Six Types Of Interview Styles

Overwhelmed and trying to prepare for your next interview? Then you are in the RIGHT place.

Every employer has a preferred style of obtaining information they need for their hiring decision. Here are some basic types of interview styles you may encounter. Some employers may decide to use a combination of different styles, but as long as you have prepared, you will find you do well and can adapt to the situation as they present.

1.      Structured interview:

A structured interview is typically formal and organized – the process may include several interviews, commonly referred to as a panel interview. An interviewer who has a more structured style will usually begin with what is known as an “ice breaker” question. The icebreaker is used to relax you before the more serious questions are asked. A discussion about the weather might be used or perhaps a question about the traffic on your way to the office.

Next, the interviewer may talk for a few minutes about the company and the position. During this time, the interview may describe the day-to-day work responsibilities and the general company culture, environment and philosophy. He or she may then ask you a series of questions regarding your past educational and work experiences.

Finally, the interviewer may ask if you have any additional questions for him or her. You should always have several questions prepared to ask the interviewer. This type of interview is structured and formal.

2.      Unstructured interview:  

The unstructured interview is what the name implies. The only structure to the interview is the one that you provide. The interviewer is interested in hearing from you, so you may be asked a variety of different open-ended questions.

You will find an unstructured interview to be more conversational and less formal in tone than a structured interview. Be prepared to have a casual conversation, you may be asked questions about your hobbies, what you do on the weekends, designed to put you at ease.

Many candidates prefer this laid back style of interviewing, but you must be careful.Sometimes, employers intentionally adopt this casual demeanor so that you feel comfortable enough to let your guard and potentially reveal something that you normally would not. If you find yourself in an unstructured interview, be friendly, but maintain your professionalism.

Remember, that you are there to highlight your best assets and to convince the employer that you are the most qualified candidate for the job.

Casual conversation is acceptable, and it can set a positive tone for the interview, but be sure to bring the conversation around to your skills and qualifications.

3.      Stress interview:

This style is primarily used by interviewers who are hiring for positions where there is a high-level of daily stress in the work environment (i.e., sales, stockbroker, etc…).

The same questions that are asked during a structured or unstructured interview may be asked for a stress interview. However, there may be a difference in the behaviors or demeanor of the interviewer. The interviewer during a stress interview may appear distracted, contrary, or indifferent to you. The idea behind this type of interview is to assess your reaction to the pressure of indifference, rejection, and overall stress. To be successful in the stress interview, it is recommended that you focus on the question that is being asked, not the manner in which it is asked.

Another expense of a stress interview is the “strange question.” For instance, some interviewers like to ask questions such as, “How many ping pong balls can fit in a 757 jet?’ To answer a question like this, break it down into smaller, more manageable components. Verbally, convey your decision making process. The interviewer will be less focused on whether or not you came to the ‘right’ answer and more focused on your ability to problem-solve and think logically.

Sometimes in a stress interview, the interviewer will put candidates in an uncomfortable situation. For instance, a candidate may be given a test that takes two hours to complete, and are told to complete it in thirty minutes.

Remain cool, calm and collected.

Remember to stay calm throughout a stress interview, because that is what the employer is looking for – a candidate who has the ability to remain cool, calm and collected.

4.      Behavioral interview:

Behavioral interviewing is a widely used method of job interviewing. This approach is based on the belief that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.

They want to know what you actually did.

Therefore, behavioral interview questions are designed to probe your previous experiences in order to determine how you might behave in similar situations in the future.

In this type of interview, you will not be asked hypothetical questions about how you would handle a situation if confronted with it in the future. Instead, you will be asked how you did handle a specific situation when you encountered it in the past. Keep in mind that employers are not interested in what you have done, or what you will do next time…. They want to know what you actually did.

Behavioral interview questions general start with any one of the following phrases:

  • Tell me about a time when you….

  • Describe a circumstance when you were faced with a problem related to….

  • Tell me how you approached a situation where….

  • Share with me an instance in which you demonstrated….

5.      Problem Solving or Case Interview:

Employers utilize this style of questioning to test a candidate’s analytical ability and communication skills. In a problem solving or case interview, you will be presented with a real or simulated problem to consider and solve.

You are not necessarily expected to arrive at the “correct answer.” What the interviewer is most concerned with is your though process, so be sure to “think out loud” when responding to this type of question. An effective answer is one which demonstrates your ability to break a problem down into manageable pieces and to think clearly under pressure.

6. Panel Interviews:

Employers often like to gather the opinions of several members of their staff prior to deciding to hire. Ensure you write down the name of each person in the interview process. When answering your question, focus on the person who asked the question, but make eye contact with the other members of the group, from time-to-time.

It is important for you to educate yourself on these basic fundamental interview styles. Once you do, you will feel more equipped in preparing and effectively communicating your abilities, by providing direct examples of your experience and highlighting the value you bring to the table, based on your area(s) of expertise

Are you interested in learning more about career advice and positioning yourself to stand out in a competitive market? Be sure to check out our recent podcasts recorded by my colleagues, Rachelle Roberts and T Clark, on the Spark, the ICF blog. You may also inMail me directly with questions via LinkedIn.

Source: Anonymous (2018). Types of Interviews. Retrieved from http://www.drexeluniversity.com


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