Matthews & Stephens Associates Career Resource Center: Different Types of Interviews

Career Resource Center

Different Types of Interviews

Behavioral interview
The basic principal behind a behavioral interview is that it is a means to evaluate a candidate’s past behavior as a way of predicting future performance on the job. In other words, it’s not what you know, but rather what you did. In a behavioral interview, an employer would first develop a profile of desired behaviors (competencies) that should be exhibited by an employee in the proposed position. (ie. problem solving, planning, communication, interpersonal skills, motivation, teamwork, etc.) Then, the interviewer asks a series of open-ended questions designed to stimulate recollection of a situation that would lead to that desired behavior. In answering a behavioral interview question you would have to give real-life examples, detailing how you handled a situation. The interviewer would then ask some probing questions to verify that what you are saying actually happened.

4 components to a behavioral-based question:

How to prepare for a behavioral interview
Since the behavioral interview process is based on a candidate’s desired behaviors, or competencies, you must first determine what competencies the employer is looking for. Reviewing the job description and researching the company can help you in identifying them.

Some important questions to consider in identifying competencies

Next, analyze yourself to determine which of the desired competencies for the job you possess. Thoroughly analyze your skills, knowledge, and experience. Then, collect and maintain records of your achievements. These achievements are proof of your competencies. Finally, for each competency, select your best achievement for which you can document and display a particular competency.

Components of an effective behavioral-based question

Sample behavioral questions

Phone interview
Phone interviews are often used by companies as a way of pre-qualifying a candidate for interest and expertise. Making a good impression on the phone is twice as hard as it is in person because you can’t rely on visual clues. Remember that interviewers will easily hear if you are distracted in your voice. In addition to the tips below, the same interviewing techniques hold true with the phone interview as with the traditional face-to-face interview.

Phone interview tips

Group/panel interview
Traditional interviews are often stressful, but the group interview, one in which you are being interviewed by more than one person, has the potential to be the most nerve-racking. Many people struggle to make a good impression when they are expected to handle the unique personalities, social styles, and interviewing approaches of multiple interviewers. With several sets of eyes focused on you, and rapid-fire questions directed your way, many feel that the group interview is the most intense.

Interviewing strategies

Human resources interview
The same interviewing techniques hold true with the HR interview as with the traditional face-to-face interview. If you don’t interview well with HR, you won’t move on to the next step.

Lunch/dinner interview
The lunch interview is a great way for the interviewer to interact with a perspective employee in a casual real world setting. An interviewee who is courteous and professional should find this interview to be a pleasant and informative process.

Interview tips

Long distance interview
Traveling a fair distance for a job interview can be unnerving, especially if you are not used to traveling in general. The bottom line is to think of everything and plan. Some tips follow to help you make your trip successful:

Second/third interviews

“Rubber stamp” interview
A rubber stamp interview doesn’t exist. You may think it is just another final meeting to iron out details, but every meeting counts, and provides the employer the opportunity to evaluate you or move onto another candidate, so always be prepared.


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