Steve Saah, Global Executive Director with Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

"Showcase your interpersonal skills by listening to what's being asked, pausing, and then responding," Saah advises. "What you say and how you say it can make a big difference. It may seem obvious, but make sure you've done your homework about the company itself and the person interviewing you. It's important to be a bit more energetic than in person, as the interviewer can't see eye contact or body language. Let them ‘see you smile' through the phone.”


Video interviews are on the rise, as they're convenient for long distances while still offering that “in-person” feeling. Robb Hecht, adjunct professor of marketing at New York City's Baruch College, says "The best way I recommend to prepare for these types of video interviews is to prepare just like you are going in for a face-to-face interview. Of course, a quiet room and professional appearing background are key, as well as ensuring the computer camera is properly positioned.”

Hecht coaches marketing executives, students, small business startups, and brand clients to Get Brand Productive. “Just like brands succeeding today are purpose driven," he explains, "employers are looking for candidates to show how their personalities and passions can align with company purposes in their video interviews." The video interview is an easy chance to show off not only your qualifications but a little personality, in a way that couldn't be replicated in a phone interview.


Group interviews are when a company interviews several applicants at once, for one or a limited number of positions. It's an efficient way to hear from and compare more applicants, and it also tests how you work in a group situation. To master group interviews, Saah emphasizes the elevator pitch, first impressions, and social grace. “How you introduce yourself and the impression you make will matter. At least once during the interview, try to be the first person to answer the interviewer's question. You don't want to dominate the group by answering every question first.”


Panel interviews are the inverse of a group interview: You'll be interviewed by multiple decision makers from the company at once. Be sure to check who exactly will be attending, or ask if need be, and do some research. You'll be better able to practice common interview question answers in a way that appeals to the panel and expresses shared values.

Saah notes that for a panel interview, "Maintaining eye contact with each person as they speak is important. This is typically an opportunity to meet different people at the same time, from senior executives and HR contacts to potential co-workers. Remember that it's a two-way street, so have questions in mind to ask the hiring manager or panel.”

Although job interviews can come in different types, the same principles of professionalism, preparation, and confidence will apply. The next time you create a profile so employers can find you, stay confident when you get asked for an interview. No matter the type, you'll know how to prepare beforehand and show your skills in the moment.

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