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The Many Different Types of Interview Formats & How to Prepare for Them

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

One interview format does not fit all companies or positions. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the different types and prepare for any format you might face. Following are several types of interview formats you could encounter in the search for your next job. Being ready for any situation helps you stand out as a strong candidate.

Individual. This is the type of interview most people think of when they consider applying for a job. It involves just a one-on-one conversation with you and an interviewer. You can expect to encounter questions that are behavioral or situational. Preparing for this kind of interview involves thinking about your past roles and what strengths you bring to the table.

Group. A group interview involves more people. In this setup, expect to interview alongside other candidates. You may interview with one person or a group of hiring managers at once. These types of interviews allow interviewers to see how candidates interact with each other and actively use their communication skills.

Panel. In a panel setup, you’ll be facing several interviewers at once as an individual. You’ll usually be facing the hiring manager and other potential supervisors and/or coworkers. Expect rapid-fire questions that could focus on your alignment with company values and ability to work as a team. Concentrate on engaging and making eye contact with each panel member when you are answering questions.

Multiple Rounds. Many people are exposed to this type of interview format when they apply to large and popular organizations like Amazon or Apple. When you experience a multi-round interview, you usually start the process with one individual interview and follow up with several more in the same day. This allows multiple hiring supervisors to ask you questions in different setups.

Technical. When you’re applying for a technical position at a company, you may have a technically-focused interview. It’s usually set up as a typical one-on-one interview and focuses on technical questions. To prepare for an interview of this type, evaluate your approaches to solving technical problems in comparison to what you find when researching the company’s background.

Phone. Typically, employers use a phone interview for screening candidates to figure out who they want to bring in for a more in-depth interview. You would prepare for (and treat) this kind of interview in the same way you would an in-person interaction. Be professional and ready to answer questions about your skill sets, educational background and knowledge about the company.

Video. In a video interview, not much is different from a traditional interview except that you will be on camera rather than in person. It could be used for screening or to determine if you’ll be hired. A common mistake made with this format is behaving too informally. Dress and get ready as though you were going to meet the interviewer face to face. Sometimes, you may even record an interview to questions sent to you ahead of time. Either way, the key is to have a quiet place to conduct the interview uninterrupted.

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