Types of interview and how to prepare A brilliant CV and cover letter create employment opportunities but they will not secure you a job. The interview is your chance to back up in person everything that the employer has read about you. This will probably be your first direct contact with the company and will give you an insight into its workings and the chance to meet with its personnel to see if it is a place that you would like to work should you be given an offer. There are several forms of interview with varying degrees of formality, but in essence they consist of a conversation, allowing the employer to get to know you and for you to see what they are like. Whilst interviews can be nerve- wracking experiences, it should be remembered that the interviewer is only human and it is possible that they are nervous also. Enter with a confident air, be friendly and open, and most importantly don't forget to breathe. One-to-one interview (1) To get to this stage you would have succeeded in qualifying the preliminary screening processes. The selection process will have been narrowed down and the company has recognised you as an attractive prospect. Usually this interview will be carried out by department supervisor, but sometimes with human resources personnel. Be prepared to talk about yourself in detail, why you want the job, and what you can contribute to the company. In advance of the interview carry out research into what the company do, and think of some questions you want to ask. Do not volunteer information that the interviewer doesn't ask for. Tips: You want them to want you on their team; therefore you have to impress them with your personality, your qualifications and your career ambition. Dress conservatively to impress and arrive punctually, be chatty with plenty of eye contact. Establish a rapport with the interviewer. Lunch interview (2) A interview over lunch will be more casual than in an office, however do not let down your guard. Make your life easier by not ordering messy food and order something that is a similar price range to the others in attendance. The decision whether to smoke or drink alcohol should be based upon the location and what the interviewer is doing. Tips: Follow the lead of the interviewer in behaviour, tone and ordering. Screening interview (3) A brief meeting with the company used by them to weed out unqualified and uninterested candidates. Screening interviews occur if there are a huge number of job applicants, however on the whole candidates are rarely asked to attend them. Interviewers are usually human resource professionals and the format is usually that of straight questions and answers. Tips: Confirm to the interviewer what they have already read in your CV, do not deviate from the truth. Providing facts is more important than building a rapport. Telephone interview (4) Sometimes if a candidate lives a great distance from the offices of the company then it may not be practical to attend preliminary interviews in person. In this case an interview can be conducted on the telephone. Alternatively some companies use telephone interviews as a screening process to eliminate the weaker candidates early on. A telephone interview is not to be treated as an easier option, it should be conducted in an equally professional manner as a standard interview and the same rules apply. The only difference is that your body language no longer applies. Do not let the interviewer totally lead the conversation, if it is appropriate push for a face to face meeting saying something like "I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you in person so we can both better evaluate each other. I am free either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. Which would be better for you?" How to behave: Speak in a clear voice, answer the interviewers questions precisely and try to elaborate without talking too much, exude controlled professionalism. Group interview(5) Often group interviews are used to introduce the company and describe the job to an assembled audience of candidates. As this form of interview is not one-on-one there is not so much pressure on an individual candidate, however the aim is to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. Tips: Ask questions speak to company personnel afterwards to establish a brief rapport. Committee/Panel interview Companies use this method when hiring for advanced positions or if they are just feeling nasty. During committee interviews candidates are questioned by several company personnel at once, this can be daunting but try to keep cool. Be sure to impress all of the interviewers, do not cater to just what one or two want to hear. Tips: When an interviewer addresses you with a question, respond to the person that asked that question, while being conscious of how the others will interpret what you are saying. Deliberate attempts to unnerve you Interviewers may try to test your nerve to see how you handle yourself under pressure. The interview may start out in a relaxed fashion with standard questions being posed, then the interviewer may change tack to launch into a hostile assault, for example "So you failed your A-levels, what makes you think you can handle the pace at our company?" You should be prepared for this and when it comes don't take it personally. Calmly answer each question as it comes. General preparation before any interview Carry out research into the company, know what it's products are, its size, income, reputation, image, goals, problems. How many people do they employ and what is the company philosophy? Know the company’s origins; is it a family company, where and when was it established? Study any recent press cuttings about the company, and try to slip your up to date knowledge into conversation. You may like to practice your responses to some of the more common interview questions, and prepare a list yourself of questions that you want to ask. Prepare your interview resources before the day, you will need to take a couple of copies of your CV, a reference list, and if possible some examples of work you have done in the past. Dress professionally; even if you are going for an interview at a funky Dot COM company you should still portray a smart business image. It is recommended that both men and women wear a suit and sensible shoes. Women wear a moderate amount of makeup and simple jewellery. Men should be clean-shaven with a conservative tie and ironed shirt. Types of Job Interview how to prepare 1: Structured Interview - Competencies The employer identifies the competencies (skills, abilities and experience) required for the role. They design the questions to test whether the candidate has these competencies. The questions are often phrased, "tell us about a time when." How To Handle Them Review the job description / advert. Identify the types of skills, abilities and experience required for the role. (This may need lateral thinking). Think of examples in your career where you have demonstrated these. It may help to make notes. This means you'll be well prepared for any competency-style question they ask. 2: Behavioural job interview (situational job interview) Behavioural interviews are trying to suss out how you would act in certain situations. The interviewer wants to be able to predict how you would behave in the role, if they recruited you. So they ask hypothetical questions. These might be about a time in your past, or asking you to imagine yourself in a future situation. How To Handle Them It's difficult to second-guess which questions might come up. So the best advice is to: 1. Prepare as for Structured Competency Interviews Listen to the question. Make sure you have understood it. Take a moment to think about what they're looking for. Give an honest answer, but make sure you remain positive. If possible, back up your answer with an example. 3: Telephone Interview This type of remote job interview can be a first point of employment screening. Although this may seem daunting, it's actually a good thing. It means your CV or resume impressed the recruiter enough to want to find out more. If you're called to a face-to-face interview, it means they're serious about you and not wasting your time. How To Handle Them Prepare as you would for a face-to-face interview. Dress smartly and arrange a time for the call when you're not at work and can finish the interview without interruptions. Be able to clearly explain why you think you're a suitable candidate. Pay special attention to the interviewer's tone of voice. Make sure you focus your attention on the interviewer and don't get distracted by other things in the room. 4:Panel Job Interview Sometimes employers want candidates to be seen by a number of managers or peer-workers. A panel interview simply means a candidate meets multiple interviewers at once. They may play the "Good Police Man / Bad Police Man" routine, where one of them is aggressive and another sympathetic, to see how you perform under stress. How To Handle Them Prepare as for a normal interview. Don't let the thought of multiple interviewers stress you out. Focus on the person who asked you the question, but make good eye contact with all of them. Don't be put off if one of them seems grumpy. But don't be lulled into a false sense of security if one seems very friendly. 5:Technical Job Interview This usually refers to a "hands-on" interview. For example, an engineer might be expected to do some analysis of an engineering problem; a market researcher might be asked to analyse some data; a sales person might be expected to make a mock sales call. This type of interview is designed to predict how you would perform in the role. How To Handle Them As long as you have the relevant experience, you should be fine with this type of job interview. Make sure you've fully understood the brief and keep your cool. If in doubt, ask them to clarify what they're looking for.
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