Types, Methods and Styles of Interviews

There are basically two types of interviews – screening interviews and hiring-decision interviews.  A screening interview is used to further narrow the candidate pool and typically lasts between 15 to 30 minutes.  Hiring-decision interviews are generally more extensive, and usually lead to a job offer for one or more of the individuals in the candidate pool.  For a full-time, professional position, interviews may last several hours to several days.

Interviews can be conducted in a variety of ways. The table below lists many of these ways and their purpose, which can depend on the type of position being filled.

Interview Method Co-op/Internship Positions Full-Time Positions
Phone* Screening or Hiring-Decision Screening
Video Conferencing* Screening or Hiring-Decision Screening
In person – Individual Screening or Hiring-Decision Screening or Hiring-Decision
In person – Small Group or Committee Generally Hiring-Decision Generally Hiring-Decision
In person – Lunch and Dinner** Generally Hiring-Decision Generally Hiring-Decision
In person – On-Site Hiring-Decision Hiring-Decision

*If you need a quiet space to conduct your Phone or Video interview, please contact our office to see if one of our interview rooms is available.

** On occasion, employers take job candidates out to lunch or dinner to evaluate their manners and social skills, and to gather additional information that might not come out in a formal interview.


Style Frequency/Definition Examples
Traditional Very common.  These questions focus on developing an understanding of information from a resume, career interests and how they align with the position/company, and approaches to hypothetical situations. Why did you apply for this position?

How would you handle a disagreement amongst members of your project team?

Can you tell us more about your experience with AutoCAD?

Behavioral-Based Very common.  This line of questioning focuses on understanding how a job candidate utilized professional skills in the past, with the premise that past performance will predict future performance in a similar situation. Describe an experience you’ve had providing great customer service.

When was a time that you had to learn something completely new and how did you approach this?

Technical/Case Uncommon except when talking about your class projects. This may involve a short test of completing some exercises to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and problem-solving abilities. Write a C program to compare two linked lists.

In your senior design project, what factors were involved in determining your material needs?

Abstract Rarely asked.  These questions are used to analyze how well you think on your feet and how you justify the reasoning for your choices.  Some might also analyze general estimating, process thinking, and problem-solving approaches. How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?


The Employment Process Menu


Step 1: Understanding Employers and the College Recruiting Process

    -Maintain a Positive Attitude

Step 2: Determine Career Goals and Skillset

Step 3: Identify Preliminary Target Employers and Industries

Step 4: Develop Effective Marketing Materials

Step 5: Search for Specific Employment and Research Target Companies