Congratulations! You have been invited for an interview. The next thing you need to do is make sure you know which type of interview you will be having and prepare appropriately. Here are some of the most common types of interview, what to expect and how to prepare…
1. Traditional Unstructured
A traditional unstructured is not planned or prearranged, allowing for questions to develop during the course of the interview. This is the best method for allowing the interviewer and candidate to build a rapport and get to know each other due to its parallels with a normal conversation, so the interviewer will get a more natural and realistic sense of who you are. However it is one of the most difficult to prepare for, for the same reason!
.To excel in a traditional unstructured interview, you need to be confident and know your stuff. The questions will probably be based on your application and you may be asked to elaborate or explain certain sections of your cv. Although this type of interview may seem more casual, you must still maintain a professional demeanor.
Be careful not to provide information you would not have communicated if the interview was more structured. Read our recent article on how to prepare for the most common predictable interview questions.
A panel interview is conducted by more than one interviewer. Sometimes all members of the panel will quiz you together, or they may take it in turns to take the lead or one person may ask all the questions. The purpose of a panel interview is to get a more rounded view of each candidate and reduce bias.
You will probably find a panel interview quite exhausting because you are responding to and trying to impress more than one person, so be prepared for this. Always make eye contact with the person who asks you a question, but ensure that every member of the panel gets your equal attention. It does not always follow that the person asking the questions is the decision maker.
3. Competency Based
Competency Based Interviews (also referred to as CBI or Behaviour Interviews) are often used by recruiters working for Fortune 500 Companies. As the name indicates, this interview practice is used to assess candidate competencies – technical or behavioural – and predict future behaviour in the job role.
We recommend using the STAR Technique in Competency Based Interviews, which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. The trick is to include these fours aspects, one after the other into your answer when you describe a real situation from you past experience. In this way you will clearly communicate your level of competence to manage certain situations and your ability to produce results.
4. Video or Telephone
Video Interviews are commonly used to conduct interviews from a distance, and should be prepared for in the same way as a face to face interview. These are
becoming ever more popular, with automated interview services such as SONRU now available to recruiters. You should dress appropriately, make eye contact with the camera, check the monitor regularly to observe interviewer reactions, and remain professional if you experience delays or transmission interruptions.
Telephone Interviews are often used at the start of the interview process, to help the employer to decide who will be invited for a face to face meeting. They are particularly difficult simply because you aren’t able to pick up on or communicate facial expression or body language. However you can use this to your advantage, and have everything you need written up in front of you such as your cv, cue cards, prepared answers, etc. Obviously this only applies to telephone interviews and not video interviews!
5. Final Stage
If you are attending a Final Stage Interview, you can be fairly sure that you are top candidate for the job. However don’t assume that it’s in the bag. This will be the most gruelling and intense part of the process because the interviewer will be looking to eliminate any concerns they have about you. The interview will most likely be strategic and subjective, and you may be purposefully made to feel uncomfortable or pressured. This is normal, so keep calm and stick to your guns.
The best way to prepare for a final stage interview is to go over everything that has happened up to now. Predict what questions you will be asked and practice your answers. Where are the gaps in your knowledge or experience for this role? Be prepared to address these openly without being defensive about them. Why are you the best candidate for this position? Think about this honestly and remember to drive this message home. Finally, you will be expected to ask questions at this stage so make sure you have some prepared so that you aren’t caught off guard!