03. 07. 2018

10 of the most common types of interview

So what are the 10 most common types of interview? 


Telephone interviews are, more often than not, the first step in the interview process. Both recruiters and employers can use this as an initial method of shortlisting or as a way of learning more about the candidate.

This can also be done as a Skype interview (but more on that later!) and are usually straight forward. There will be a few initial questions so the interviewer can sort through candidates and decide who will get through to the next stage. The most important qualities are: sounding competent on the telephone and answering the questions in an intelligent manner.

These are usually short too, around 30 minutes although some can be as short as 10 minutes. You might have a few competencies based questions but the majority will be centred around why you applied for the job.

The most important thing is to show that you’re excited about the opportunity.



Skype is a new one, it has all the same Face-to-Face benefits (or negatives, depending on how you want to look at it) but you’re not physical face-to-face. Whilst it might seem like an odd type of interview, they are becoming more r more regular – as much as 70% of first-stage interviews are now being done via skype.

Remember your interviewer can see you so make sure you look professional. If you can look at the camera, rather than the screen, it will come across as though you’re making eye contact too.

Answer each question calmly and slowly so it can be communicated effectively to the person interviewing you.

It’s a combination of a telephone interview and the traditional Face-to-Face below.


Traditional: Face-to-Face

When asked for an interview this is the most expected and maybe the most feared too. You’ll usually be interviewed by your would-be manager and there are a few different ways of them structuring the interview but ultimately, they need to get enough information to make an evaluation on your attitude and ability to perform to role.

It’s the traditional-style interview and is mostly at a one-on-one basis but can differ depending on the interviewer’s techniques. The interview can be organised to see if you fit the role. Below are the different types of face-to-face interview styles and what to expect.


Group interview

A group interview is here you’re face-to-face with an employer but there are together people competing for the job in the interview with you. This can be a stage before an official one-on-one interview. You’d be told, normally, in advance if you’re going to be part of a group interview. They’re designed to assess your team work and interpersonal skills but also your ability to take charge and stand out amongst your peers. 

The standard progression of the interview is you’ll be asked to introduce yourself to the group, listen to everyone else do the same and then be told about a task you’ll have to complete either all together or broken up into smaller groups. These can vary across companies but might be creating a presentation, solving a puzzle or answering questions.

This type of ‘practical’ interview or also known as a ‘test interview’ isn’t just selective to group interviews and could also all be done on an individual basis, in your one-to-one face-to-face. You may be asked to prepare beforehand or surprised with it. However, you can be mentally prepared by understanding a few of the different types that can crop up:


Presentation interview

Some interviews will ask you to present something to them. This will usually mean you’ll have to prepare beforehand. It will showcase your dedication to getting the job i.e. how much effort have you put in; your thoroughness in researching and what your communication skills are like i.e. can you communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.

The benefit of this is you are able to prepare: you can ask the hiring manager questions, structure and practice the presentation and This one will require confidence and preparation, which is actually the most important thing their interviewer is looking for, so you nail that and you’ll be on your way.


Puzzle or problem solving interview

The puzzle: some interviewers will ask a puzzle questions to test your ability to think on your feet and respond to a situation. An example of this is the “2 Eggs and 100 floor” question

There is a building of 100 floors
-If an egg drops from the Nth floor or above it will break.
-If it’s dropped from any floor below, it will not break.
You’re given 2 eggs.
Find N

How many drops you need to make?
What strategy should you adopt to minimize the number egg drops it takes to find the solution?


the answer is 14. (here’s the strategy and also more puzzles)

Your interviewer will be looking for someone with an analytical and logical thought-process that can work puzzles like these out.


Competency based question interview

This type of interview is designed to test your previous skills and whether they will help you succeed in the role. These are usually a combination of past experiences, for example “can you name a time you managed x situation?” or ask you how you think you would manage a future situation (this can also be a business problem solving question – see below).

It will be evident in the question what type of qualities your interviewer is looking for but examples would be: your level of responsibility, decision making skills, leadership ability, your teamwork and communication.


Business problem solving

Similar to the above you may be given a business problem and required to offer a solution to this, usually relating to the position you’re interviewing for.

These can be more in-depth and complicated to a more straightforward question like “how would you manage an employee who wasn’t turning up for work?”

It is designed to test analytic skills and ability to apply your knowledge to real situations. Questions can be deliberately ambiguous so if you get confused – ask. It’ll work far more in your favour to show that you’re free to ask questions. You aren’t expected to answer correctly or provide an in-depth business solution but need to demonstrate key skills:

Numerical and verbal reasoning
Communication and presentation
Business skills and commercial awareness
A good way to answer this is repeat the question for example to the above question “if an employee wasn’t turning up for work I would…” 


Unstructured interview

The can also be referred to as an “informal interview” and are usually open ended questions that are more focused on understanding the individual’s personality. It’s usually a good way for an interviewer to see if you’re a good fit for the company culture.  These can still have a slight structure but will mostly be open ended questions that can be asked in any order.


Structured Interview

This is the opposite of an unstructured interview as questions are asked in a set order. The interviewer will have scheduled questions and are a mix of open and closed questions, depending on how flexible to interview is.   

Sometimes the interview will be a mixture between all the above, or different interview stages may require the different skills. It is best to be equipped for any of the above. It is also good practice to ask your recruiter what the typical interview format with the company your interviewing is. The benefit of asking this is because your recruiting consultant knows the company they will have an insight into their usually processes so you can prepare beforehand.

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