10 Plus Top Tips for Tackling Different Types of Job Interviews
As a job seeker, you will probably have a number of interviews before you get an offer. You could have a phone interview, a competency based interview, a panel interview or a second interview. It’s ok to check with recruiters about the type of interview you can expect to help you prepare.
Here are the four most common types of interviews and how to prepare:
Telephone interviews are used as the first stage in a selection process. Due to the volume of candidates some jobs attract, the telephone interview works like a filter, finding the best candidates. So the good news is that your application was good enough to get you an interview and this is the next stage.
How to shine:
- Interviewers want to hear about specific challenges or problems you faced in the workplace, the specific actions you took and the measurable results you achieved
- Don’t speak too quickly, use slang, interrupt or talk over the recruiter. Matching your speaking rate and pitch to that of the interviewer will help you to establish rapport. Don’t ’um’ and ’err’ too much! Your voice is the only sales tool you have!
- Use the interviewer’s name regularly throughout the conversation and also use the company name a few times
Be succinct. For most questions a 2-4 minute answer is a good target. Time is an issue with telephone interviews and you’re wasting your own time if you stray off the subject
- Try smiling while you are talking. Studies have shown that this has a positive effect on the person who is listening. It is also a good idea to stand during a telephone interview as this makes you sound more confident and helps project a positive and professional image
Competency Based Interview
When you are asked competency based interview questions, the interviewer is looking for specific examples of how you have handled situations or resolved problems in the past. The thinking is that if you have specific examples of what you have done for previous employers, you will be able to replicate your behaviour in a new job.
How to shine:
- Say ‘I’ a lot when describing your experience. Talk about what you did, not ‘the team’ or ‘they’. Interviewers want to know what your specific role was in achieving results
- Read the job description and look for the competencies in the person specification. Ensure you have prepared an example for each competency and responsibility
- Describe the results you achieved; e.g., money saved, process improved, customer pleased and be specific
- Keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and don’t ramble. The best way to do this is to prepare and practice your interview answers beforehand
- Be prepared to answer the negative question. If you have made a mistake, what did you learn from it?
Panel or Group: allows many individuals to interview you at once. Imagine having two, three or even more people interviewing you all at once. This is a panel interview, and it efficiently provides the employer with multiple opinions about you. Your best strategy here is to rehearse your answers and physical presentation beforehand, concentrating on concise, meaningful responses that speak to the multiple decision makers.
How to Shine:
- Find out who is on the panel and their job titles in advance. Do a profile search on them on their corporate website to try to get a sense of what exactly they do
- Greet each interviewer individually. Shake hands with each person. Repeat their names as you are introduced. It will help you to remember them!
- Focus your attention on the interviewer asking the question and glance at the other panel members to include them
- Cross reference your answer to a question with one that has been asked by a different panel member to reinforce your strengths e.g. to expand on my answer to Fiona, my experience also includes….
- Bring a list of prepared questions to the panel interview. There should be questions that you can address to members of the panel relevant to their different roles
Second Interview Questions
The second determines if you are the best candidate for the position and a good fit for the company. You may have to complete a personality test and complete an office tour where you’ll get to talk to potential co-workers. If the recruiter has any doubts about you from the initial interview they will ask for more examples of when you’ve demonstrated these skills.
How to shine:
- Take notes during the interview. It shows the interviewer you are serious about the company. You will be given a run-down on the company culture, as well as more specific information about the job responsibilities
- Try to talk to someone currently employed by the company and ask about office culture and the management style
- Pay attention during your first interview when you ask questions and prepare a plan based on the answers you get on how you would address any of the issues
- Know your facts. You may be grilled e.g. what were your targets? What was your performance against target, how did you win an award?
- Refresh your memory. Remember what you said at the first interview so you are not contradicting yourself. Do not be afraid of repeating yourself since what you said and did in the first interview has brought you this far
To really shine in an interview, talk to us about interview coaching!