Main image of article The Most Common Interview Types in the Tech Industry

For tech professionals, the stress of interviewing is compounded when you have to face several rounds of interviews. It also feels like every company has a unique method for interviewing candidates, which throws job seekers off even more. You might not feel like you can stand out in the crowd—but you’d be wrong.

When it comes to interviewing candidates, many companies rely on a small menu of interview styles. In addition to your standard-issue interview prep, knowing the type of interview you’ll be facing can keep you relaxed and confident as you step into the room with your interviewers. We spoke to several experts on the types of interviews tech pros will face to get a better understanding of what you need to do to prepare.

What are the 5 Most Common Types of Interviews?

There are several types of interviews you may encounter on your job search:

  • Phone interviews. Often used for screening, phone interviews are voice-only calls often lasting 15-30 minutes. It’s best to leave yourself on mute, only un-muting when you need to talk. This helps avoid distracting background noise on your end.
  • Behavioral interviews. A behavioral interview is rife with those “tell me about a time when-” prompts we all dread. There’s no way to truly prepare for these, just remember to stay positive and calm throughout.
  • Video (virtual) interviews. Most companies have a preferred video chat platform, so be sure you have everything you need before you log in for these interviews. Whenever possible, download the native app for the platform you’ll be using; web-based video chats are less reliable than the native apps.
  • In-person interviews. These days, in-person interviews are often held later in the interview process. Potential employers want to meet people in-person when they’re interested in hiring them. For these interviews, remember to dress appropriately; ask the recruiter or hiring manager if there’s a company dress code they’d like you to follow.
  • Coding interviews. Coding interviews are typically held in person, but a virtual coding interview is also an option, particularly for remote roles. For this type of interview, be sure you have an IDE you’re comfortable using, familiarity with the tech stack your potential new employer uses, and are dressed comfortably as you’ll be under pressure.

How Can Job Seekers Stand Out in a Phone Interview?

HR consultant and SHRM-P certified pro Conor Hughes says: “For phone interviews, make sure you've done your homework on the company. Have some thoughtful questions ready that show you get what they're about and how they like to work. Share a few stories and examples that really highlight your skills. When you talk, smile—it'll come through over the phone.”

Founder of MentorCruide, Dominic Monn, tells Dice: “The absence of visual cues on phone interviews means how you tell your story will contribute a lot to the overall impression you make. Anecdotes can make your answers more memorable. An applicant who outright gives the answer versus an applicant that gives us context, takes us through his thought process, and peppers his answer with tidbits that make it more personal and interesting is essentially giving us more context and ultimately, more reason to remember him.”

Alari Aho, founder of Toggl, advises creating your own storyline: “One unique way to stand out in a phone interview is to create a narrative arc of your career and skills. Job seekers should prepare a succinct story that weaves together their experiences, achievements, and the lessons they've learned along the way. This approach not only makes the conversation more engaging but also helps the interviewer remember you as the candidate with a compelling journey. Incorporating how specific challenges were overcome with creativity or innovative thinking can further highlight your problem-solving skills and resilience.”

Tips to Shine In a Virtual Interview Setting

“For virtual interviews, ensure a professional background and clear lighting,” notes Tawny Lott Rodriguez, director of HR at Rowland Hall. “Test your technology beforehand to avoid glitches. Turn your camera on (you'd be surprised how many times I've seen an interviewee refuse to turn the camera on! what?!). Dress professionally and maintain strong eye contact with the camera. Actively listen, use nonverbal cues effectively, and ask thoughtful questions about the role and company culture.”

“To excel in a virtual interview, job seekers should treat it with the same seriousness as an in-person meeting,” Aho adds. “Having a professional, distraction-free background and good lighting make a significant difference. Additionally, leveraging the digital format to share work samples or presentations can help illustrate points more effectively. It's also important to engage with the interviewer by maintaining eye contact through the camera and showing enthusiasm through body language, as these cues are vital for virtual rapport-building.”

Behavioral Interview Tips

When it comes to behavioral interview, Hughes says, “have detailed examples ready that show skills like leadership, communication, problem-solving. Explain the situation, what you did, and the outcome. Use numbers and data to quantify achievements when you can. Stay positive even when talking about tough experiences, and tie your examples back to what they're looking for.”

Aho says, “In behavioral interviews, job seekers should focus on showcasing how their past experiences align with the job's requirements. This involves not only highlighting specific skills and accomplishments but also demonstrating adaptability, problem-solving abilities, and how they've overcome challenges. It's an opportunity to tell your story in a way that illustrates your fit for the role and the company culture. Preparing stories that reflect different competencies can help candidates navigate these interviews more effectively.”

How are On-site Interviews Different in 2024?

The on-site interview seems like a relic of the past to many, but it’s still important for companies hiring talent to work closely with others in an office setting. Aho notes you might be put in real-world scenarios, telling Dice: “These interviews often include immersive experiences, such as participating in real work scenarios, to gauge how a candidate collaborates and solves problems in real-time.”

This approach “provides a deeper understanding of the candidate's capabilities and how they align with the company's ethos,” Aho continues. “Moreover, it's an opportunity for candidates to experience the company's working environment firsthand, making the interview process a two-way street.”

Monn reminds us that on-site interviews are still about fit, but that modern technologies may have made technical skills less important: “On-site interviews were typically conducted as a way for applicants to demonstrate their hard skills. Today, however, hard skills can easily be determined through online tests. Soft skills have taken precedence over technical expertise because of AI. So should an applicant be called for an on-site interview, in a lot of cases, it's because we want to assess the authenticity of their answers in earlier stages of the hiring process, and whether or not they would seem like a good fit overall for the organization.”

How has A.I. Changed the Interviewing Landscape?

“AI is increasingly used for initial screening or skills assessments,” notes Rodriguez. “My suggestion: Approach these tests seriously, as they can determine if you move on to the human interview stage.”

Though A.I. can screen and schedule applicants for interviews, Aho reminds us people still make decisions: “[A.I.] offers interviewers real-time insights, subtly guiding them while also reading into candidates' speech patterns for signs of engagement and truthfulness. Yet, amidst all this tech, the human touch remains central; AI is there to enhance, not replace, ensuring that every decision is grounded in genuine human connection and understanding.”


On-site, virtual, phone, behavioral… these are all unique types of interviews with their own demands. Preparation is key. You should also feel free to let an employer know if you feel more comfortable in a different format. Perhaps you like seeing people when you talk to them; if that’s you, suggest a video chat over a phone call. Your potential future employer might relish that kind of initiative, too.