Types of Interviews
One-on-one Interviews: A single interviewer who will also be responsible for deciding who to hire. This is the traditional method and is usually fairly straightforward. Try to maintain eye contact as much as possible with the interviewer.
Panel/Board Interviews: Two or more interviewers who usually take turns asking questions and then reach an agreement on whom to hire. Eye contact is trickier in this situation, especially when the group is larger than two people. Direct your answers to whoever asked the question, while making sure that you at least glance toward all of the other panel members during your response. Make sure to get the names of all your interviewers, use them during the interview, and include them all in addressing your follow-up letter.
Impromptu Interviews: Be prepared for this one when you are dropping off resumes or attending a job fair. (This means no jeans!) Some employers like to cover the basic questions on the spot to decide whether or not they want to set up a formal interview later. As long as you know your job goals and your resume well, you’ll do fine. Just stay relaxed and friendly, shake hands, maintain eye contact, and don’t forget to thank them for their time.
Dinner Interviews: This can be formal or informal, with one or more interviewers, but is set up specifically over a meal. The reason can be as simple as convenience for the employer or as complex as testing the candidate in a social situation. All the usual interview rules apply, along with the following: Don’t order alcohol unless the Interviewer does, and then keep to one drink only; don’t linger over the menu, it will make you appear indecisive; don’t order anything messy, such as spaghetti, or something you will have to eat with your hands; and don’t underestimate the importance of casual conversation. The setting may be informal, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t being closely assessed.
Telephone Interviews: Usually done as a prelude to a second interview. Have a copy of your resumé in front of you along with any points you particularly want to cover. If you are at home make sure the stereo is turned off, the kids are in another room, the dog is outside, etc. Speak a little more slowly than normal, and remember to convey your enthusiasm in your voice.
Group Interviews: Sometimes employers schedule a large number of candidates together, placing them in a group situation, usually with some sort of problem to solve or goal to achieve. This is generally set up as a means of testing your teamwork abilities and interpersonal skills. There is very little you can do to prepare for this type of interview. Remain calm and try to bring as many of your leadership skills to light as possible.
Stress Interviews: If you run into one of these it means the job involves performing under fire; not unusual in the sales/marketing fields. Candidates are kept waiting for long periods of time, no attempt is made to build rapport, and the interviewer may be downright hostile. If you encounter this type of interview stay cool, be assertive without being confrontational, and don’t take it personally.
Second Interviews: Scheduled only with those candidates the employer is seriously considering hiring, and usually conducted by middle or senior management.
Preparation in the form of solid research, including any information gained in the first interview, is even more important at this level as only the best candidates are still being considered at this point.