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Types of interview

Telephone interviews

Telephone interviews are often used as a way of screening candidates at a relatively early stage in the process. They can be short, relatively informal conversations, or longer, more in-depth interviews. Either way, it is important that:

  • You have somewhere quiet and undisturbed to take the call. The employer will give you a time that they are going to call you, so make sure you have a space that you know you won’t be bothered by others, has good phone reception if you’re using your mobile (and that your phone battery is charged!).
  • Have you application form and the information about the job with you, along with a pen and some paper. You never know when it might be useful to refer to your details, or if they are going to give some details that you need to make a note of.
  • Research the job in the same way that you would if it were a face-to-face interview, and try and make sure you demonstrate your motivation for the role through how you speak, and what you say (without going over the top!).

1-1 or Panel interview

If your interview is a face-to-face interview, it may be either with one person, or with a group or panel of people. Again they can sometimes be quite informal, but generally this is a very formal, structured interview, especially if there is more than one person interviewing you. With some employers, you might go through a number of interview stages, perhaps with an informal 1-1 interview/conversation, and a more structured panel interview.


Competency-based interviews

Competency-based interviews focus on identifying whether you have the skills (competencies) that the employer is looking for. This is where they will test things like teamworking, leadership, or communication skills. It is important that you give evidence to support your answer to these kinds of questions – if you’re asked about your ability to work in a team, you need to give an example of when you have done this successfully. See example interview questions for examples of these sorts of questions.


Case study interviews

This is where you would be presented with a hypothetical business problem to discuss and analyse. They are looking to judge who well you analyse the situation, recognise the key issues, and how you would go about solving the problem.


Technical interviews

These are more relevant where you applying for a job that requires specific technical expertise, that you might have gained on your course or through your experience so far. They are not always about seeing if you can identify the ‘right’ answer – there is also an element of looking at how you approach the problem, your thought process and logical thinking.