Different Types of Interviews and How to Prepare for Them

When looking for your next job, there are many different types of interview styles. There are behavioral interviews, where you’re asked to share your experiences in solving specific problems. There’s the lunch interview, which tests your relational skills in a whole new environment. You may be invited to a Skype interview, which for the uninitiated can be a bit nerve-wracking.

It’s important to know how to be prepared for each of these types of interviews. Here are a few examples of interviews the next hiring manager may throw at you and how to prepare for each one.

#1 The Standard Interview

If you’re lucky, the employer won’t throw anything too radical at you in this scenario. However, it doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t prepare. Take time before this process to research the company you’re visiting as well as practicing some of the most common types of interview questions, like “What’s your biggest weakness.” Find out from your recruiter in advance who you’re meeting with and even try to find out more about them so you can feel a little more comfortable with the new faces at the interview table.

#2 The Skype Interview

If you’ve never done a video interview, this one will take a bit of time to get used to. First, test your laptop, desktop or another digital device to determine the software works. Then find an appropriate room for the visit, keeping in mind what the employer will see in the background behind you. Next, make sure the camera is portraying you in the most attractive way, by shooting you head-on and not panning up into your chin. If you’re uncertain about any of these tips, there are dozens of articles online to prepare you.

#3 The Case Study Interview

For programmers, many companies give you a coding problem to solve. Sales roles often have a series of behavioral tests. Writers usually have to give an article sample or take a writing test. Either way, companies are increasingly seeking new ways to have you prove your skills before coming on board.

#4 The Behavioral Interview

These interviews seek to quantify your skills in concrete ways by asking a series of questions that start with, “Tell me about a time that you…” The goal of these questions is to test how fast on your feet you are as well as trying to determine your future behaviors on the job by looking at what you did in the past. The best way to prepare is to look up samples of these types of questions and practice a few concise examples of your on-the-job skills.

#5 The Lunch Interview

If you get nervous eating around new people, this can be a tough interview. However, you should assume the potential employer must like you; they wouldn’t invite you to lunch if they didn’t. A lunch interview gets a prospective employee out of the artificial environment of the interview room and gives you an opportunity to get to know the employer in a more relaxed setting, even if, in truth, you won’t be relaxed at all. If you know the restaurant in advance, check the menu and pick out a few options that are: A) not too expensive; and B) easy to eat. Bring along a small notebook (that could fit beside your plate) with conversation prompts and questions.

For more top tips, talk to the talent team at Top Stack.       


Tips for Staying Productive While Unemployed

If you’ve experienced unemployment, particularly after working for years, you may know the weird feeling of dislocation that can come from having too much free time on your hands. While it’s a good idea to update your resume and write great cover letters when unemployed, there are a few other things you can do to make the most of your time. This includes volunteering, learning a new skill, catching up with your network – or building new connections. Here’s how to stay productive while looking for your next career path.


Employers today are interested in your efforts to improve the world around you, so volunteering for a worthy cause while you’re laid off is a great way to use your time. Not only will it make you feel good about yourself, but it also adds skills to your resume. It can even connect you with a new social network that could lead to a new job. It will illustrate to employers that you kept your skills sharp during your time away from the work world. One important tip is you should give some thought to where you’ll be volunteering. How does the organization connect to your job market? Can the activity give you some valuable resume skills you could highlight during an interview?

Increase your industry visibility

This might be a good time to get active in an industry-related association. Most cities have a variety of events going on that can increase your skills and help you network with employers and employees. Many of these events are also free or low cost. When you find the industry-specific organization that’s right for you, why not use your free time to help them with meetings or events? Make sure you’re connecting with everyone you meet on LinkedIn.

Reach out to your existing network

A social network is only as good as the connections you manage. Think about your network as a living web of people you can help – and that can help you. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile recently, now is the time. Then work on reconnecting with people you haven’t seen in a while. Relationships atrophy over time, so make sure you email a one-on-one communication with “your people” on a regular basis. You can also ask colleagues you’ve worked with to give you a reference on the platform.

Learn new skills

Remember when you were working and you thought, “If only I had more time, I’d learn X.” If you’re unemployed, there is no better time than to brush up on old skills or create new ones. There are all kinds of free online classes, including those from Harvard and MIT found on the edX website. For programmer wannabe’s there are classes at freeCodeCamp that can retrain you for a job in the digital field.

Call Top Stack

If you’re unemployed, make calling Top Stack a priority. We have a variety of positions available right now you may already be qualified for. What are you waiting for? Start the conversation.

Are You Familiar With the Three “R’s” of Resume Writing?

