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Center for Experiential Learning

Types of Job Interviews

Behavioral Interview

A behavioral interview is designed to provide the employer with an in-depth look at your abilities. Sometimes you can fudge your way through an interview, but this is more difficult to do in a behavioral interview situation. Here, employers are asking for specific examples of how you did things, or handled certain situations. The thought process behind these questions is that past performance is a good predictor of future actions.

The Case Interview

The case interview is employed primarily by management-consulting firms, as well as investment-banking companies, and is increasingly being used by other types of corporations as at least part of the job-interviewing process. During this type of interview you are given a situation and are asked to formulate a plan that deals with the problem. You do not develop the ultimate solution; the interviewers are simply evaluating how you apply your knowledge and skills to a real-life situation.

Case interviews are designed to scrutinize the skills that are especially important in management consulting and related fields: quantitative skills, analytical skills, problem-solving skills, creativity, flexibility, the ability to think quickly under pressure, listening skills, business acumen, keen insight, interpersonal skills, the ability to synthesize findings, professional demeanor, and powers of persuasion.

Committee Interview

In a committee interview you will face several members of the organization who will be actively involved in the hiring decision. When answering questions from several people, speak directly to the person asking the question; it is not always necessary to answer to the entire group. Committee interviews give you an opportunity to meet a variety of people and to see how they interact.

Group Interview

The group interview is usually designed to illustrate the leadership potential of prospective managers and employees who will deal with the public. Final candidates are gathered together in an informal, discussion-type interview. A subject is introduced and the interviewer will start a discussion. The goal of the group interview is to see how you interact with others and how you use your knowledge and reasoning skills to win over others. If you perform well in the group interview, it is usually followed later by a more extensive interview.

Lunch Interview

The same guidelines apply in lunch interviews as those for typical site interviews. This type of interview may appear to be more casual, but remember it is a business lunch and you are being evaluated carefully. Use this type of interview to develop common ground with the interviewer. Follow the interviewer’s lead in both selection of food and in etiquette. Do not order alcoholic drinks or smoke, even if offered by the interviewer.

One-to-One Interview

In a one-to-one interview session, one interviewer is speaking with one candidate. This is the most common type of interview. It has already been established that you have the skills and education necessary for the position. The interviewer wants to see if you will fit in with the company and how your skills will complement the rest of the department or unit. Your goal in a one-to-one interview to is to establish rapport with the interviewer and show how your qualifications will benefit the company.

Phone Interview

The phone interview is a screening device designed to eliminate candidates and narrow the pool of applicants for personal interviews. It is useful to have notes nearby. You will sound more prepared if you don’t have to search for information. Make sure you also have paper and a pen so that you can take notes and write down any questions you might have. Be prepared to think on your feet. Pauses to think seem longer when the interviewer is not physically in your presence. Since you cannot see body language, make sure to check with the interviewer to make sure you are answering what he/she asked.

Site Visit

This interview occurs at the actual location of the organization. One purpose of this interview is to provide you with an opportunity to meet other staff members. A second reason is to allow more people to interview you in greater depth to determine if you are a good match. The visit may take part of a day, an entire day, or perhaps even longer. If the organization offers to pay your expenses to travel to the interview, be professional and cost-conscious.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is often used as a more personalized version of the telephone interview. Recruiters conduct live, face-to-face interviews with applicants via personal computers equipped with cameras and speakers. You would use the same strategies as if you were meeting in person. Typically, clothing, body language, and dialogue typically should not differ. Your goal is still an invitation to meet personally for a second interview at the organization’s location.