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Job Interview Types

More than one interview type...

As you may know, there are many forms and types of interviews.  It is best to have some idea in advance of the interview what type you can expect so that you can prepare accordingly.  

A brief list of interview types follow:

  • Personal and informal interview

  • Personal and formal interview

  • Progressive interview

  • Group interview

In definition, the types are explained below.

Personal and informal interview - These interviews can be held in a professional setting, on the worksite, at a restaurant or elsewhere.  Personal in these definitions simply mean one-on-one with only one person.  These are the most casual of interviews.  One can expect to discuss job-related items, personal goals, discuss other personal issues and be more of a conversation than a one-way interview. This is the most relaxed interview type and will nearly always require a second meeting before any sort of firm decision is made by the hiring party. Bring your personable self and be prepared to chat more than you would expect from the formal interview.  

Personal and formal interview - This one-on-one interview can be much different than the informal interview.  This type is normally held in a closely monitored timeframe and this is the most common interview used when there are several candidates to be seen by the organization in a session.  You may expect typical personal questions regarding your background and goals, but the interview will include standardized questions such as: What are your greatest weaknesses?  Give me an example of your exercising decisiveness on the job without assistance from others?  Dress for this interview is professional and/or can be whatever appropriate attire is needed to perform the job itself.  You will be asked more questions and be giving more answers as the interviewer takes notes in most cases. 

Progressive interview - In some cases, you can be expected to meet with two or more individuals in succession.  This is a progressive interview.  You may meet with someone from Human Resources, then with someone from the department, then with a manager.. etc..  Dress for a formal interview and bring several copies of your documents.  You will want to present each participant with copies or at least offer to.  Make it a point to remember the names of each person you meet with and refer to them as needed.  You will indeed discuss points already covered in earlier conversations.  Be prepared to refer to these conversations as needed.  Make an attempt to relate to each person as an individual and not carry on the same exact conversation with each person. Try to appeal to each person as you meet them. 

Group interview - Perhaps the most intimidating of all interview types, and sometimes referred to as a committee interview.  Envision a board room, meeting room, break room or somewhere else that five or more people can meet at once.  The point here is to have fun with the people while satisfying their individual curiosities about you.  Relax and engage each person that addresses you directly.  Remember that everyone is listening, so making eye contact with everyone is best even while you're really responding to someone in particular and focusing most of your attention on that person.  Certain people may not say anything and in some cases the people will take turns asking you questions. In either case, pay attention to everyone and be courteous to all.  The more relaxed you are the better.   


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