Interview Formats – Acing Every Interview

These days, interviewing for a new job can mean taking part in a variety of different types of interviews. Gone are the days of only having a traditional sit down interview with a hiring manager. Now you may be required to participate in a phone interview, video interview, and/or group interview before getting one-on-one time with the final decision makers. These non-traditional interview formats can be tricky to navigate but we’ve put together a guide to help you master any interview you may be a part of.

When applying to a job you never know which type of interview you may be asked to participate in. It may start with a phone interview and lead to a video interview before you even set foot in the building you could potentially be working in.

No matter the format it is crucial that you develop the proper skills to ace any type of interview. We’ve put together tips for each of the different types of non-traditional interviews so that you are fully prepared for any situation you may be placed in when interviewing for a new job.

The Phone Interview


Your potential employer’s first exposure to you may be a phone interview. Traditionally these interviews are set up to evaluate your work history and personality before scheduling a sit down interview. This type of interview helps to weed out the candidates that are under-qualified. A phone interview can be scheduled or impromptu depending on the hiring company.

When participating in a phone interview it is important to have your resume in front of you so you are able to reference your work history. Avoid having any distractions in the room with you, focus on what the interviewer is asking, and prepare answers to common questions before hand so you don’t get stumped. This type of interview is used to assess your skills and get a feel for your personality. During this interview make sure that you are professional and courteous at all times and don’t go too in-depth with your questions (save the salary and benefits talk for the sit down interview!).

At the end of your phone interview be sure to ask for next steps if the interviewer does not outline them for you. Also be sure to thank them, not only on the phone but in writing. Send an email or handwritten letter to the interviewer you spoke with thanking them for their time and reiterate why you would be perfect for the job.

The Video Interview


A video interview is a great opportunity for an employer to see and interview you without physically bringing you into the workplace. This type of interview is often used for long-distance work opportunities, relocations, and as a filter before an in-person interview.

When participating in a video interview you must remember to:

  • Dress professionally
  • Make sure the room you are interviewing in is quiet and free of distraction
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer
  • Set up the system you’ll be interviewing on early to avoid technical difficulties
  • Practice beforehand to ensure your answers are ready and you know how the software works

Just like in a phone interview be sure to have your resume handy (but do not rely on it to communicate your experience), focus on your answers, and be professional and courteous at all times.

The Group Interview


Another type of interview you may be asked to participate in is the group interview. A group interview often consists of multiple candidates being interviewed at the same time. The interviewer(s) may ask questions to each of you specifically or may ask an open question for anyone to answer. If the interviewer asks an open question try to be the first person to answer the question at least once. The key in a group interview is to stand out and answering the question first (with a great answer) looks good to your potential employer. Just make sure you do not answer every question first. Be sure to leave enough questions for the other candidates; if you speak over other candidates in order to get every question that is a poor reflection of your team work and listening skills.

Be sure to answer all interview questions as you would in a traditional interview and don’t hold back on your questions at the end of the interview. It is important to have questions prepared for the interviewer no matter what the format of the interview is. Be sure to ask follow up questions to help understand the next steps of the interview process.


No matter what format your interview takes it is important to tackle interview questions in the same way you would in a traditional sit-down interview. Non-traditional interview formats such as a phone interview, video interview, or group interview just require you to apply those traditional interview skills in a slightly different format.

Treat each interview the same: act and dress professionally, prepare answers to  interview questions, prepare your own set of questions for the interviewer, and be sure to stand out! Apply the tips above to the appropriate interview formats and you can ace any interview!