Types of Job Seeker and Candidate Interview Styles

Types of Job Seeker Interviews

The job search and employee selection process takes 90 days from start the finish for a company to hire a new employee.  While the resume and cover letter are one piece of the job search and candidate evaluation process, the interview serves as an opportunity for the hiring manager and job seeker to meet face to face, learn more about the culture and organization, and determine if both are a fit to work with one another.

Types of Job Seeker Interviews

While candidate interview questions are important, it is also essential for the job seeker to be comfortable with the different types of interviews one may face during the hiring process.  This process includes first, third, second, fourth, and sometimes even fifth interviews.  Although five candidate interviews are rare to fill a job opening, it is not unheard of.

  • Phone Interview.  Typically the recruiter phone interview and screens job seekers determining if they have the skills and qualifications before bringing them into the office for a face to face interview.  These interviews are short normally 30 minutes or less and are often times unscheduled.  Job seekers who apply for positions must be prepared at a moment’s notice to meet with a recruiter for a phone interview.   
  • Video Interviewing.  This is a new tool using video conferencing and web cams to screen and interview job seekers.  This type of interview helps lower interview costs and time commitments for both the job seeker and the interviewer.  There are two types of video interviewing: Asynchronous video interviews and Two Way interviews.  Asynchronous are recorded interviews that are not live.  Job seekers answer a series of questions using video and are recorded for later viewing by the hiring manager and recruiter.
  • Face to Face Interview.  Most interviews are face-to-face. The most traditional is a one-on-one conversation. Your focus should be on the person asking questions. Maintain eye contact, listen and respond once a question has been asked.  Use the STAR interview method when answering questions: Situations/Task, Action, and Result.  Your goal is to establish rapport with the interviewer and show them that your qualifications will benefit their organization.  Keep distractions to a minimum like hair twirling or tapping knees or legs.
  • Panel of Committee Interview.  In this situation, there is more than one interviewer. Typically, three to ten members of a panel may conduct this part of the selection process. This is your chance to put your group management and group presentation skills on display.  As quickly as possible, try to access the various personality types of each interviewer and adjust to them. Find a way to connect with each interviewer.  Look them in the eye, smile, and be relaxed. Maintain eye contact with the panel member who asked the question, but also seek eye contact with other members of the panel as you give your response.  In some committee interviews you may be asked to demonstrate your problem solving skills. The committee will outline a situation and ask you to formulate a plan that deals with the problem. You don’t have to come up with the ultimate solution. The interviewers are looking for how you apply your knowledge and skills to a real life situation.
  • Lunch or Dinner Interview.  The same rules apply at a meal as those in an office. The setting may be more casual, but remember it is a business meal and you are being watched carefully.  Use the interview to develop common ground with your interviewer. Follow his/her lead in both selection of food and etiquette.  Eat less. Order an entree that is light and easy to eat. Baby back ribs are not an appropriate choice.  Do not drink alcohol at any point in the interview process.  Do you best to focus all your attention on the person you are meeting with.
  • Stress Interviews.  This form of interview was more common in sales positions and is rare today. However, you should be aware of the signals. The stress interview is usually a deliberate attempt to see how you handle yourself under pressure.  The interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting. Don’t take it personally. Calmly answer each question. Ask for clarification if you need it, and never rush into an answer.  The interviewer may also lapse into silence at some point during the questioning. This may be an attempt to unnerve you. Sit silently until the interviewer resumes the questions. If a minute goes by, ask if he/she needs clarification of your last comments.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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