Interviews are an integral part of the job application process and are crucial in assessing a candidate's suitability for a particular role. They offer employers the opportunity to evaluate a candidate's skills, experience, and personality while also giving candidates a chance to showcase their qualifications and aspirations. Interviews come in various forms, each designed to serve specific purposes.

What Is an Interview?

An interview is a conversation between a hiring manager and a job candidate, primarily aiming to assess the candidate's qualifications and suitability for a particular role. Different kinds of interviews provide opportunities for employers to learn more about a candidate's skills, experience, and personality and for candidates to understand the company culture and job expectations.

Types of Interviews

Structured Interview

Structured interviews are a widely used and highly effective method of assessing job candidates during the hiring process. They are designed to provide a fair and consistent evaluation of each candidate by asking a predetermined set of questions, often accompanied by a standardized scoring system.

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How to Prepare for a Structured Interview?

  1. Research the Job: Understand the job requirements and competencies that the employer seeks.
  2. Practice Common Questions: While you won't know the exact questions in advance, practicing common interview questions and formulating structured responses will help you feel more comfortable during the interview.
  3. Use the STAR Method: Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) is a helpful framework for answering behavioral questions. It allows you to provide structured responses that demonstrate your skills and experiences.
  4. Prepare Examples: Consider specific scenarios from your past experiences showcasing your skills and competencies. These examples will be invaluable when answering behavioral questions.
  5. Ask Questions: Finally, be prepared to ask thoughtful questions about the company, role, and team. This demonstrates your interest and engagement.

Unstructured Interview

It stands out as a unique and often unpredictable experience. Unlike their structured counterparts, which rely on a predetermined questionnaire and a standardized scoring system, unstructured interviews are more open-ended, informal, and less predictable.

How to Prepare for an Unstructured Interview?

  1. Prepare for Open-ended Questions: While you cannot predict the specific questions you'll be asked, prepare for open-ended questions by reflecting on your experiences, achievements, and goals.
  2. Stay Calm and Confident: Embrace the informality of the interview and use it to your advantage. Stay calm, be yourself, and confidently share your thoughts and experiences.
  3. Listen Actively: Pay attention to the interviewer's questions and cues. Active listening will help you provide relevant and thoughtful responses.
  4. Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to ask clarifying questions or seek further details when faced with ambiguous or broad inquiries. This shows your interest and engagement in the conversation.
  5. Highlight Your Skills: Be prepared to discuss various topics, from professional achievements to personal interests. Use these opportunities to showcase your skills, adaptability, and versatility.

Semi-Structured Interview

Different interview kinds are designed to assess candidates' qualifications and suitability for a specific role. One such format is the semi-structured interview. This type of interview strikes a balance between the rigid structure of a fully structured interview and the open-ended nature of an unstructured interview.

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How to Prepare for a Semi-structured Interview?

  1. Thorough Preparation: Research the company, the job role, and the industry. Create your responses to align with the specific qualifications and skills required.
  2. Paying Attention: Listen to the interviewer's questions and instructions. Be ready to provide relevant examples and details when answering.
  3. Demonstrating Flexibility: Embrace the conversational nature of the interview. Be open to follow-up questions and adapt your responses as needed.
  4. Leveraging STAR: When providing examples, use the Situation, Task, Action, and Result (STAR) method to structure your responses.
  5. Stay Professional: Maintain a professional attitude throughout the interview, and be sure to ask thoughtful questions about the role and the company.

Panel Interview

A panel interview is a unique and often challenging form of job interview where a candidate faces multiple interviewers simultaneously. In this scenario, several individuals from different departments or levels within a company evaluate a candidate's qualifications, skills, and suitability for a specific role. Candidates can excel in panel interviews and leave a lasting impression with the right preparation and approach.

How to Prepare for a Panel Interview?

  1. Research the Panel Members: Before the interview, research the backgrounds and roles of the panel members. Understanding their areas of expertise can help tailor your responses to their interests and concerns.
  2. Practice for Diverse Questions: Anticipate various technical and behavioral questions. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to structure your responses to behavioral questions.
  3. Maintain Eye Contact: During the interview, make eye contact with all panel members and address them by name when responding to their questions. This shows respect and engagement with each individual.
  4. Stay Calm Under Pressure: Panel interviews can be overwhelming, but remember that the interviewers want to see how you handle stress. Take a deep breath, pause to gather your thoughts when necessary, and provide thoughtful responses.
  5. Showcase Your Adaptability: Highlight your capacity to work with diverse teams. Share relevant examples of successful collaboration and flexibility.
  6. Follow-Up: Send a thank-you email to each panel member, expressing your appreciation for their time and emphasizing your continued interest in the position.

