Types of Interviews

Watch the Types of Interviews video in Big Interview for insight into the types of interviews you may encounter. The video can be accessed under Part 1 of both the Fast Track and Mastery Track video curriculum on the Learn tab.

Screening Interview: Typically conducted by a human resources representative (although not always), these interviews may be held on campus or conducted by phone. The employer’s primary goal is to see how well you can communicate/express your ideas and your overall presence. Typical length is 30 minutes or less.

Phone/Zoom: As a time-saver, employers will opt to conduct a screening interview via phone or using a video conferencing platform. Prepare as thoroughly as you would for an in-person interview.

On-site Interview: If you perform well during the screening interview, the employer may invite you to participate in a more extensive in-person interview. Expect the interview to last two to three hours. Plan to meet members of the organization with whom you will be interacting should you be offered the position. You may be asked to present on a topic (sometimes provided in advance, but not always). You might also be asked to participate in a group presentation with other potential candidates.

Group/Panel Interview: A group of three or more interviewers. This group is comprised of key members of the organization who will assess your competency. Often the individuals represent various roles within an organization.

Technical Interview: These are designed to gauge your problem-solving skills, your ability to think under pressure, and your technical knowledge in your chosen field. The interviewer wants to see how you think through a problem to reach a solution. Reaching the “correct” answer is not necessarily a requirement. See: Technical Interviews.

Series Interview: All-encompassing, on-site interviews that can last a full day or across two to three days. During this time you are being assessed by multiple people at varying levels throughout the process. This may include one-on-one interviews, a presentation (including time for Q & A) as well as a panel interview. Typically, series interviews are conducted for positions in academia or for executive-level positions.

Case Interview: Designed to gauge your ability to think on your feet and to solve real-world problems specific to an organization. The employer explains a typical scenario and provides you with the information needed to solve the problem. All questions are based on the information provided. The goal is for you to provide logical solutions using your knowledge of the organization, industry and any other relevant information.

Tips for Phone Interviews

  • Have your documents in front of you, including a copy of your résumé and a copy of the position description, with key information highlighted.
  • Prepare some thoughtful questions about the position.
  • Allow for ample time; the interview may go beyond 30 minutes.
  • Make sure you’ll have good reception, or use a landline. Make sure you are speaking clearly/audibly. Sit in a quiet place free of background noise.
  • Have a clock handy so you can gauge how long you are talking as you answer each question and to give you a sense of the amount of time left.
  • Do your research! At a minimum, be sure to check out the company website, taking note of the mission/vision.
  • Project energy and enthusiasm, as you would in a face-to-face conversation. Listeners can “hear” you smile!
  • Remember this is a real interview—even though you may be in the comfort of your own home, put yourself together and project professionalism. Don’t use the phone as an excuse to stay in your PJs!
  • At the end, ask, “What is the next step in your process?”


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