Resumes still matter even in our digital society where your social media profile is often the first impression in the job market. Hiring managers still lead with the request, “Let’s see a resume,” so taking the time to craft a good document that adequately represents you may just get your foot in the door.

Here are three important tips for honing your resume by following the rule of the three “R’s.”

Resume Tips and the Rule of Three R’s

To ensure your resume leaves a great impression on everyone who reads it, be sure to follow the three R’s of resume writing: Relevance, Results and Realism. These three categories will help you craft a marketing document that leaves employers with a great first impression. For example, create a resume that is:

  • Relevant to the job you’re seeking. If you’re wondering about having a few versions of your resume lying around to highlight different skills, our best advice is to just do it. When creating these documents, consider the job you’re applying for. What will hiring managers want to see on your resume for the particular job they’re advertising? For example, if you’re applying for an entry-level accounting role, will the employer care about your time waiting tables at a local restaurant?Keeping your resume relevant means discarding the parts that won’t give you a leg up in the job. Given that hiring teams scan resumes for information, having a few keywords related to the job you’re applying for will make your resume stand out.
  • Results oriented, listing your major accomplishments at each job. It will give an employer a good sense of what you’ve done in the past and help them quantify what you bring to the table. Rely heavily on action verbs like:
  • Facilitated
  • Grew
  • Created
  • Achieved
  • Won
  • Managed
  • Handled
  • Coordinated
  • Planned
  • Produced
  • Realistic resumes are the ones you can back up with facts later on in an interview. While your resume is a marketing document, always stick to the truth so you don’t appear to hyper-inflate your skills at your next job interview. If you mentored new employees but didn’t manage them, don’t imply supervisory skills you don’t yet have. Many hiring teams will smell the over-inflation simply because they’ve seen it all before. Think of it this way, even if the resume nets you a job you’re underqualified for, what will your first few weeks on the job actually prove to your employer?

Making your resume more appealing to hiring managers’ means you have the specific skills and experiences they’re looking for at that time. That’s why you want someone looking at your resume to be able to discern quickly what you bring to the organization and where you’re interested in adding value.

Talk with the talent team at Top Stack about your goals for the future. We can help you hone your resume to highlight your skills and move into the position you’ve been waiting for.


How Can You Differentiate Yourself From Other Candidates?

Standing out in a good way during the job interview process is exactly what will help you make the next round of discussions – or snag an offer. How can you show employers you have the top skills? When you’re competing against a candidate with the same or similar skills, what can give you the competitive edge?

The answer is soft skills.

Soft Skills to Make You Stand Out

There are certain soft skills that can differentiate you from other candidates including leadership, respect, enthusiasm, confidence and work ethic. Soft skills are the less-quantifiable characteristics that often cannot even be taught, but are a part of how you interact with others in the workplace. As such, these traits are just as important as software skills or professional certifications. In fact, some hiring managers would argue that these skills are more important because hard skills can be taught. With collaboration increasingly important in the workplace, soft skills mark you as a candidate that is more highly desirable than one that might not play well with others.

Here are some soft skills that the employer may look for:

  • Enthusiasm and energy
    Your passion for the job could help you stand out in an employer’s eyes. With employee engagement at an all-time low, sharing your excitement over the role isn’t necessarily a bad thing. An enthusiastic employee is one that typically is the helper on the team, reaching out to others to support their work. That energy is also infectious and can earmark you as the one to pick to reinvigorate a team that is demotivated.
  • Quiet confidence
    Your confidence can be compelling. Employers look for confidence over bragging, competence over a bluff. The confidant interviewee is the candidate that believes in his or her own skills and abilities to do the job. This characteristic can help employers trust you, which is an important part of the hiring process.
  • Work ethic
    Employee productivity is still one of the most important benchmarks of a company’s success. Sharing stories of how hard you worked and what you accomplished during the interview process will impress employers on the fence about your hard skills. Work ethic implies you will do what it takes to succeed. Stories about how you worked a job while in school or the extra time you put after work in to receive your Scrum certification, will impress interviewers and potentially help you land the job.
  • Leadership
    Everyone likes a natural leader, so try to highlight times when you lead teams or when your troubleshooting skills kept a stalled project moving forward. Employees exhibit leadership all the time even if they don’t officially manage a team. Your resume should subtly highlight these areas in your work history and you should reinforce them during the interview process.

It’s important to recognize the power of soft skills to complement those that are more quantifiable. To get more tips on what skills to emphasize with future employers, why not make a connection with the Top Stack recruiting team? Our hard skills are the experience we have with hiring managers, and our soft skills include the ability to create a more human-centered hiring process. Call us to find out why we’re different.