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The Three Types of Job Fair Interviews

It's important to understand the most common types of interviews that take place at a job fair since your approach should be different with each. As you watch and listen from the side, you will be able to determine which type of interview is being conducted and to modify your approach accordingly. The following are the three basic types.

1) Screening Interview

This interview usually lasts no more than two to three minutes and is usually conducted by employers whose main interest is gathering resumes and initial impressions before making decisions as to whether they will move to the next step. Your strategy should be to quickly point them to the key areas in your background that reflect their needs. This is the time to use your Thirty-Sixty Second Elevator Pitch, keeping it short and succinct. Ask for a business card and inquire as to the next step. The Thirty-Second Elevator Pitch is the basic introduction of who you are and what you are seeking. It will form the basis of your introductory message when networking, your opening statement in telephone contacts with employers, and the foundation of your “Tell me about yourself” answer in interviewing.

2) Mini-Interview

This interview usually lasts five to ten minutes and is conducted at the employer's booth, usually (although not always) seated, rather than standing. Be prepared to give a full introduction of your background and quickly position yourself as someone who is a good fit in relation to that employer's needs. Make sure all your answers position you as the candidate who meets the employer's needs. Ask for a business card and inquire as to the next step and if you may follow up.

3) Full Interview

The full interview if there is one being conducted. Be prepared for full-length interview twenty minutes or more. Be aware that you may actually be interviewed by technical or line managers. Make sure you are prepared for the interview. At the end of the interview, if you are truly interested, inform the interviewer of your interest and inquire as to the next step. Assume that he or she is also interested. Just make sure you know what the next step will be and follow up.