12 Types of Interviews You May Find in a Job Search

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

The job application process might involve several different interviews, each with its own focus. Learn more about the purpose of each, with tips on how to stand out.

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Interviewing for a job may involve completing several different types of interviews, each with a different focus. For example, when you meet with a hiring manager, they may ask you various behavioural and situational interview questions to understand how your skill set and experience align with the role. You can also pursue interviews, such as informational interviews, which can illuminate a particular type of work, company, or industry. 

Explore the different types of interviews you may encounter throughout your job search, starting with the interviews you’ll more commonly experience during a corporate interview process and then moving on to other types.  

5 standard interview types 

The interview process varies by company and industry. In the tech industry, for example, it’s standard to complete a phone screen, a hiring manager interview, a technical or skills-based interview, and an onsite interview with several potential team members. However, senior or leadership roles may require more stages. 

Typically, a recruiter or company representative will give you the information you need about each interview: who it will be with, when it will take place, and how it will be conducted (in-person or via video). You can also ask what the focus of each interview will be so that you can be better prepared for each step of the process.  

Let’s review the standard interviews you may encounter when you’re being considered for a job. 

1. Phone screen

A phone screen is usually a 15-—to 30-minute phone call with a recruiter. While it may seem like an official interview, it’s meant to verify the experience you listed on your CV and reveal what interests you in the role and your larger career goals. It can also help frame your story so a recruiter gets a broader sense of who you are. 

At this stage, recruiters often contact several candidates who seem like a potential fit to gather information that will help the hiring manager decide who to begin interviewing. 

2. Hiring manager interview

A hiring manager interview is often the first official interview for a job. However, some companies may require you to meet with a different interviewer or a panel of interviewers before the hiring manager. 

This interview is an opportunity to learn more about the available role and how your experience fits. You may receive behavioural interview questions that aim to understand you, your workplace, and your technical skills.  

3. Second or panel interview 

A second interview means you’ve impressed the hiring manager or the first interviewer and made it to the next round. At this stage, you may meet with any number of people. Interviews can be divided into one-panel or multiple interviews with various team members or employees (sometimes called an ‘onsite interview’). 

You can expect more behavioural and situational questions to help interviewers understand how you’d respond to hypothetical scenarios. You may also need to elaborate on your technical skills.

4. Skills-based or technical interview 

Sometimes called a ‘case interview,’ the skills-based or technical interview you may complete face-to-face with an interviewer or on your own time. In either instance, you will need to complete a test designed to rate your technical competency. For example, copywriters may have to complete a writing test, UX designers may have to complete a whiteboard challenge, or software engineers may have to complete a coding test. This is a popular interview with management consultants to emulate complex business problems.

5. Final interview

The final interview will answer any hiring team questions about you. You may meet with the hiring manager or a different company leader or executive again. 

7 additional interview types 

Outside of a corporate job search, you'll find numerous other interview types that can help you gather important information about a job or industry, practice your interview skills, and more. Let’s go over these different options: 

1. Informational interview 

An informational interview gives you greater autonomy. When you’re interested in working at a company or performing a certain type of work, it’s a chance for you to reach out to a relevant person and find answers to your career-related questions. Informational interviews are informal conversations that guide your job search and help you gain valuable details.  

2. Mock interview 

A mock interview is an opportunity to practice interviewing. Often, you will meet with someone—like a friend or career coach—who plays the interviewer's part, and you will be the interviewee or participant. At the end of the mock interview, you should receive feedback about what you did well and any areas that could benefit from extra preparation. 

3. Video interview 

A video interview is not a type of interview but rather an interview format. You can interview over video for any of the interviews we’ve discussed. While many companies prefer Zoom for interviews, a range of videoconferencing software is available to facilitate conversations with candidates. 

4. Panel interview

A panel interview takes place with more than one person, such as a hiring committee. You may have to answer questions in a "round-robin" setting, wherein each person asks you a question before moving on to the next person on the panel. Depending on who participates in a panel interview, you can use it to gain important insight into how the team functions. 

5. Group interview 

A group interview may sound similar to a panel interview, but it’s when there’s more than one candidate instead of more than one interviewer. With this type of interview, candidates are interviewed simultaneously so employers can learn more about how they interact with others. 

6. Off-site interview

Sometimes, a potential employer wants to meet with you "offsite" or from their office to discuss a job. Offsite interviews, sometimes called lunch interviews, can be formal or informal. There may be more distractions with this type of interview, especially when food is involved. In that case, try to pick a meal that isn’t overly messy and limit or avoid drinking alcohol.  

7. Career fair interview

This type of interview takes place at a career fair, where a company representative has typically been sent to recruit university students, recent graduates, or others interested in working for the company. The length can range from a brief screen (similar to a phone screen) to a longer formal interview, but the purpose is to gauge your interest in the company and your experience. 

When you attend a career fair, it’s a good idea to research the companies you’d like to speak with in advance so you’re prepared in case an introduction leads to an on-the-spot interview.  

8. Sequential interview

During a sequential interview, you will be interviewed by multiple people from the same company throughout the same day or over multiple days. The interviewers may increase in seniority as you continue throughout the day, or they may focus on different aspects of your skill set and fit for the company.

9. Stress interview

Sometimes, the employer may want to see how you handle stress. The idea is to see if you can handle high-pressure situations and what reactions may be common in these scenarios. This could involve solving a puzzle in a certain amount of time or asking you to complete an unusual task.  

Explore further 

Prepare for your next big interview with The Art of the Job Interview from Big Interview on Coursera. Learn how to answer basic and advanced interview questions and practice with interactive tools. Get started with a seven-day free trial.

You can also strengthen your CV with a Professional Certificate on Coursera from Google, IBM, or Meta, all designed to help you develop valuable career skills in lucrative areas like UX design, data science, project management, marketing analytics, and sales

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