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Learning Portal - Career: Interview Skills

Interview Skills

The interview is a chance for the employer to learn more about you, your skills and experiences, and for you to learn more about the company. 

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Top Tips 

✓ Confirm the details. Make sure you have the correct date, time, and location and know the names of the people you will be meeting.

✓ Research the job and the organization. You will need to explain how you are a good fit for the position and the company, so it helps to know a lot about them.

Be aware of your image and body language. Make a good first impression by wearing professional attire and having confident and competent body language.

✓ Practice your interview answers. Practice your answers to common interview questions so you will be able to answer confidently during the interview.

✓ Emphasize your accomplishments. Answer behavioural questions using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) to show what you accomplished.

✓ Learn from each interview. Keep a record of the questions you were asked, and ask for feedback if you are not chosen for the position. You can use this information when preparing for future interviews.

Types of Interviews 

Structured or Directed

This type of interview is very common and is used as a standardized method of comparing multiple candidates. The candidate is invited to attend a face-to-face meeting with the hiring personnel. In this format, an employer develops questions that will help assess the skills and experiences they are seeking to fulfill the requirements of the position. Many employers will have a rubric or scoring system for each question. A score is given based on the appropriateness of the candidates’ answers and then these scores are compared as a method of determining the most suitable candidate.


In a panel interview, a group of interviewers, typically two to five people from various positions and roles in the company, will take turns asking questions to one candidate. By having multiple opinions involved in the hiring decision, the employer will have a broader, more objective viewpoint when making a decision on which candidate will be most suitable. During your interview, it is important to engage all the panellists, therefore, as you answer each question, ensure that you are shifting your eye contact to address each one of them.

Types of Interviews 

Unstructured or Undirected

This type of interview is more casual, and may have some prepared questions, but is typically less structured. The questions may be determined or changed depending on the candidate’s responses or the direction of the conversation. In this method, the candidate has the opportunity to discuss their skills and qualifications more openly, emphasizing more of what they feel is important.


Often the group interview is used in order for an organization to save on time and resources by screening a larger number of candidates at the same time. The structure of a group interview may look different from employer to employer, but typically includes a series of questions to observe how candidates communicate, interact with people, and react under pressure.

Types of Interviews 

Pre-screening, Video or Telephone

In an attempt to narrow the candidate pool, a telephone or video interview may be used for initial screening purposes. This format of interview may also be used to interview candidates who don’t reside in the same area. When taking part in a video or telephone interview, always remember to ensure your technologies are working and are charged in advance. Remove any distractions from the background. Dress and prepare as you would for an in-person interview.

Performance, Testing or Presentation

This type of interview can be arranged during a separate time or as part of a face-to-face interview. An interviewer asks the candidate to perform specified tasks related to the job within a limited timeframe. Employers cannot always make a hiring decision solely based on interview performance, therefore, depending on the job requirements, they may decide to test an individual’s ability as part of the hiring process. For example, for an administrative assistant position, you may be tested on your ability to use Microsoft Excel, for a hairdressing position you may be asked to perform a haircut, or for a teacher you may be asked to give a presentation.


Unless otherwise stated, the material in this guide is from the Learning Portal created by College Libraries Ontario. Content has been adapted for the GPRC Learning Commons in June 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0 International License.

All icons on these pages are from The Noun Project. See individual icons for creator attribution. 

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