Types of job interviews

Informal interviews

Some employers prefer a relaxed chat. While the situation may feel friendly you are still being assessed. It’s acceptable to reflect the interviewer’s informal style but ensure you remain polite and consider responses carefully. Avoid banter.

Competency/criteria based interviews

These are structured in line with the attributes the job requires. Interviewers will be looking for evidence of your skills and abilities and how they can be used in the role. To make your mark, it is imperative you can support your answers with real life examples.

Technical interviews

Some roles require very specific technical skills or knowledge. Questions will focus on real problems. Don’t worry if you don’t know the exact answer. Explain how you would tackle a problem, the techniques to engage and the outcomes you would seek.

Portfolio-based interviews

The creative sector – media, communication and art for example – will often ask you to bring a portfolio of work to the interview. This will then become the focus of the discussion. Be prepared to explain why you have included the pieces you have.

Case study interviews

A hypothetical scenario or real business problem will be presented and, during the interview, you will be expected to analyse the problem, identify the key issues and develop a solution. Interviewers will be looking as much at how you work through the case study as to the actual solution you present.

Face to face interviews

If you are being interviewed by several people, shake hands with each when introduced and do your best to remember their names – repeating them as you are introduced is helpful. Direct your answers to the person who asks each question but ensure you establish eye contact with each individual.

Group interviews/Assessment Centres

These may be used when a company is recruiting for a number of roles or for ones which involve a lot of teamwork. Several candidates may be present and will be asked questions in turn or asked to carry out a team activity. You aren’t only being assessed when you’re speaking or being spoken to. The interviewers will be gauging your reaction when others are in the spotlight.

Telephone interviews

These are more common as part of the recruitment process, often at an early stage. This isn’t just a ‘chat on the phone’. You should prepare in the same way as you would for a face to face interview. When the interview is arranged, ensure you are able to be in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Have a copy of your CV and the job advert to hand so you can refer to it if necessary.