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Tech professionals will have to prepare for multiple different types of interviews as they advance through their job search—long gone are the days when you could expect a simple phone screener followed by an in-person face-to-face with a hiring manager. These days, companies want to subject you to a battery of technical screenings, video interviews, and panel discussions, all to determine whether you’re truly the best candidate for the job.

In the post-pandemic era, the video interview has taken on additional prominence and requires a specific type of preparation, for example.  

We'll also discuss the emerging presence of AI interviews, where you might be responding to questions not from a human but from a chatbot or algorithm… an interaction that may take some getting used to.

Phone Interviews

Scott Bonneau, executive vice president of product and operations at Karat, said phone interviews are most commonly used to determine someone's baseline capabilities: “The hiring manager conducting that interview is deciding if they want to spend their team's time going through a more complete interview process of the candidate.”

Preparing for a phone interview means preparing for the types of questions that may be asked to assess basic qualifications. "This includes refreshing skills related to specific programming languages relevant to the role, such as Python or Ruby," Bonneau said. "While technical capabilities are a primary focus, interviewers are also interested in problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills."

Articulating your thought process during problem-solving can provide valuable insight into problem-solving approaches, even in a remote interview setting. “Candidates are encouraged to explain their thinking and problem-solving strategies to demonstrate their analytical skills and how they approach challenges,” Bonneau added.

This approach not only showcases technical proficiency but also provides interviewers with a deeper understanding of the candidate's problem-solving methodology and thought process.

A phone interview can take many forms. For some, it's a preliminary technical deep dive; for others, it's understanding what your motives are or why you are looking.

“The best thing you can do is do your research, spend some time looking up the company and if you can, the person you are chatting with,” said Matt Fedorowicz, manager of talent acquisition in human resources at Auvik Networks. “Be honest, you’ll stumble if you try to make things up. A company should hire you for who you are and not who you pretend to be.”

As Fedorowicz pointed out, phone interviews are still very common, but many companies have moved solely to video and in-person interviews. “To avoid ‘Zoom fatigue,’ you’ll find many recruiters and companies still perform phone interviews at the front end of their interview process,” he said. “This helps avoid burnout when performing the bulk of their interviews.” 

On-Site Interviews

Bonneau said the on-site interview process can vary significantly from one organization to another, but generally, it represents either the final step or the penultimate step in the hiring process: “Typically, it's a comprehensive evaluation of the candidate.”

A common component is the "resume deep dive," where interviewers thoroughly explore the candidate's past projects and experiences, probing for in-depth knowledge, insights gained, and decision-making processes.

Skilled interviewers delve into the nuances of a candidate's role, understanding of the subject matter, and their ability to reflect on past experiences, often asking hypothetical questions about what they would have done differently.

“Organizations are increasingly incorporating questions related to leadership principles, popularized by companies like Amazon,” Bonneau said.

These inquiries delve into how candidates collaborate, make decisions, and prioritize tasks, aiming to gauge their alignment with the organization's cultural values and priorities. “Candidates would benefit from researching and understanding the organizational culture beforehand to better align their responses during these discussions,” he added.

Virtual Interviews

Virtual interviews offer both advantages and challenges compared to in-person ones.

They provide a comfortable environment for candidates, especially introverts, who may feel more at ease in familiar surroundings without the pressure of facing strangers in a new workspace for hours.

However, some candidates may miss the direct interpersonal communication that in-person interviews offer, despite the advancements in virtual communication technology.

As Bonneau pointed out, virtual interviews often offer more flexible scheduling, allowing candidates to break up the interview process throughout the day instead of enduring long stretches of continuous interviewing: “One significant benefit of virtual interviews is the increased accessibility to job opportunities, breaking down geographical barriers and expanding the pool of potential candidates.”

During virtual interviews, maintaining a distraction-free environment and ensuring clear communication with the interviewer are crucial.

While preferences may vary regarding background settings, minimizing distractions and maintaining eye contact with the camera demonstrate professionalism and commitment to the interview process. These factors may not necessarily elevate a candidate's performance—but neglecting them could potentially leave a negative impression on interviewers.

“What's most important is creating an environment conducive to focused communication during virtual interviews,” Bonneau said.

Coding Interviews in an Era of ChatGPT

When it comes to coding interviews, the formats can vary widely, but effective ones typically begin with a straightforward problem statement, often multi-part or layered.

Bonneau said it's crucial for candidates to demonstrate their problem-solving approach within a timeframe, usually around 20 to 25 minutes. One common format involves a three-part coding question, where additional constraints or complications are introduced progressively to assess the candidate's adaptability and problem-solving process.

