Lesson 2: Types of Interview

Some jobs will involve one interview, others may have two or three in a series as candidates are screened out. Recruiters may invite you to an assessment centre for a series of selection tests and activities.

Remember that the first 30 seconds of a job interview are the most important –

‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’

Try to find out what the company’s process is. Is this the first of several stages? Is this a group interview to select a short list, or a one to one meeting?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”
Wayne Gretzky

The factors that will subconsciously affect the interviewer are;-

  • Your appearance and personal habits
  • Nervous mannerisms
  • Self confidence, or lack of it
  • Your consideration and politeness towards other people
  • Your values

There are many types of interview and stages in the selection process. They will vary according to the size of the organisation, the recruitment budget, the seniority of the role.

Try to find out what the company’s process is. Is this the first of several stages? Is this a group interview to select a short list, or a one to one meeting?

What format will the interview take? Who will interview you-the line manager, or a representative from HR?

Let’s look at some of the more usual formats;-

Online tests are sometimes used to help develop a shortlist.

  • Some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of online tests are;-
  • Read the question carefully and in depth
  • Check your spellings, and your grammar
  • Concentrate; don’t let nerves make you lose your concentration

Be honest – if you answer honestly and you don’t get the job, then the company or position wasn’t right for you. There is nothing worse than getting a job for the wrong reasons, so be yourself

Or there may be a telephone interview , usually by appointment. Remember to

  • Stand up, smile, and be in the groove!
  • And prepare for this as you would any other interview.

One to one interview –The first stage is often carried out by the Human Resources or Personnel Department.

If you get to the second stage the interview is usually carried out by a line or departmental manager. It will be more detailed and may include some skill based tasks or exercises.

A Panel interview is is often used for senior roles or Public service roles.

Lunch or Dinner interviews are often used where the role will involve some hospitality with clients, such as Buying, Selling or account management roles.

Sometimes companies use a Group interview .This may involve a day at an assessment centre to select a short list of candidates

The day may include

  • icebreakers
  • team building exercises
  • or practical skill or job related exercises

These may be done in teams, or individually.

For this type of interview, you may find there is a group of facilitators helping to organise tasks. Be aware that, without the knowledge of the candidates, each of the facilitators may well be pre-allocated a couple of people to observe and report on at the end of the day , when there will be a de-briefing for the staff involved .

At the de-briefing the facilitators may be involved in scoring candidates, not just for performance in exercises or tasks, but for their behaviour-

  • are they a leader ?
  • or a team player?
  • Are they able to persuade others that their view is worthy of consideration?
  • Are they apparently unable to take instructions?
  • Or argumentative….?

So be aware that you are probably being watched and judged every second of the day, even at lunchtime.

Competency or behavioural based interviews 

Many companies use this powerful technique now. Whilst preparing the job description the company has identified what skills are needed for the role, and the interviewer will ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills.

This is easy to prepare for especially if you have the job description. Even if this type of interviewing is not used, this is very good preparation for any interview.

Behavioral interview questions will be more focused than traditional interview questions and the candidate needs to respond with related examples of how they handled situations in the workplace.

Most job adverts will list qualities they’re looking for – a team worker, a good communicator – so prepare examples of how you can demonstrate these skills.

Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills.

Review examples of the questions you may be asked during a behavioral job interview and think about how you would answer them.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
Zig Ziglar

You need to have relevant and engaging stories for the interviewer that demonstrate that what you put down on paper can be backed up by actual anecdotes about your life. These should be completely at your fingertips, so that you can pull them out of the bag as needed during the interview.

Competency or behavioural based interviews are an incredibly powerful tool for the interviewer because it immediately gives them an insight into your past behaviour, and therefore your likely future behaviour.

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