Types of Interviews

Employment interviews can take a number of forms. A range of interview types are described below. Besides these types of interviews, interviewing can also be conducted in stages.

One to one structured interviews

This is one of the most widely used form of interviewing in graduate selection. In this type of interview, the interviewer will have a fixed set of questions that he/she will ask each candidate, with the aim of finding out the level of your skills in key areas pertinent to the role to which you have applied.

Panel interviews

Similar to a one to one (structured) interview but with more interviewers. In this interview you are likely to be asked similar questions to the one to one (structured) but the questions are likely to be spread between the group, with interviewer most competent in a particular area, asking you the relevant questions. The important thing to remember here is to give your answer to the person that asked the question but during this process make brief eye contact with the other panel members to ensure that they feel included.

One to one unstructured interviews

This type of interview is merely an informal chat where the interviewer will simply talk to you about a range of issues and subjects. It is more like a free flowing conversation and as such, not very effective in determining the suitability of a candidate. Consequently, it is rarely used in graduate selection.

Group interviews

This rarely used form of interview is where an employer interviews a number of candidates at once. It often involves breaking the candidates into small groups and giving them a problem to solve. This type of interview is often used when an employer is trying to determine how well you interact with others in a group environment. Remember that in this kind of situation it is important that the group achieve its assigned goal and that to stand out one does not always have to be the leader of the group. Observers will assess things such as your: contribution to discussion, expression, reaction to others' and contribution towards reaching the group goal. To perform successfully you should: consider your position before contributing; listen to and support others'; show courtesy and tact; remain composed; and keep a focus on the goal and on time limits.

Telephone Interviews

There are generally 3 instances where you may encounter a telephone interview. The first is when a company uses it as an initial screening method. This telephone interview is usually a brief and containing questions based on the selection criteria, it is often used as a pre-cursor to a face-to-face interview. The second instance is as a substitute for a panel or one to one interview, and may be necessary due to difficulties in either panel members or interviewees attending the interview. The third instance occurs when you are speaking with employees, recruiters, supervisors or other company employees about the position. Be prepared, as applicants are often surprised when a simple telephone enquiry to the company suddenly turns into an impromptu screening interview.

Campus interviews

Most selection procedures for new graduates involve an initial screening stage and a second interview stage. The first screening interview is sometimes conducted on campus. Campus interviews are usually conducted by one interviewer. Questions are usually based around key selection criteria. The interviewer also provides information about the organisation, its operations and goals, and opportunities available for graduates.

Performance or situational interviews

A company might want to test your performance on aspects of work which are important to the job but which are difficult to assess in other ways. Examples of such tests include: meeting performance, sales performance, role plays for client service, and logistic and management exercises. Job imitation tests may also be used to evaluate skills directly related to a position. For example, you could be given tests for proofreading and spelling, computing tasks, and mathematical or statistical ability. You might even be invited to lunch, dinner or a social occasion so that the employer can evaluate your personal and professional behaviour.

Presentations

Interviewers will sometimes ask graduates to prepare and deliver a presentation during interview, usually to a panel or small group. A topic may be set or you may be given the opportunity to choose your own. Most presentations are between 5 and 15 minutes and they will often require the use of visual aids such as overheads or PowerPoint presentations.