The 5 Most Frequent Interview Types and How to Ace Them

interview types
[Photo courtesy of Amanda Wilks]

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by Amanda Wilks

Every company tackles the recruiting process in its own different way. Even though most interviews take the basic form of a one-on-one meeting with the interview, today a creative position receives a creative approach to the selection of candidates.

This could mean there is high probability you will be invited to lunch to discuss a suitable opening in your ideal company or you’ll have to face the thrill of a Skype interview. No matter the circumstances, you should be prepared to sell your expertise in any kind of environment. So, let’s discuss the five most frequent interview types and their tips and techniques to ace them.

1. Phone Interview

Once you apply for a job, be prepared for any kind of situation, including a phone call. This call has the intent to observe how you handle the situation and decide if you are a good fit for a proper interview.

The simplest way to impress the interviewer for the few minutes over the phone is to do your homework. Learn every important detail about all the companies you applied to. The phone call may take you aback with some serious questions, like why you are interested in their position. 

The key here is to give all your applications the same interest. Even though your dream job is just one of them, you never know what fascinating things other workplaces have in store for you.

2. Standard Interview

There’s one room where the interviewer and yourself have a quick one on one discussion. You have between 10 and 60 minutes to show the person in front of you what you are capable of. This means you should be able to elaborate on the years of work that your resume has listed. A trick to feeling inspired during the whole interview is to read successful stories of real role models.

Any minor details might have an effect on the quality of the interview, so make sure you provide a firm handshake and eye contact the entire time. The best way to make the interviewer’s time worthwhile is to be prepared to sell yourself.

[Read More: Reasons Why You Should Pursue a Job That Makes You Happy]

When answering common questions, such as “What did you work on so far that prepares you for this job?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” use this as an opportunity to talk about your achievements and describe your ambitions.

Use names of partners you collaborated with, technical details, anything that propelled your previous work to display a high-performance level. Sticking just to the assertive assumption that you were the best in the company won’t win your case. A good sell is backing up any detail with numbers.

3. Restaurant Interview

You may also receive a phone call to discuss your work and experience over lunch. This is really good news for you. It means the interviewer was impressed by your resume and wants to get to know you better. 

Even though the restaurant of choice might be casual, you will still have to showcase your best self, so dress accordingly. Also, there will be more disconnecting factors in a restaurant than in a perfectly quiet conference room. 

As far as the actual meal is concerned, you should ask the interviewer what he recommends and order accordingly. This shows you are open to direction and trying new things. However, this rule doesn’t apply to the choice of drinks. The interviewer may order alcohol, but it is best for you to avoid alcohol.  

The conversation with the interviewer will be more casual than a standard interview. So, don’t refrain from asking questions about the company and learn more about its professional culture. Try to mirror each value respected by the company with your own personal values and experiences.

Since the interviewer invited you to lunch, it is his or her responsibility to take care of the bill. This is the proper moment to thank them for the meeting and ask about the next steps.

4. Panel Interview

After you have aced your basic interview, the chances are that you will sit across multiple employees of the company for your second interview. This kind of meeting is the outcome of making a good impression on the HR team. Now, it is up to the professional staff of the company to decide if you have the qualifications to fit in their team.

So, the moment you find out about the panel interview, ask who the interviewers will be. These interviewers will ask you questions based on their own expertise in the company. Prepare yourself accordingly.

[Read More: Learning How to Freelance in a Cutthroat Industry]

When you enter the room, make sure you introduce yourself to each of the interviewers. There will be a voice of authority among them to coordinate the meeting. However, ultimately all the participants will have equal decision power.

When one of the members asks you a question, start by making eye contact with that person and then continue addressing all of the members. Make each person feel included in an equal measure.

Try to avoid approaching each question as a chapter that is independent of all other questions. Establishing a connection with each of the members requires linking the answers between them. If one person asks you about your expertise in one field, link your answer to the ones you’ve already given to the other members.

At the end of the interview, ask appropriate questions for each of the interviewers. You can relate the questions to the topics you’ve already discussed.

5. Skype Interview

Due to time and space limitations, interviewers are willing to carry out interviews over Skype. This means you have the advantage of a more comfortable environment, where you get to wear comfy pajama pants on the bottom while in a professional blazer on top. 

First off, make sure your Skype username, picture, and status are appropriate. These are the first things the interviewer will receive so make sure all three will create an ideal first impression.

It is also important to make sure there will be no technical problems during the interview. The interviewer will have a limited time assigned for the conversion with you, so don’t waste precious seconds on technical difficulties. Test the microphone and video connection beforehand and make sure the interviewer will receive a clear image of your face. It is important for him or her to see your facial expressions.

Most importantly, make sure everyone in your house knows you will attend a professional online interview, even your pets. There’s nothing worse than wasting the interviewer’s time on trying to make your excited dog stop barking.

A key aspect is to have an organized and tidy background. If there’s no way you can get rid of boxes, a pile of clothes or your room is too messy, just turn your desk around you are against a plain white wall.

So, these are the tips and tricks to ace the most frequent interview types. The general advice is to be the best version of yourself during these sessions while staying honest and respectful. Interviewers typically have enough experience to discern honesty from praises, so there’s no need to fake anything. Eventually, if the interviews go smoothly, you will get the job that you were born for.


Amanda Wilks is a former Boston University valedictorian and a skilled content crafter at Job Descriptions. A writer, blogger, and full-time researcher, she dreams of helping job-seekers and candidate-hunters all over to connect effortlessly. She believes awareness, communication, and collaboration are key to all of our personal and professional endeavors. You can follow her on Twitter

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