Job interviews come in a myriad of different forms. At times you’ll have a one-on-one conversation with an interviewer. Other times, you’re with five. And sometimes you may be asked to lunch, expected to solve a problem, or even invited to a Skype interview.


But no matter the format, an interview is still a gateway to your next job. Think of it as showing your potential employers why you’re the best for the job.


To that end, you may come across some types of interview formats you’re unfamiliar with. But fret not! We’re here to explain to you about the six types of interviews you will come across and what you need to know about them.

1. The Structured Interview


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This is the most common interview scenario you’ll face as a job seeker. These interviews are typically formal and organized. If several interviewers are involved, it’s also referred to as a panel interview.


Here’s how a traditionally structured style interview normally goes.


An interviewer will begin with an icebreaker question. The question is normally for you to be at ease and relaxed before going on to the more serious questions.


Something as simple as a question about the weather might be used or perhaps a question about your family background.


Next, the interviewer(s) may talk about the company and the position for a few minutes. During this time, the interviewer should describe your typical day-to-day work responsibilities. If time isn’t a factor, they could also elaborate on the work culture and general company outline. At this point, expect to be asked about your background such as past experience, education, etc.


Finally, you should also expect a short Q&A session. Our advice? Always, always have several questions prepared for this eventual situation.

2. The Unstructured Interview


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For an unstructured interview, the only structure of the interview is the one you provide. In other words, the interviewer is interested in hearing from you and your opinions.


In this case, you may be asked a series of different open-ended questions. There are no right or wrong answers here. The interviewers are only interested in hearing your answers and interpretation.


Unstructured interviews are less formal and more conversational. You could be asked to describe yourself and your hobbies. These casual questions are meant to put you at ease. But keep in mind that some employers may adopt this style to make you let your guard down.


If you ever find yourself in an unstructured interview, our tip is to be friendly but to always maintain your professionalism.


A key thing to remember is that you are there to convince the employer that you’re the best fit for the job. Casual conversation is acceptable. But be sure to always keep the conversation centred around your skills and qualifications.

3. Stress Interview


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This style is adopted by interviewers who are hiring for high-stress jobs. You should expect questions intended to make you uncomfortable. Moreover, some companies may require taking a test on how you will handle stress on the job.


Note that similar questions asked during a structured or unstructured interview may be asked for this interview. However, the difference being the behaviour and demeanour of the interviewer. The interviewer may seem distracted or indifferent to you. The idea is to assess your reaction to the pressure of indifference, rejection, and stress.


Our tip on how to succeed in a stress interview? Keep your cool and focus on the question that is asked. Also, don’t take anything personally. In other words, you need to have a “thick” skin to succeed here.

4. Behavioural Interview


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This method of interviewing is also a widely used one.


The idea here is that your past performance is the best predictor of future behaviour. The interviewer will usually ask questions related to past work situations and how you would handle them in the future. This provides more information about your behaviour, personality, and character.


Examples of behavioural questions could include:

  • To tell them about a time when you made a mistake on something.
  • Describing a circumstance when you were faced with a problem and how you solved it.
  • Sharing an instance in which you demonstrated leadership skills, responsibility, etc.


Some of these questions require you to tell stories from your past. And these stories will be evaluated by the interviewers on your competencies. For instance, your intellectual competence, leadership, teamwork, and so on.


To prepare for an interview like this, we’d recommend thinking of a few examples ahead of time. Use examples that illustrate your skills and give a good impression of you.

5. Case/Problem-Solving Interview


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The case interview is a more specialized format in which you’re given a specific problem to solve. Interviewers use this to test a candidate’s analytical ability and communication skills.


In a problem-solving interview, you are not expected to arrive at the correct answer. The important thing is your thought process. The interviewer is most concerned with how you would approach a certain problem to solve it.


We’d suggest verbally conversing your thoughts i.e. thinking out loud when responding to this type of question. A great answer is one in which you show that a problem can be solved by breaking it into manageable pieces. Also,  thinking clearly under pressure is a plus.

6. Phone/Video Conference Interview


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As the name implies, phone and video conference interviews are also an option if you are unable to attend a face-to-face interview.


Phone interviews are typically used in first-round screenings to determine if you’re suitable to come in for a full interview. But depending on the circumstances, some employers may opt for a full interview through a phone call.


The one benefit of a phone interview is that you can have your notes in front of you. Though, you should still do as much preparation as you would for a face-to-face interview. Remember, first impressions are vital!


Some people are more confident talking in person than on the phone, while others may be the inverse. But whatever the case is, speaking confidently is the key. And remember to pace yourself and try to answer all the questions that are asked.

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Similarly, video conference interviews are also possible these days. Technology has allowed people from different locations to attend any interviews from anywhere.


If you’re attending a video conference interview, act as how you would when you attend a face-to-face interview. If you have the time, we’d suggest practising in front of a camera or video.

Final Word


There you have it, the different types of interviews you will undoubtedly face when you start your job hunt. It should be noted that our list is a generalization of the most common types of interviews.


There could be minor variations in the type of interviews you face. Anything from company policy to individual preference will affect the type of interviews you will have.


Regardless, the key to a successful interview is preparation. Review common interview questions and practice answering them. But most importantly, be confident!