How to be Successful in Different Types of Interviews


Recruiters and hiring managers often use different types of interviews throughout the hiring process.  There are different strategies and approaches for each type and as a job seeker - you should be fully prepared to make the best of each interview situation that you encounter.  Below are a few interview “types” and strategies for impressing interviewers in each format. 

Screening Interviews 

Screening interviews have the goal of screening a candidate to see if they are suitable for the job.  Screening interviews are often helpful with narrowing down a large pool of candidates, help to identify candidates with a certain skill set and are usually conducted by HR staff. 

Tips for success: 

  • Prepare for your screening interview by reviewing the key skills required for the position and ensuring that you mention these during the interview 

  • Since screening interviews tend to be shorter, prepare several key statements around why your skill set makes you a strong candidate for the role and ensure that you include these in your answers 

Selection Interviews 

Selection interviews may take place to judge potential candidates for a position.  Selection interviews help interviewers to get to know the strongest applicants for a role, can include multiple interviewers and can take place at several levels (first interview, second interview and final interview.) 

Tips for success: 

  • Ensure that you research the company in advance, identify their business goals and objectives and ensure that your interview answers are relevant to their work 

  • The process of moving through multiple selection interviews can be a challenge, ensure that you practice and rehearse your answers with a friend or family member in advance.  This can help with nerves and staying on-point with your answers. 

Panel Interview:  

These are interviews with a panel of interviewers (two or more). They often include people in different roles in the organization.   

Tips for success: 

  • Try to identify who you will be meeting with in advance.  Take a look at their LinkedIn profiles to learn more about their background.  Tailor your answers so that they reflect the expertise of who is in the room. 

  • You should make eye-contact and address each of the interviewers in turn.  It is often easiest to speak to the “most receptive” looking person, but keep in mind that the outcomes of the interview will often be decided as a panel.  

Group Interview

Where a group of candidates are interviewed or assessed together is a group interview. This is usually done in an experiential format to test how candidates respond in real group situations.  Group interviews are often used for entry-level or customer service related roles for which there are multiple openings. 

Tips for success: 

  • Group interviews are an opportunity to demonstrate how you interact with other people.  Be sure to introduce yourself to other candidates and interviewers in the room. 

  • If you are given exercises or activities, you should demonstrate good teamwork, support of your partner(s) and a collegial approach to working with others. 

  • You should not monopolize the conversation.  Be confident and answer when appropriate, but the overall spirit of the interview is to show how you get along with others in a professional environment. 

Unstructured Interviews

Interviews may vary from a very structured question and answer format to a more unstructured, conversational-type interview.  Unstructured interviews are a good opportunity for you to demonstrate your personality and that you will be a “great culture fit” with the organization. 

Tips for success: 

  • In the course of the conversation, be sure to demonstrate your interpersonal and communication skills.  Small talk is a great way to start off the conversation. 

  • Prepare thoughtful questions about the company and key points to weave into the conversation. 

  • Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the job and the company, be sure to research the company in advance so that you are informed about the current business direction.

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