Mock Interview

Nervousness, uncertainty, and the fear of the unknown can often hinder a candidate's ability to perform their best during an actual interview. This is where mock interviews come to the rescue. A mock interview is a practice interview session designed to help candidates prepare for the real deal.

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How to Prepare for a Mock Interview?

  1. Seek Professional Help: Consider working with a career coach or hiring a professional interview coach to conduct your mock interviews. They can provide valuable insights and feedback.
  2. Choose the Right Setting: Conduct mock interviews in a quiet and professional setting to simulate the real interview environment.
  3. Dress the Part: Dress as you would for an actual interview to help you get into the right mindset.
  4. Take It Seriously: Approach mock interviews with the same seriousness as a real interview. Use the opportunity to practice your professionalism and interview etiquette.
  5. Ask for Constructive Feedback: Ask your interviewer for honest feedback after the mock interview. Take notes and work on areas that need improvement.

Case Interview

Case interviews are a unique and challenging job interview type commonly used in management consulting, finance, and strategy. These interviews assess candidates' ability to analyze complex problems, think critically, and provide structured solutions. If you're aspiring to work in one of these industries, it's crucial to understand what case interviews entail and how to excel in them.

How to Prepare for a Case Interview?

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice: Familiarize yourself with the case interview format by practicing with mock cases. Consulting firms and business schools often offer resources and sample cases for practice.
  2. Master Frameworks: Develop a systematic approach for solving cases. Common frameworks include the 4Ps, SWOT analysis, and profitability frameworks.
  3. Ask Clarifying Questions: Take your time solving the case and gather the necessary information. This demonstrates your ability to structure your analysis.
  4. Think Aloud: Communicate your thought process throughout the interview. Explain why you are taking certain steps or making specific assumptions. Interviewers want to understand your reasoning.
  5. Practice Mental Math: Improve your quantitative skills, as math is often a part of case interviews. Brush up on basic calculations, percentages, and ratios.
  6. Stay Calm Under Pressure: Case interviews can be intense. Maintain composure, even if you face unexpected challenges or obstacles during the interview.
  7. Use Your Resources: If the interview allows, use any provided resources, such as a whiteboard or paper, to jot down notes or calculations. Organize your work neatly.

Informational Interview

In the competitive and ever-evolving job market, gathering information, making informed decisions, and building a professional network are essential steps for career success. The informational interview is an invaluable tool to help you achieve these goals. While not directly related to job applications, informational interviews provide an opportunity to learn, network, and gain insights into your desired field or industry.

How to Prepare for an Informational Interview?

  1. Identify Potential Contacts: Identify professionals in your desired field or industry. This can be done through LinkedIn, your alumni network, or by asking for referrals from friends and family.
  2. Request an Interview: Reach out to potential contacts with a well-crafted message explaining your interest in their field and requesting an informational interview. Be clear about your intentions and respectful of their time.
  3. Prepare for the Interview: Research the person you're meeting with and their background. Prepare a list of thoughtful questions about their career path, industry trends, and any advice they may have for someone looking to enter the field.
  4. Conduct the Interview: During the interview, focus on listening and learning. Be attentive, ask open-ended questions, and avoid discussing your job search or asking for a job directly. Instead, aim to build a genuine connection.
  5. Follow-Up: Send a thank-you email after the interview expressing your appreciation for their time and insights.

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One-On-One Interview

The one-on-one interview is one of employers' most common formats across various industries and positions. During this type of interview, a single interviewer assesses a candidate's qualifications, skills, and fit for a particular role. While it may seem straightforward, excelling in a one-on-one interview requires careful preparation and effective communication.

Research the Company: Before the interview, thoroughly research the company, its culture, values, and recent developments. This knowledge will allow you to tailor your responses to align with the organization's objectives and demonstrate your genuine interest.

How to Prepare for a One-On-One Interview?

