January 27, 2020

Practice Makes Perfect: How to Excel at Every Interview Type

by Amy Stuntz

You heard back from a hiring manager and they have requested an interview with you. Great! Now it is time to prepare. But where do you start? Check out these common interview types and tips for how to prepare for each.

Phone Interview

A phone interview is a typical first step for most companies. One benefit of a phone interview is that you can prepare notes beforehand and have them in front of you. Speak clearly and confidently. If you will be doing this interview over a lunch break, make sure you have a quiet place to go with minimal background noise. If you are using a cell phone, make sure you have a full battery and a clear signal.

Traditional Face to Face Interview

This is your opportunity to really nail that first impression. Make sure you have directions to where you are meeting and do a practice drive if you are not familiar with the area. Dress the part. If you will be coming straight from your current job and you have a casual dress code, check with the interviewer to make sure it is okay for you to wear casual clothes so you do not send a red flag to your current boss.

Panel Interview

Also known as ‘The Firing Squad’. Interviewing with several people at one time is nice because you only have to answer questions one time, but it can also be very intimidating. To prepare, make sure you know the names and responsibilities for everyone that you will be meeting with. Bring enough copies of your resume to pass out. Do your best to make a connection with each interviewer. Make eye contact with each person and be aware of your body language so the entire group is engaged with what you have to say.

Skype Interview

This is a phone interview on steroids. Make sure your tech systems are ready to go, then practice. If you do not have the right technology, find a local FedEx or Kinkos to use. Just like an in-person interview, dress to impress. Pay attention to how your interview attire looks on video– you don’t want what you are wearing to be a distraction. Check what will be in the background of your interview. Keep it clean and professional.

Lunch Interview

A lunch interview gives you an opportunity to show your potential employer who you are both professionally and in a more casual environment. To prepare, start with some basic research. Review the restaurant menu ahead of time so you spend less time deciding what to eat and more time engaging with your interviewer. A lunch interview is typically more of a conversation than a Q&A format. The employer will most likely be assessing your communication and interpersonal skills so make sure you are polite and have good table manners.

Group Interview

These interviews are most common for sales roles or when a company is looking to hire multiple people for the same position. Your goal in a group interview is to stand out in a positive way. Involve everyone. Don’t ignore the fact that the room is full of your competition. If someone answers a question, follow up with your own thoughts on why you agree or disagree in a respectful way. Be yourself. Everyone in the room will be able to tell if you are faking it. Take advantage when it is your turn to speak and speak with a purpose.

Career or Job Fair Interview

These interviews are second nature for recent college grads, but could be terrifying for a seasoned professional. Approach the booth with confidence and come prepared to sell yourself to the recruiter with a 10-15-minute dialogue of why they should invite you in for a formal interview.


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