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Interview Skills - Introduction

The interview is one of several sales tools you will use in your search process.  Some consider it to be the most important part of the job search process for, in many instances, it is your only chance to make a favorable impression upon an employer and it could very well be the deciding factor as to whether or not you are offered employment.

                                                  The Purpose

The purpose of an interview is to give the employer an opportunity to learn about you, your qualifications and experience, and to decide if you are the best person for the job. An interview also serves as a time for you to learn about the company, the job opening, its duties and expectations.

Types of Interviews

There are several different types of interviews, including:

  • behavioral
  • panel
  • telephone
  • informational


Behavior-based interviews consist of questions that enable the interviewer to know how you previously reacted or behaved in certain types of situations. Behavioral interviews are based upon the concept that future behavior is best predicted by past behavior, and that future success is best predicted by past success.

Sample behavioral interview questions:

  • Tell me about a time when your worked under an extremely tight deadline.
  • Tell me about a situation where you were particularly proud of the creativity you demonstrated.

Behavioral interviews are unique because each question must be answered with a specific example. Another unique aspect of behavior-based interviews is that you will be asked to describe situations in which you were not successful. In essences, the behavior-based interview is meant to show all sides of  you.


In the panel interview, two or more people interview you simultaneously, usually taking turns asking questions. In panel interviews, the question can be pre-determined and often you will find that the only person listening to your answer is the person who asked it. Your primary goal is to make each member feel totally involved in your response.


Telephone interviews are always screening interviews. In five minutes the interviewer can often gather all the information necessary to determine if a full interview is warranted.


An informational interview is a method of career exploration and a way of discovering jobs that are not publicly advertised. They are the best avenues for learning about what’s happening in a variety of career fields and industries, as well as, a way to build and maintain a professional network and to enhance and expand your career awareness.

NEXT - Phases of an Interview