Types of interviews

MYRTLE BEACH, SC - While this is one type of interview you may encounter, it is important to be aware of other types of interviews you may experience within your job search. In order to be well-prepared and confident to tackle these different interviews, you need to know about the different styles and how to best respond.

Structured/Unstructured Interviews

It is important to be aware of these two general interview styles.

Structured interviews involve the interviewer asking a prescribed set of questions. Your answers to these questions should be brief and to the point while displaying the match between your skills and experience, and the demands of the position. You will feel that the interviewer has an agenda and will generally ask for a lot of specific information without allowing you to expand on different areas. However, you shouldn't feel you need to expand your responses unless asked. The interviewer is assessing your general responses and fit for the company and will likely seek more information in a further interview, if needed.

An unstructured interview, on the other hand, involves more general, open-ended questions which allow you to give longer responses and reveal much more about yourself. You will be asked to give whatever details you feel describe your background and aspirations, and why you think you are an excellent fit for the position.

Be aware of whether your interview is structured or unstructured so that you can answer appropriately. Once again, structured interviews call for shorter answers while unstructured interviews allow you more speaking time.

Task-oriented or Problem-solving Interview

This type of interview involves being asked to complete a problem or task in order to assess your analytical, creative and problem-solving abilities under pressure. Some companies, such as Microsoft, include problem-solving exercises as part of their interview process specifically to assess problem-solving ability. This type of interview may involve taking a written or computerized test to determine your technical knowledge and skills in various fields. Try to relax as much as possible because you will be more efficient and time-effective if your stress is at a minimum.

Panel Interview

The thought of a panel interview usually frightens applicants. However, just think of this interview as a "normal" series of questions and answers with more that one interviewer. After all, the questions can still only come at you one at a time! The purpose of the other interviewers is to provide alternate opinions on your potential for the position. Think of this as a positive advantage in that you will have a fairer, more well-rounded interview experience. Make sure to maintain eye contact with all interviewers and be aware that they will likely be taking notes to compare impressions when you leave. Try your best to establish rapport with every individual on the panel. Remember that you are not the only candidate going through this and try to remain calm and positive.

Stress Interview

"Stress Interview! Aren't all interviews stressful?" This type of interview is specifically designed to put you into a stressful situation and determine how you react. These interviews may be used if you are applying for a position that requires excellent stress management—such as sales or law enforcement. It is crucial that you stay calm and collected and remember that this is being done for a reason other than making you fail your interview! Expect the following possibilities in a stress interview:

  • Interviewers acting very cold and abrupt
  • Being placed in a stressful environment
  • Being asked very challenging questions
  • Having to complete an impossible problem-solving task
  • Interviewer interrupting you frequently

Although stress interviews are uncommon, you should be aware that they might happen to you so prepare for unexpected stress.