5 Interview Types You Must Know as a Candidate

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…

Panel Interview FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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.

2. Panel

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!

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Top 5 Annoying Candidate Behaviours During a Job Interview

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Having spent the best part of my career in the world of HR and Recruitment, with thousands of hours spent interviewing candidates, I have experienced a number of faux pas from the candidate’s side and this week’s blog is dedicated to helping you avoid the same mistakes.

Only the top 5-10 CV’s make an interview shortlist, and in many cases this can be as little as 5% of the applications a job vacancy receives. If you receive an interview invitation, you have already achieved a great deal to get to this stage of the recruitment process. The majority of job seekers place far more emphasis on designing their CV than they do on their interview skills and preparation.

This is a dangerous tactic as the CV only helps you get as far as the interview – it will not get you hired. The way you present yourself, how you articulate the value you create for the company and the position, as well as how you differentiate from the other candidates will play a big part in you becoming the recommended person for the job.

I took some time last week to speak with my professional network of fellow recruiters to understand what their top candidate peeves or annoyances are, especially at interview stage. Their top 5 responses have been summarised below in no particular order.

1. Not Prepared

This was a unanimous annoyance amongst all the recruiters I spoke with. Many candidates do not understand the level of preparation required for an interview and often try to improvise – big mistake!

Catherine, a recruiter in the green energy sector stated: “I like to ask ‘so what do you know about the company’ because it shows they have taken an interest in who’s interviewing them. When they know nothing or very little, it doesn’t leave a good impression.”

This is one of the most important questions to demonstrate your motivation and interest and also link your skills and personality to the job.

In order to be prepared:

  • read the company website

  • research the industry or sector the company belongs to

  • read the job description

  • look up the interview location, how to get there, where to park and how much time to allow

  • prepare some relevant questions to ask

  • organise what you will wear and allow time to get ready

Many of my clients seem surprised when I recommend that the minimum amount of time spent on interview

preparation should be 3 hours. The next step in your career is at stake and the more you invest in preparing, the better chance of success.

Also check sites such as glassdoor.com or speak to your network to find out what type of interview to prepare for, what the company culture is like and what is important to “know” for the interview.

Make sure your questions are relevant to the job and the industry, and make sure you have at least one question prepared – many recruiters translate no questions to mean not interested or motivated on the candidates part.

2. Too Familiar or Overconfident

Confidence is important but too much of this can create barriers and biases with the interviewer. Behaviours that may demonstrate this includes name dropping, winking, talking over the interviewer, and general arrogance.

Alex Bethanis who works as a recruitment consultant says: “A great example is when a candidate asks “have I got the job?” during the interview. This is so annoying, as it assumes they are the best.”

Some candidates believe that the more confident they are the more chance they have to impress the interviewer. Even with the most structured of selection processes, there is much bias which creeps into the recruiters and interviewers perception of you, so be careful not be overconfident (unless you really think the job or company culture demands it) as this might lead the interviewer to misjudge you.

3. Not Listening To The Question

Many candidates seem to believe that job interview protocol demands them to sit in one place for anything between 30-60 minutes and respond to a barrage of questions. They are not prepared to help themselves make the most from the situation and seem surprised when I suggest that they should or could take notes and think about their response before they start to answer a question. The next two annoyances are very much related, but let’s tackle the listening part first.

Write down the question. The process of noting down the question demonstrates to the interviewer that you are listening and it helps you consider what information to share. Spend a few seconds to list what you want to include in your answer and to make sure you do not forget any important details. The silence provides a much needed break on the interviewer’s side, helping them to think of their next question or catch up on their notes.

Clarify what is being asked for. Many times, untrained interviewers will ask multiple questions at the same time, which leaves candidates confused on what the question actually is. If you’re not sure what the interviewer is seeking to understand, take the chance to paraphrase what you have heard the question to be, giving you a better chance to tailor your response and get to the point.

4. Not Being Concise

This naturally follows on from the last annoying behaviour and is as important to prevent. You need to anticipate what the interview questions might be as part of the preparation work mentioned earlier. Last week’s article provides an overview of the predictable questions to expect and how to respond to these effectively.

Some candidates have the tendency to either think out loud whilst they answer, which can lead to long winded answers. Others seem to be anxious about missing out details and therefore go into detail overdrive. A good rule of thumb is to keep your initial answer brief and concise, no more than 2 minutes long. Research shows that this is the normal cut off point for the interviewer to stop listening or get distracted by something else and if the interviewer needs further details they will seek it with probing questions.

5. Turning Up Late

An obvious one but it still seems to happen far too often. This is part of the preparation work that you need to do upfront. Be sure to check the address, route and transport options to the venue or office. Always add a buffer to your estimate to allow for traffic or delays. It’s far better to arrive early than run into an interview feeling flushed and hot.

Early arrival will provide you with an opportunity to review your notes and questions, read some company literature in the reception or enjoy a drink before you are called for the interview.

In summary the interview is an opportunity to prove your value to a future employer but also a chance for you to make sure the employer is the right fit for your next career move. Use this opportunity to show your enthusiasm and motivation as well as your curiosity and interest in understanding more about the company and job. Interviews should be a two-way exchange for mutual benefit and gain. Going into your next job with both eyes and ears open will help you manage your own expectations and what an employer will require from you.

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