  1. Understand the Job Description: Analyze the job description and requirements carefully. Be ready to provide specific examples from your past work or experiences.
  2. Practice Common Questions: Anticipate common interview questions such as "Tell me about yourself" and "Why do you want to work here?" Practice responses to ensure you convey your qualifications effectively.
  3. Highlight Achievements: Use the one-on-one interview to showcase how your accomplishments have positively impacted your previous employers. Quantify your achievements whenever possible.
  4. Communication Skills: Focus on clear and concise communication. Avoid jargon and provide specific, relevant examples to support your answers.
  5. Body Language: Pay attention to your body language. Sit up straight, maintain good posture, and offer a firm handshake. Non-verbal cues can convey confidence and professionalism.
  6. Cultural Fit: Highlight your alignment with the company's culture and values. Mention relevant experiences demonstrating your adaptability and ability to thrive in their environment.

Competency-based Interview

A competency-based interview, or a behavioral interview, is a structured interview format designed to assess specific skills, traits, and behaviors essential for success in a particular role. Instead of relying solely on a candidate's resume and qualifications, this approach aims to evaluate how a candidate has demonstrated these competencies in past experiences, highlighting their ability to handle similar situations in the future.

How to Prepare for a Competency-Based Interview?

  1. Prepare Thoroughly: Research the company and the job description to identify the competencies they value most. Develop examples from your past experiences that demonstrate these competencies.
  2. Use the STAR Technique: Structure your responses using the STAR technique. Describe the Situation or Task, explain your Actions, and highlight the Results achieved.
  3. Provide Specific Examples: Be detailed and specific when discussing your experiences. Share concrete examples that showcase your competencies effectively.
  4. Highlight Achievements: Focus on accomplishments and outcomes. Employers are interested in hearing about your positive impact in previous roles.
  5. Stay Calm and Focused: During the interview, remain composed and attentive. Listen carefully to the questions and take your time to formulate your responses.

Traditional Interview

A traditional interview is a straightforward and structured conversation between a single interviewer or hiring manager and a job candidate. It typically occurs in person but can also occur via video conferencing or phone calls. This format is characterized by open-ended and closed-ended questions to elicit information about the candidate's background, skills, experiences, and suitability for the position.

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How to Prepare for a Traditional Interview?

  1. Prepare Thoroughly: Research the company, review the job description, and anticipate common interview questions to formulate thoughtful responses.
  2. Showcase Your Skills: Use specific examples from your experiences to demonstrate your qualifications and competencies.
  3. Engage Actively: Be an active participant in the conversation, ask questions, and express genuine interest in the role and the company.
  4. Highlight Soft Skills: Emphasize your soft skills by demonstrating effective communication, adaptability, and problem-solving during the interview.

Telephonic Interview

A telephonic interview is a job interview conducted over the phone. It is a fundamental step in the hiring process and allows employers to evaluate a candidate's qualifications, communication skills, and suitability for a role without needing a physical presence. Telephonic interviews are widespread for screening candidates who may be geographically distant or for initial assessments before inviting candidates for face-to-face interviews.

How to Prepare for a Telephonic Interview?

  1. Prepare Thoroughly: Research the company and the role in advance. Be ready to discuss your qualifications and experiences. Prepare answers to common interview questions. Have a copy of the job description and your application materials nearby for reference.
  2. Choose the Right Environment: Find a quiet, well-lit, distraction-free interview location. Ensure your phone has good reception, or consider using a landline. Close unnecessary apps or browser tabs on your computer to avoid distractions.
  3. Use a Professional Tone: Speak clearly and professionally. Avoid using slang or overly casual language. Smile while speaking; it can reflect positively in your tone.
  4. Active Listening: Pay close attention to the interviewer's questions. Pause briefly before answering to collect your thoughts. Ask for clarification if a question is unclear.
  5. Be Engaged: Show enthusiasm for the role and the company. Use positive language to express your interest.
  6. Follow-up: Send a thank-you email after the telephonic interview, expressing your appreciation for the opportunity. Reiterate your interest in the position and your eagerness to move forward in the hiring process.

Group Interview

A group interview, or a panel interview or assessment center, typically involves a group of candidates simultaneously evaluated by one or more interviewers or observers. This format assesses how candidates interact, communicate, and collaborate with others, as these skills are crucial in many workplace settings.

How to Prepare for a Group Interview?

