7 Interview Types

Below we assembled a brief overview of the interview types used by many employers, and a few characteristics and recommendations on how to handle them. We also have a series of articles regarding interview preparation, so be sure to check other articles from our career specialists.

One‐On‐One Interview

If there is just one interviewer, it is usually the direct supervisor to the position for which you are interviewing. This can be less stressful than a panel or group interview, but it’s becoming less common.

Panel Interview

This involves you and two or more interviewers. Panel interviews are one way to determine your ability to work cohesively within a group (not to mention your ability to withstand intense pressure)

Group Interview

In a group interview, several applicants interview at the same time with either an individual or a panel of interviewers. Usually, each interviewer asks questions that each applicant takes a turn answering. This quickly draws comparisons between applicants and their ability to provide a unique or more complete answer. You want to stand out by giving unique answers to the questions, instead of just saying “Me too.”

Screening Interview

A telephone interview is an example of a screening interview. It aims to “screen out” applicants and “screen in” people who are appropriate to move on to the next level of the interview process (such as an in‐person interview). Weeding people out in this way can save the employer time, especially if the interview process is long and involves sequential and/or panel interviews.

Sequential Interview

This is a series of interviews (either in the same day or over the course of a few days), often including several supervisors, managers, and/or peers. Each person may cover the same material, or each may focus on a particular aspect of your qualifications.

Social Interview

These can take place in a variety of non‐traditional settings (lunch, cocktail party, career fair, office tour, etc). It can resemble a traditional interview or it can seem very informal. If the interviewers are acting casually, it’s okay to be a little less formal, but don’t let your guard down and don’t say anything you’ll regret! In some cases, your potential fellow employees may be evaluating you along with the boss.

Confrontational / Stress Interview

Seemingly unrelated or emotionally charged questions are asked in order to gauge whether you are informed and can work effectively under pressure. Essentially this is an attempt to unnerve you. Your objective is to remain calm and focus on communicating your strong points.

Last Updated September 22, 2017