Interviewers focus on how candidates break down problems, consider various considerations like testing, privacy, and security, and creatively approach solutions. “In today's landscape, where ChatGPT can translate problem statements into code effectively, it's not enough for candidates to merely translate English into code,” he said.  

Employers are looking for candidates who showcase logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to utilize available tools effectively. “Demonstrating clear thought processes during problem-solving can greatly benefit candidates in showcasing their suitability for the role,” Bonneau said.

Fedorowicz said coding interviews are often done live in GitHub, broken down into three 30-minute parts consisting of a code review, small code writing exercise, and a question and answer session. “There are a lot of technical interview prep resources online, but I wouldn’t recommend them,” he said. “They’re often designed for very algorithmic, brain teaser style questions—which we don’t do.”

Instead, Fedorowicz advised tech pros to tune up their technical skills and programming languages the interview will be in, and practice thinking out loud as they figure out a problem. 

Behavioral Interviews

A behavioral interview is an interviewing framework where almost all the questions focus on the candidate’s past experiences and past behavior.

"The reason being is that researchers believe the best predictor of future behavior is unearthing relevant past behavior," said Courtney Harrison, chief human resources officer at Auvik Networks. "It is really the opposite of most interviews where interviewers tend to rely on asking future-oriented hypothetical questions."

Behavioral interviewing purists would tell you that is one of the least effective ways to predict future behavior in the role for which you are hiring. "That is luck of the draw as it is either usually based on that company’s interviewing approach and framework, or if the manager who is interviewing has been trained on behavioral interviewing in a past company and is now a believer that it is highly effective when it comes to making best hiring decisions," Harrison said.

Most of the interview is likely to be focused on asking the interviewee about past examples.

"It would behoove the interviewee to think about past situations where they have had to do things like take a risk that made them uncomfortable, or when they had to change direction on short notice or make a decision that was unpopular," Harrison said.

Look through the posting and job description and then turn what the company said they are looking for in the ideal candidate (i.e., the "responsibilities" bullets) into good past experiences you can talk about and draw upon.

"Trained behavioral interviewers know to not move onto the next question until they ideally have gotten those sections answered," Harrison said. "It can be painful for the interviewee to think through all those parts on their feet." If you want to avoid that scenario, you may want to spend lots of time rehearsing your potential answers to a plethora of questions before heading into the interview. 

AI Interviews

As AI and generative AI (GenAI) continue to infiltrate all aspects of life, organizations are now leveraging the technology to aid their interview processes (although there are multiple unresolved ethical and legal questions that companies and governments are just now beginning to address about the use of AI).

These AI-powered interviews could add an initial first step to the overall process, coming before the phone interview or even taking the form of a type of robocall reaches out to a candidate to make a primary assessment.

Cody Wheeler, senior manager of employer relations for U.S. and Canada at CompTIA, said that when it comes to AI interviews, it's essential for tech pros understand how companies are integrating AI into their hiring processes: “Many organizations are piloting AI functions for pre-screening purposes, utilizing AI to conduct initial calls to shortlist candidates based on specific criteria.”

These AI calls typically involve basic questions about job preferences and technical skills, with responses reviewed to determine candidate suitability. While this approach offers increased efficiency and touchpoints for staffing agencies, it's crucial for candidates to discern legitimate AI calls from potential scams.

“Candidates should focus on sticking to relevant keywords during these preliminary interviews, similar to optimizing applications for applicant tracking systems (ATS),” Wheeler said.

Assuming AI bots will likely contact candidates for roles they've applied for, emphasizing keywords from the job postings will likely enhance chances of success. “It's a straightforward approach that will ensures what you're saying is in alignment with the job requirements and maximizes the effectiveness of your interaction with AI-based interview systems,” he said. “You want to hit those keywords from the job description.”


The common thread across all types of interviews is preparedness. Depending on what stage in the hiring process you find yourself, you'll be able to gauge what type of information is being sought from you and provide the necessary information that will tick the boxes to get you to the next step.

Phone interviews (often the first step) focus on basic qualifications and problem-solving abilities, necessitating a refresh of relevant skills like programming languages.

  • In-person interviews delve into past experiences and problem-solving approaches, with an increasing focus on leadership principles.
  • Virtual interviews offer flexibility but require candidates to convey professionalism from a distance—clear communication and laser focus are essential.
  • Coding interviews emphasize problem-solving within time constraints, but you will want to leave space to demonstrate creative thinking skills.
  • AI interviews are emerging as an initial screening tool—which means tailoring responses to keywords to maximize the chance of success.

By preparing for these diverse interview formats, you'll be equipped to navigate the recruitment process with confidence and poise.