An interview is a talk where one person asks another about their skills and experience to see if they are right for a job. It can be done in person, on the phone, or online, and it takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour to finish. There are many kinds of interviews like behavioral interviews and final interviews, and the exact interviews someone takes depends on the role they’re interviewing for. For example, a person who wants to be a software engineer might have interviews about behavior and coding.

guide to what an interview is with types of interviews

In this article, we’ll explain what an interview is in more detail and also define the main 8 types of interviews. At the end of the article, we’ll discuss how you prepare for interviews in relation to what you should wear (for both men and women), what you should bring to the interview, and positive signs that signal you’re passing an interview.

What Is An Interview?

An interview is a formal conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee, typically used to evaluate the interviewee’s suitability for a role or position. It can take place in various settings, such as over the phone, in person, or virtually. During the interview, the interviewer asks specific questions to assess the candidate’s skills, experiences, and fit for the organization or job. Based on the interviewee’s responses, the interviewer makes decisions about the next steps in the hiring or assessment process.

There are different types of interviews such as behavioral interview interviews, group interviews, and panel interviews, and different types of interviews are conducted for different types of job roles.

What Are The Different Types Of Interviews?

There are 8 main types of interviews. The 8 main types of interviews are coding interviews, behavioral interviews, phone interviews, mock interviews, group interviews, panel interviews, exit interviews, and final interviews.

In the sections below, we’ll define what each of these types of interviews are, what you should expect, and how to do well within the interviews.

1. Coding Interview

A coding interview is a type of interview that requires a candidate to answer questions related to software engineering like programming, data structures, and algorithms. The types of questions that interviewers ask in a coding interview require a candidate to either answer conceptual questions or solve questions through programming. 

To successfully pass a coding interview, a candidate should have a strong grasp of software engineering concepts, including programming, data structures, and algorithms. Additionally, they should be adept at answering both conceptual questions and demonstrating their coding skills through problem-solving.

The image below depicts how the flow of a coding interview typically is.

coding interview time management

2. Behavioral Interview

A behavioral interview is a type of interview that focuses on understanding a candidate’s past behavior in various situations to predict their future behavior in similar circumstances. The types of questions that interviewers ask in a behavioral interview typically revolve around past experiences, challenges faced, and how the candidate responded or acted in those situations.

To pass a behavioral interview, a candidate should reflect on their past experiences and be prepared to provide specific examples showcasing their responses to different challenges. It’s beneficial to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique to structure their answers and practice essential behavioral questions.

The image below expresses the two main types of behavioral questions that you’re asked during a behavior interview.

behavioral interview question types

3. Phone Interview

A phone interview is a type of interview conducted over the phone, often serving as a preliminary screening before a face-to-face meeting. The types of questions that interviewers ask in a phone interview can vary, but they generally cover the candidate’s background, qualifications, and interest in the position.

To do well in a phone interview, a candidate should ensure they are in a quiet environment, speak clearly, and have their resume and job description at hand for reference. Preparation and practicing common interview questions can also enhance their chances.

4. Mock Interview

A mock interview is a type of interview practice where individuals simulate real interview scenarios to prepare for actual job interviews. The types of questions that interviewers ask in a mock interview often mirror those of real job interviews, encompassing both technical and behavioral questions.

To prepare for a mock interview, candidates should treat it as a real interview, take feedback seriously, and use it to improve their performance for the actual interview.

The image below depicts 5 benefits of doing mock interviews in preparation for real interviews.

5 benefits of mock interview practice

5. Group Interview

A group interview is a type of interview where multiple candidates are interviewed simultaneously, often to observe their interactions and teamwork skills. The types of questions that interviewers ask in a group interview often relate to teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving in a group setting.

To prepare for a group interview, candidates should actively participate, demonstrate good listening and communication skills, and showcase their ability to collaborate effectively with others.

The image below depicts the compositional differences in interviewees vs. interviewers in group interviews vs. panel interviews.

comparison of group interview and panel interview type interviews

6. Panel Interview

A panel interview is a type of interview where a candidate is interviewed by multiple interviewers simultaneously, often from different departments or areas of expertise. The types of questions that interviewers ask in a panel interview can range from technical to behavioral, depending on the panel members’ backgrounds.

To prepare for a panel interview, candidates should engage with all panel members, demonstrate versatility in their responses, and be prepared for a wide range of questions.

The image below depicts how a panel interview is composed of interviewers and an interviewee. Each panel interviewer evaluates the candidate on different combinations of candidate characteristics.

interviewers in a panel interview interviewing interviewee

7. Exit Interview

An exit interview is a type of interview conducted when an employee is leaving a company to gather feedback and understand the reasons for their departure. The types of questions that interviewers ask in an exit interview typically revolve around the employee’s experience, reasons for leaving, and suggestions for improvement.

You don’t need to prepare for an exit interview in the same way you would prepare for another interview in which you’re evaluated. However, you should still make sure that you know what to expect when doing an exit interview.

8. Final Interview

A final interview is a type of interview that usually happens in the last stage of the hiring process, where the employer assesses if the candidate is a perfect fit for the role and the organization. The types of questions that interviewers ask in a final interview often delve deeper into the candidate’s qualifications, motivations, and fit for the company culture.

To pass a final interview, candidates should reiterate their enthusiasm for the role, showcase a deep understanding of the company and its values, and highlight their most relevant experiences and skills.

How Do You Prepare For An Interview?

You prepare for an interview by preparing for the types of questions that’ll be asked during an interview, preparing what to dress, bringing the right items to an interview, and knowing what the signs that you passed an interview are.

How Should You Dress For An Interview?

You should dress appropriately for an interview based on your prospective employer’s dress code. There are three main dress codes: smart casual, business casual, and business professional. 

In smart casual, men might wear a shirt without a tie, and women might wear a nice sweater. Business casual is a little more formal. Men might wear a shirt, trousers, and good shoes, while women might wear a blouse with a skirt or trousers. Business professional is the most formal. Men should wear a full suit, and women should wear a suit with a skirt or trousers.

The image below expresses what a male and female may wear to a tech interview for a software engineer interview.

man and woman dress codes for tech interviews

There are a lot of nuances to learn in order to learn how to dress for an interview, but once you grasp them, they’re easy to understand.

What Should You Bring To An Interview?

You should bring items that’ll complement your interview performance, such as multiple copies of your resume, additional copies of your references, proper interviewing clothes, a notebook, and a water bottle.

What Are Signs That You Passed An Interview?

Signs that you passed an interview include noticing the conversation becoming information, noticing positive nonverbal cues from a recruiter, discussing of salary expectations, and being invited to connect with the team on LinkedIn. However, it’s important to understand that these signs don’t guarantee that you’ve passed an interview and are only indicators.