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Work Life: Different Types of Interviews

(Originally published on May 19, 2010)


Find out what they are so you can prepare for them

Most of us have experienced one-on-one interviews where the recruitment officer asks questions and we answer them as best we can. But did you know that, depending on the position you are applying for and your entry level, you might encounter other forms of interviews? Let me share with you some of the most popular types of interviews so that you can come to any interview prepared, and you won’t get shocked if all of a sudden, you are asked to do something else other than just answer questions.


The most common type of job interview, this is usually the format you will encounter during first contact meetings. A recruitment officer will conduct testing and interview you as a first step. Once you pass this, you will then be called in for a second interview which is usually conducted by the supervisor or manager you will be working under. Depending on the hiring policy and procedure of the company, you may then be asked to return for a third interview. Otherwise, if your qualifications are suitable and the supervisor or manager gives the go-signal for hiring, you will meet the recruitment officer and receive a job offer.

This differs from company to company. Some companies have two to three series of interviews with different formats, but there have been cases where applicants are hired on the spot by smaller companies where you deal directly with the boss.


Increasingly becoming popular, phone interviews are done as a screening method before an actual face to face interview. Some recruitment officers prefer to ask questions during the first phone call so that they can see if you are applying for the appropriate job and if your circumstances suit you for the job. This saves them time and effort. When they see that the basics are covered, they will then schedule a face-to-face interview for you in that same call.

Meanwhile, other recruitment officers also use this type of interview, particularly if they are mass-hiring for back-end types of jobs (general documentation, billing, accounts, etc.). It is supposed to eliminate biases as they won’t immediately see your appearance and mannerisms.

Phone interviews are also best for long-distance interviews. Before asking you to travel and spend money to go to their main office, recruitment officers will do phone interviews first for your mutual benefit.


Most career fairs are used by companies to collect resumes. However, there are some instances wherein you will be given a chance to undergo a screening interview wherein the HR representative will allot 2-5 minutes for you. If you do well, you may be called in for a more in-depth interview. Since time is limited, you will have to take care to make a good first impression. So be sure to dress properly for job fairs; you never know when you might just get a quick interview right there and then.

When you are interviewed, be sure to smile. Listen attentively and give concise but informative answers. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and before you go, tell the interviewer that you would be available for a more in-depth interview anytime and that you are really interested in their company. Do this confidently and not desperately.


There are cases when you will be interviewed and tested with two or more other candidates who are all vying for the same position.  There could be two reasons for this. Either there’s only one job opening and the interviewer wants to see candidates prove themselves or there could be several job openings for the same position and the interviewer wants to see how well you can collaborate with other people. Testing your competence for collaboration is usually done in technology industries where employees work in teams to find solutions.


There are also instances wherein you will have to face three or more members of the organization. These may be the management committee or representatives of different departments that you will be closely working with.

This type of interview is usually done in academic institutions or for senior level positions. It is somewhat similar to your college thesis defense. It can be a bit nerve-wracking, so you will need to trust in yourself and believe that you can do it. The reason why this is done is because it saves time and effort for everyone, but more importantly, it also tests your ability to face a group of people, how well you can address their concerns, and perform with grace under pressure.


For careers that require public speaking such as event hosting and training, or on-cam jobs like acting, singing, or entertainment performance, you will most likely have to undergo an audition or screen test. You will be given a series of public-speaking exercises, reading lines, and impromptu tests. This is to see how well you are able to communicate with an audience, whether you are prepared or not. You will also be asked questions and it may feel like an interrogation, but it is a necessary part of an audition. Remember, when you are faced with this type of interview, just have fun, enjoy it, and bring out the star in you. You are being asked questions because they are interested in how you communicate with an audience or in front of a camera.

These are just some of the types of interviews that we normally use as HR practitioners. In fact, in our recruitment seminar, we further examine interview styles and questionnaires so that we find the best person for the job. As a job seeker, it is important for you to know what to expect and take time to mentally prepare for these types of interviews since some companies use several of these formats in their recruitment process. I hope this helps you job seekers prepare for and enjoy your interview! Good luck!

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