How To Prepare For Different Types Of Interviews

Job seekers wait and prepare for a job interview

Getting an interview is a success in and of itself: you've caught their eye! But before celebrating, it's important to understand that while landing an interview seems like the hard part, it's only the very beginning of the process.

Each company's hiring process is different. And the types of interviews they will conduct during the hiring process will vary. Here are the different types of interviews you should expect during the hiring process and how you can prepare for each one.

The Phone Screen Interview

Woman on laptop attends a phone screen interview


A phone screen is usually the very first "interview" in the hiring process. Its purpose is in the name: to screen job applicants for the best possible candidates. During your first phone call with a potential employer, the interviewer will ask you a handful of questions geared toward getting to know you better and seeing if your qualifications make you a good candidate for the position.

To prepare for a phone screen, do your research on the company before the interview. This will not only help you generate questions to ask the interviewer but also show that you are interested in the job and the company.

Write down questions and take notes so you can reference them during the phone call. You may also choose to keep your resume close, which will make it easier to elaborate on your experiences and qualifications—ensuring you won't forget anything!

Finally, be sure to get your salary expectations ready in the event you're asked about them (don't be the first one to bring them up, though). A few minutes before you take the call, find a quiet place, review your notes, and remember to speak clearly.

The Virtual/Video Interview

Job seeker on laptop attends a virtual interview


A video or virtual interview is set up with an employer early on in the hiring process and is especially convenient if a job applicant isn't local or can't make it in for an interview for another reason. You may be interviewed by one or more people during a video or virtual interview.

To prepare, you want to familiarize yourself with the company, and maybe even research the people who will be interviewing you. Who are they? What are their roles within the company? How can you connect with them to make this interview memorable?

You won't be able to reference your notes like you would for a phone screen, but you should still write down the questions you'd like to ask your interviewers to help you work through your thought process. It is also important to dress like you would for an in-person interview and sit up straight. First impressions matter, even virtual ones!

The In-Person Interview

Woman shakes the hand of the hiring manager before her in-person interview


The traditional interview experience can also be the most intimidating. You're meeting face to face with individuals who will ultimately decide whether or not you are the best fit for the job. There isn't a phone or computer screen to act as a buffer. The good news is that an in-person interview is the perfect opportunity for you to shine.

If you make it to this phase of the hiring process, be proud! Walk in with confidence, and your interviewer will take note. A strong handshake, a genuine smile, and timely eye contact are priceless too.

Prepare for an in-person interview by doing in-depth research on the company and the people you will be working with if you are hired. Ask more detailed, specific questions to demonstrate your interest and find out more about the role and the company (to see if it's a great fit for you!).

Remember, good employers want to impress you just as much as you want to impress them. How else could they attract and retain the best job candidates?

The One-Way Video Interview

One type of interview format becoming more popular, especially among larger companies, is the one-way video interview. This interview is conducted at the beginning of the hiring process, usually replacing the initial phone screen. Larger companies and organizations usually don't have the time to schedule 20 minutes out of their day for each job candidate. So, this interview format is about convenience—for you and the employer.

When you are selected for a one-way video interview, the employer will give you a deadline to complete it by. You will be asked to answer pre-scripted interview questions. Usually, there is a time limit for the interview, and possibly for each question, so it is important to practice before you begin the interview.

Rehearse your answers to common interview questions, and make sure to look at the camera when answering, not the screen! Dress like you would for an in-person interview, pick a quiet place, and remember to smile.

After you complete the interview, HR or other members of the hiring team will watch, and often re-watch, your answers until they decide on their next steps.

Before you prepare for your next interview, here's one last thing to remember: Always send a thank-you note within 24 hours after your interview. Gratitude is more powerful than you think!

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