There’s not a ‘one-style’ fits all approach to interviewing. Some employers like to keep them quick and informal, as it suits their business style. While others may take a two or three-step approach to find the best person.
An interview, whatever its format, can be nerve-wracking. But if you understand how they differ and are armed with tips on how to ace them, you could be one-step closer to landing your dream job.
Here’s a run-down of five different interview styles you may face. Plus, insightful advice on how to blow the socks off the interviewer(s):
A one-to-one interview is a traditional style of interviewing. You’ll sit down with a solo interviewer, typically someone from HR or the department you’ll potentially be working for.
The purpose of this type of interview is to get to know more about you. The interviewer may have highlighted things on your CV that they want to ask you about. For instance, they may ask you to explain your educational achievements, what it is you do in your current/last role. Or, they could be interested to hear more about your hobbies or what you do in your spare time.
The interview frequently starts with the interviewer asking you to explain what you know about the company – so do your research. At the least, look at their website to understand what services/products they offer and what markets they operate in.
Before the interview, read through your CV to refresh yourself of what’s on it. Be prepared to explain points in depth – but don’t ramble on, as everyone is conscious of time. Have examples ready to back-up your answers – particularly if they’re asking what achievements you’ve made in your current/last role.
If a company is on a recruitment-drive and is hiring multiple people for the same role/department, they may invite you to attend a group interview.
This saves the business time as they can see lots of people at once. They can also judge you on how you get along with others, or what role you take in group exercises.
As an interviewee, group interviews can be tricky. You want your voice to be heard but at the same time, you don’t want it to look like you’re hogging the interview and pushing others out. It’s a balancing act!
Remember, the interviewers may be watching how you interact with others from the moment you arrive. So, take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the other interviewees and those from the company how are present.
During the interview, when asked a question, put across your ideas. Then, lets others do the same.
If you’re given the opportunity to ask questions, keep it short and make sure they relate to points that were discussed during the interview.
Phone interviews are sometimes used as a screening process by employers, to sift out people who they want to invite for a one-to-one interview.
The recruiter or employer will probably contact you to arrange a suitable time for the interview. However, some companies like to use unscheduled calls, to see how you respond when you’re put on the spot and haven’t had time to prepare.
So, if you’re currently job-hunting, be prepared to receive a call from a potential employer at any time. Of course, if they call at an inappropriate moment, tell them you can’t talk right now and give a time/date when you can.
When planning a phone interview, choose your location wisely. Ideally somewhere quiet where you can hear the interviewer clearly, but also where you feel comfortable talking freely.
Phone interviews miss the personal connection of a one-to-one interview, so it’s important to build rapport with the interviewer from the get-go.
Start off by asking how they are and thanking them for taking the time to call. Pay close attention to what the interviewer is asking and don’t feel rushed into giving an answer. Speak slowly and clearly when responding.
Keep an upbeat and conversational tone the whole time. Not being able to see someone’s facial expression can work against you, so make sure your positivity and enthusiasm comes through in your voice.
At the end, the interviewer may ask if you have any questions, so make sure you have a couple written down.
Pre-Recorded Video Interview
Also referred to as a one-way video interview, pre-recorded video interviews are slightly different to interviews held on Skype or Zoom.
The interviewer isn’t actually present. Instead, you’re provided a link to a site that lists pre-set questions which you have to record your answer to.
These types of interviews are being used more frequently as a screener to select the best people for a face-to-face interview.
You’re in control of when, where and how you record your answers. You can decide to use a phone, tablet or computer for the recording. Whatever device you use, choose your location carefully. You want all the focus to be on you and not what is happening behind you.
The question will appear on the screen and you’ll be given a time-limit in which to answer, maybe a minute or two. You need to use this time wisely. Be concise, but with enough content to answer the question fully.
You may not be given the opportunity to see the list of questions beforehand, but there’s good news. Usually, you are given time between each question to prepare your answer. Plus, you may be given the option to re-record answers if you’re not happy with them.
Most important, when doing a video interview, look directly into the camera – imagine there’s a person on the other side who you have to maintain eye-contact with. And, lastly, smile!
‘Come in for a chat’ Interview
A coffee and chat-style interview aren’t your classic interview, but it may be a way for a hiring manager or head-hunter to recruit talented professionals who aren’t openly looking for new opportunities.
You may be invited to meet them for a coffee or even lunch etc. so they can get to know you and gauge your interest in moving companies.
Even though it’s informal, this chat could lead to something more, so it’s important to be prepared.
If you’re meeting a recruiter, be sure to get further details on the role and client (if they’re able to disclose their name). And, get information on the benefits package – if they’re trying to persuade you to move companies, it has to be worth your while.
If you’re meeting with an employer directly, take the time before the chat to research the company; look at their website, social media, and marketing materials. Check what others have to say about working for them with Glassdoor reviews.
The meeting may be held in an informal setting like a coffee shop or eatery, be sure to be smartly dressed and arrive on time. If after the chat, you’re interested in taking it further, let them know and arrange to follow up.
If not, explain your reason why and agree to stay in touch either by email or social media, like LinkedIn.
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