Job Interviews: Types & Common Questions

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  • 0:03 What Is a Job Interview?
  • 0:29 Types of Interviews
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Everyone who works for someone else probably had to undergo the dreaded job interview. In this lesson, you'll learn about types of interviews and examples of some common questions. You'll also have a chance to take a short quiz after the lesson.

What Is a Job Interview?

A job interview is a selection process used by organizations to help determine whether a job candidate has the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to do the job. It may also be used to see if there is a good fit between the applicant and organization from a standpoint of culture and values. In this lesson, we're going to review some of the interview types that are used by organizations in selecting the proper candidate for the position.

Types of Interviews

Initial Interview

An initial interview can be used as a screening process to reduce the field of candidates for the position. Common questions in an initial screening interview will usually relate to your qualifications for the job, such as education, experience, and specific skills.

Unstructured Interviews

These are interviews that are not standardized. The interview process and questions will differ from applicant to applicant. This is not really a good type of interview because it doesn't provide a reasonable basis to compare job applicants, since each applicant is subject to varying questions, in varying order, conducted in varying ways. Questions may discuss topics such as:

  • education
  • skills
  • experience
  • work history
  • strengths and weaknesses
  • why you want the job
  • why you want to work for the organization
  • short- and long-term goals

Structured Interviews

Unlike unstructured interviews, structured interviews are standardized interviews with the questions usually based upon an analysis of the job. This ensures that all applicants receive the same questions that are based upon the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position. This standardization allows for objective and easy comparison between applicants. You can think of a structured interview as a type of job test because each applicant can be scored using a scoring key. There are two primary types of structured interviews: situational interviews and behavior description interviews.

A situational interview asks candidates how they would react in a specific situation and is based upon a technique called critical incident, where questions are developed based upon hypothetical incidents related to the job. The answers to the questions are supposed to provide the interviewer an idea of how you would behave in a similar circumstance. An answer may score somewhere between excellent and poor. For example, job applicants may be asked what they would do if they saw a fellow employee stealing.

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