11 Types of Interviews You May Find in a Job Search

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Your job search might involve several different interviews, each with its own focus. Learn more about the purpose of each type of interview and tips on how to stand out.

[Featured image] A job candidate negotiates his digital marketing salary.

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 a range of behavioural and situational interview questions to understand how your skills and experience align with the role. You might pursue an informational interview at another stage in your search to learn more about a particular type of work, company, or industry. 

In this article, we’ll review the types of interviews you may encounter throughout your job search. We’ll start with the interviews you’ll more commonly experience during a corporate interview process and then move 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 provide the information you need regarding each interview: who it will be with, when it will take place, and how it will be conducted (in-person or by video). Don’t be afraid to ask what the focus of each interview will be so that you can better prepare for each step of the process.  

Let’s look at the standard interviews you may encounter when 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 is conducted to verify the experience you listed on your resume and reveal what interested you in the role and your larger career goals. It helps 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 bring in for further interviewing. 

2. Hiring manager interview

A hiring manager interview is often your first official interview for a job. However, there are instances when some companies may have you meet with a different interviewer or a panel of interviewers before the hiring manager. 

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

3. Second or panel interview 

You’ve made it to the next round. A second interview means you’ve impressed the hiring manager or the first interviewer. You may meet with any number of people at this next stage. The interviews can be divided into one-panel or individual interviews with various team members or employees. 

In a panel interview, you may have to answer questions in a “round-robin” setting, wherein each person separately 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. 

You can expect more behavioural questions, along with some situational questions, meant 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”, you may have to complete the skills-based or technical interview face-to-face with an interviewer or on your own time. In either instance, you must complete a test to rate your technical competency. This interview will not be scheduled for those applying in every industry. 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.  

5. Final interview

The final interview is held to answer any lingering questions the hiring team may have about you. You may meet with the hiring manager or a different company leader or executive again. When you reach a final interview, you can assume you are a frontrunner for the position. This interview will ideally decide whether to go with you or another finalist. So, preparation and making a positive impression remain critical. 

6 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 is an educational interview. When you’re interested in working at a company or performing a specific 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 to guide your job search by helping 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 so much as an interview format. You can interview over video for any of the interviews we’ve discussed. While many companies prefer Zoom for interviews, especially at the preliminary stages, a range of videoconferencing software is available to facilitate conversations with candidates. 

4. Group interview 

A group interview may sound similar to the panel interview above, but it’s when there’s more than one candidate instead of more than one interviewer. Candidates are interviewed at the same time in this type of interview. This approach lets employers learn more about how you interact with others (and the pressure of performing alongside other candidates). 

5. Offsite interview

Sometimes, a potential employer wants to meet with you “offsite” or away from their company’s 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.  

Charles Schwab’s CEO, Walt Bettinger, famously invites job candidates to breakfast, where he sets them up to encounter a messed up order.

6. Career fair interview

This type of interview takes place at a career fair, where a company representative is typically sent to recruit college 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. This will help you be prepared in case an introduction leads to an on-the-spot interview.  

Explore further 

Prepare for your next interview with Advanced Interviewing Techniques from the University of Maryland. 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 resume with a Professional Certificate 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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