Types of Interviews
Interviewers may use one of these styles or a mixture of multiple styles during your interview.
Standard Interviews entail questions like "Tell me about yourself", "Why are you here today?" and "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?".
"Tell me about yourself" is the most common interview question and is typically how interviewers kick-off the interview. You should be prepared to answer this with a 1-3 minute response that starts out with a brief overall summary of your career/education and then narrow it down to the position you’re applying for revealing why you’re the best fit for the job.
*Note: With any interview questions, your interviewer may interrupt you along the way to “dig in” more on certain portions of your response.
Behavioral Interviews are very common. Basically, the interviewer is asking you about your past experiences in order to best predict how you will react to similar future situations. Examples of questions are, "Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle it?" or "Tell me about a time you made a mistake professionally".
"Tell me about a time you made a mistake professionally" is a favorite interview question for many hiring managers. The ideal response with this, and any other behavioral interview questions, will detail out the task that was assigned, the mistake made, what was learned from the mistake, and how it was corrected to drive future success. It’s important to remember that you should not push blame onto anyone else when discussing "your" mistake. This is a favorite question because it not only shows that you have the ability to learn from your mistakes but also that you can take ownership when something goes wrong. Remember to not use "we" when responding to this question (i.e. "well, my team and I made this mistake, but we fixed it by doing this") – "we" is a faint-hearted way out and it will not impress your interviewer.
Situational Interviews involve asking you how you would react to a specific scenario. So rather than enquiring about your past experience the interviewer wants to see how you would solve a specific problem. These questions will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.
Case Interviews entail solving a problem presented to you. The questions might be more quantitative and will give the interviewer the opportunity to see how you walk through a problem. As you solve the problem, you’ll ideally talk it through aloud so the interviewer can follow your thought process.
Presentation Interviews challenge the interviewee by revealing a problem and having the interviewee present on a solution. You might receive notice about a presentation and the topic ahead of time or you might find out when you head in for the interview (in which case you will be given a few minutes to prepare). If you aren’t given the topic until the interview note that your interviewers are probably not looking as much at the look of the presentation versus assessing your content and following your logic.
Panel Interviewing involves multiple interviewers in the room. This interview style would likely be combined with one or all of the above interviewing techniques. With panel interviews you’ll just want to make sure you’re engaged with everyone in the group and that you’re making eye contact.
- Multiple Copies of your Resume, Cover Letter, and any other portfolio documents you’re wanting your interviewer to see.
- A pen and paper
- Pre-determined questions to ask the interviewer at the end of your interview – using general universal questions is okay but it’s best if you direct some of your questions towards the company and the position specifically to show you’ve done your research.
- See if you can figure out the company’s dress code. Even if the dress code is super casual, it’s best to at least dress business casual – i.e. slacks and a button down. If the dress code is either business casual or business professional you’ll want to wear a suit.