Close up of interview candidate speaking to interviewer in office.


The interview is a crucial element of the job search process. Learn about the types of interviews you may experience and how to prepare for one.

What should I expect in an interview?

During an interview, the potential employer wants to assess whether or not you can do the job, how much you want the job and how you will fit within the team or organization. Each organization will find unique ways to recruit and interview candidates.

Types of interviews

Throughout your search, you may be invited to the following types of interviews: screening (in-person or telephone), panel or individual, testing or experiential, and group, just to name a few.

There are many ways to conduct screening interviews, including in person, by phone, by computer, or in a group setting.

During screening interviews, employers may also use assessments and skill testing, i.e., determining specific aptitudes and emotional intelligence.

Formal interviews are what you'd traditionally expect when you imagine interviews. Using a series of questions or discussion points, the interviewer(s) will have the opportunity to get to know you and determine if you're a good fit for the organization based on your personality, skills, experience, and attitude. These may be done one-on-one or with a panel of hiring staff/managers.

Generally, this is conducted in an informal setting, outside the office, and is casual and relaxed. This might be an invite for coffee with a potential employer or coworker; it could be done by phone, or it could even be done by email.

This is a way to get a better sense of the candidate in a setting other than the workplace and to talk with them in a more casual environment.

In a group interview, multiple applicants are interviewed simultaneously, either by a panel of interviewers or by a single interviewer. It's used to screen candidates based on how they behave among their peers.

Employers may also use this type of interview to save time if there are many applicants. Candidates may be asked the same questions, or they may each be asked a different question. Alternatively, employers might set up a situation in which prospective employees work together so they can observe and compare their abilities.

Conveniently, you won't need to travel to an office to conduct the interview — they're usually held via video or phone.

Be sure you have the right equipment for a remote interview before it happens. Make sure you're connected to reliable internet and that you have a working camera/microphone. Smartphones can typically be used if you don't have a computer. 

A Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) is a series of short, carefully timed interview stations where applicants are asked to demonstrate their ability to think on their feet, critically appraise information, communicate their ideas, and demonstrate their commitment to important issues.

The MMI is commonly used for applications to medical school. Career Services can help you build confidence and practice for MMI interviews. Visit Elevate to speak with a career advisor or find workshops related to the MMI.

Two people discussing and exchanging ideas in the office.

Want to practice your interview skills?

UCalgary students and recent alumni can book a mock interview with a career development specialist to prepare for an upcoming interview or practice their skills.

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