Types of interview

Employers use different types of interviews at each stage of the recruitment process. Knowing what kind of interview to expect and who is interviewing you is useful for your preparation and confidence. It is acceptable for you to request information about this from the employer if none is provided.

The move to interview remotely either as an initial coversation or for the full process has been in progress for a few years now. Not all companies will interview online so you need to be prepared for a variety of ways a company may interact with you.

Telephone online and video interviews

Live online interviews (Zoom, Skype or other webinar platforms) you need to prepare just the same as any interview but there are some additional tips and advice here to help things run smoothly.

Face to face interviews

These are common and you may undergo one interview or several interviews following each other, with different interviewers. Sometimes there may be two people, one to ask questions, the other to observe and take notes.

Panel interviews

These are mainly used by public sector organisations and usually consist of three or four people, from various specialisms in the organisation: e.g. HR specialist, technical specialist, and the line manager. These can be somewhat daunting, but try to treat them in the same way as a one to one situation. Answer questions directly to the person who asks them, however make eye contact with every other individual on the panel throughout your answers.

Second interviews

Typically for a major graduate employer, the selection process involves a second stage. Second interviews can also take place during assessment centres.

Typically the second interview may be much more demanding, focusing on key competencies or more technical aspects of the role. You may have your responses to questions challenged or have to overcome an opposing view concerning your judgement. This is to assess to see how you react in these situations, will you give in or do you have the ability to persuade and assert your view in a professional manner.

Group interview

This is like a normal interview but with a group of other applicants. It is not very common and tends to occur in sales or management based roles. You must ensure your answers are heard at least some of the time and not be overshadowed. The key is appearing confident and assertive, whilst being polite and considerate to the team of other applicants. Dominating the other applicants is not advised, so do not speak too loudly, abruptly interrupt or speak over others. Instead, be politely assertive, interrupt with phrases such as ‘May I add something…’

Case study interviews

Employers use this type of exercise to assess your commercial awareness and logical thinking. These are typically encountered in business, consulting and finance roles.

The casual interview or chat

You may be contacted to have a casual chat about a position; it could even be in a coffee shop. It’s still an interview so do your preparation, but in some cases it may feel more like a conversation.