Types of Interviews

Depending on the level of position and type of organization, you may have one or several interviews as part of the hiring process. The various types of interviews typically fall into the following categories:

Screening Interview

When an employer’s hiring process involves multiple interviews, the first interview is typically a screening interview. Although it is typically brief (20 minutes – one hour), it is an important first step!

Many screening interviews are held over the phone, by video call, or on campus. These interviews are con- ducted either by a member of the search committee, a personnel officer, a recruiter, or even Amherst College alumni who work there. The questions are generally about your past performance and skills. Interviewers are looking for candidates who communicate well, demonstrate leadership, initiative and maturity, and have a genuine interest in the organization.

Phone or Video Call Interview

Many screening interviews are carried out by phone or video call such as Skype or Google Hangout. They are also utilized by employers who need to interview candidates who live far and wide, either across the nation or around the world. It is rare for an employer to hire a candidate without any in-person contact but sometimes the circumstances dictate that the process takes place entirely over the air. These conversations can be more difficult if you are not a “phone person” or need a lot of context to help you pick up non-verbal cues. Make sure to create the physical space you need to be successful (i.e. little to no background noise, using a private space that has a simple uncluttered backdrop, sitting or standing somewhere you feel comfortable, etc.) Use notes with talking points if it’s helpful but do not read your notes or your responses will sound canned.

Second Interview / Site Visit

If you have been successful in the screening interview, then you may be invited for a second interview. This in- terview is typically held at the site of the organization and may be anywhere from one hour to all day, depending on how many people you meet with and the level of the position.

Case Interviews

Case interviews are often used by consulting firms and other businesses to assess your problem solving abilities. At a case interview you will be asked to address a business case and evaluated on the structure and logic of your thinking as well as your creative problem solving, all under time constraints. The Loeb Center has texts in the Business section of our library on case interviewing and a link on our webpage. Alumni also regularly provide guidance on preparing for case interviews.

Practice is the key to a successful case interview, even more so than for interviewing in general. Though the sce- narios can and will vary widely, you can practice and improve upon the logical thinking and time management common to each case.