  1. Be Respectful: Treat your fellow candidates with respect and courtesy. Remember, you are being observed on your interpersonal skills.
  2. Communicate Effectively: Clearly express your ideas and thoughts.
  3. Demonstrate Leadership: If you notice an opportunity to take the lead or facilitate the group's progress, feel free to do so, but avoid being overbearing.
  4. Stay Calm Under Pressure: Group interviews can be intense, but remain composed and focused on the task.
  5. Adaptability: Be flexible and open to different ideas and approaches. Adaptability is a valued trait in a team player.
  6. Follow-up: Send a thank-you email to the interviewers afterward. This gesture demonstrates your continued interest in the position.

Working Interview

A working interview, also known as a job audition or a practical interview, is a hiring process where a candidate is asked to perform tasks or job-related activities as part of the interview process. Unlike traditional interviews that rely on questions and answers, a working interview provides employers with a firsthand view of a candidate's practical skills and abilities.

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How to Prepare for a Working Interview?

  1. Research the Company: Before the working interview, thoroughly research the company's mission, values, culture, and the specific role you're applying for. This knowledge will help you align your actions with the company's expectations.
  2. Understand the Job Requirements: Clearly understand the tasks and responsibilities associated with the role. Be prepared to demonstrate your skills in these areas.
  3. Dress Appropriately: Dress in professional attire suitable for the work environment.
  4. Bring Necessary Tools: If the working interview involves practical tasks, ensure you bring any necessary tools or equipment. Double-check with the employer if you're uncertain.
  5. Be Punctual and Reliable: Arrive on time for the working interview and demonstrate punctuality and reliability. Employers highly value these qualities.
  6. Communicate Effectively: Communicate openly with the employer and team members. Ask questions when needed and provide updates on your progress.
  7. Showcase Your Problem-Solving Skills: Be ready to tackle challenges that may arise during the working interview. Employers want to see how you handle unexpected situations.

Depth Interview

Depth interviews are typically used in research and investigative contexts, such as academic studies, market research, psychology, sociology, and journalism. The primary objective is to comprehensively understand a participant's perspective, emotions, and motivations related to a specific topic.

How to Prepare for an In-Depth Interview?

  1. Research the Company: Start by thoroughly researching the company where you are interviewing. Understand its mission, values, culture, and recent developments.
  2. Self-Reflection: Reflect on your background, experiences, and motivations. Consider the experiences that have shaped you personally and professionally.
  3. Practice Storytelling: Prepare anecdotes and stories from your life and career that illustrate your values, character, and personal development. These stories should highlight your strengths and your ability to overcome challenges.
  4. Focus on Cultural Fit: Depth interviews often assess cultural fit. Be sure to express your alignment with the company's culture, values, and mission.
  5. Stay Calm and Confident: Depth interviews can be intense as they delve into personal and professional aspects of your life. Stay calm and composed throughout the interview. Be confident in your responses and trust your ability to effectively convey your qualifications and character.

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Situational Interview

A situational interview is a structured format where candidates are presented with specific scenarios, often related to the job they are applying for. These scenarios vary depending on the industry and position and are designed to gauge how candidates would handle challenging or complex situations in the workplace. The interviewer assesses a candidate's problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and alignment with the company's values and culture.

How to Prepare for a Situational Interview?

  1. Research the Company: Understand the company's values, culture, and industry-specific challenges to align your responses with the organization's ethos.
  2. Review the JD: Carefully read the job posting to identify the key competencies and skills required for the role. Focus on how your qualifications match these requirements.
  3. Practice with Realistic Scenarios: Research common situational questions for the respective industry and practice answering them. You can use your past experiences as a reference, even if the scenarios are not identical.
  4. Stay Calm and Think Through When presented with a scenario, take a moment to collect your thoughts. Take your time with an answer; consider the situation from different angles and outline a thoughtful response.
  5. Showcase Problem-solving Skills: Emphasize your ability to analyze problems, make informed decisions, and take calculated risks. Highlight your creativity and adaptability when addressing challenges.
  6. Ask for Clarifications: If a scenario is unclear or lacks essential details, don't hesitate to ask for clarification. This shows your attention to detail and commitment to understanding the situation thoroughly.


Understanding the various interview types and preparing accordingly is essential for job seekers. By recognizing the differences between these interview formats, candidates can adapt their approach to effectively communicate their qualifications and demonstrate their suitability for a particular role. Whether it's a structured interview, a panel interview, or a case interview, each type serves a unique purpose in helping employers make informed hiring decisions. Ace your next interview with Simplilearn’s Interview Preparation program.