Job interviews are the most common way employers choose to evaluate candidates for a certain position, but what many people don’t know, is that there are many different types of interviews.
When searching for jobs and preparing for the application process, it is crucial to understand the most popular types.
Types of interviews
The telephone interview is usually the first step in the application process, it allows the employer to question the candidate on their past employment, experiences, and salary expectations. This is an efficient option for interviews since it helps filter candidates quickly.
They can also be more common for freelancers and people who work from home, in that case, the phone interview might substitute the physical meeting entirely. Many people prefer this structure as it allows both parties to be more relaxed in the process, but it is important to practice for them regardless.
Face to Face Interview
A face to face interview is the most common and feared type of job interviews, and usually comes as the final process in hiring, following the phone interview. This step might involve a presentation from the applicant and the questions might not be scripted, all of that depends on the employer’s request.
Many candidates find them difficult since they are intimidating and body language is also an important factor, but the best way to decrease anxiety about them is to just practice and learn as much as possible about the company.
A panel interview is conducted by more than one employer, they can be the Hiring Manager, CEO, MD, or a Line Manager, and usually, each of them will ask at least one question. These interviews can be particularly intimidating, being in a room with many important people in the company is a hard task, but it does not have to be that way.
One of the most important tips to decrease your nervousness is to do research about the interviewers before the day. You can visit their social media and Linkedin to find all you can about them, that way you see them as normal people and not an intimidating figure.
A group interview is when one employer or a panel of employers interview many candidates at once. This type of interview is more common when a company is looking to hire a team instead of just one person, usually in retail, hospitality, and food services.
In this case, it is best to not look at the other candidates as competition, considering the employers are looking for a group that can work well together. If they see that you are competing and that you have bad chemistry, they might not like it. Practice how to promote yourself without comparing yourself to others and putting their qualities down.
A sequential or serial interview is when one candidate will go through multiple separate interviews, it can take place on the same day or a few days. Though this type of interview is very tiring, it can also make you accustomed to the process and therefore more comfortable.
It is important to keep the high energy and the consistency of answers for each employer, they are usually representatives of different departments in the same company, so each one of them has to approve of you before the hire.
A competency-based interview is more suitable for experienced candidates and employers who are looking for a more influential person. In this type of interview, the employer makes questions about your previous experiences, usually along the lines of “describe a situation in which you were a great… (leader/manager/professional in x area)”.
The Second Interview
The second interview happens when you are selected for the final step in the interview process. It takes place after a successful first interview, and you will be examined along with other applicants.
This final interview will probably be conducted by a higher level employer, or with the hiring manager and others. In this case, the discussion will be more in-depth and the questions might not be scripted.
Common Interview Questions
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- Why are you applying for this position?
- What makes you unique?
- What interests you about this job?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Tell me about yourself
- Tell me about the time you made a mistake
Practicing interview questions is always beneficial, however, candidates have to be careful to not fall into cliches that happen when you don’t answer honestly. Saying that “perfectionism” is your biggest weakness, is not an honest answer and the employer will perceive you as insecure and maybe, deceitful.
The recommendation is usually to not copy answers from anyone else but always answer with the employer’s interest in mind. Make sure you mention weaknesses that you actually have, but don’t mention the ones that might interfere with the job. “Procrastination” and “Laziness”, for example, are usually not the answer your employer is expecting from you.
When talking about something negative, make sure to include what you learned from it, and how you have used the situation to grow. Also mention how you want to grow inside of the company since that is likely what the interviewer is looking for.
Finally, before going into the interview, you should try to learn as much as possible about the institution, its values, principles, and objectives. Each business is different in that regard, and your answers should align with those factors.
Questions to Ask the Interviewer
A job interview is not supposed to be an interrogation, it is a conversation between employers and candidates. Beyond that, when an applicant is more participative, the interviewer often sees that as genuine interest and excitement for the job and position.
Important questions to ask the interviewer are:
- What do the day-to-day responsibilities of this role look like?
- What are the standards and expectations of this role?
- What is the company planning on doing in the future?
- Who will I be working with?
Among many others. The applicant should be careful not to ask something that has already been explained, this might look like a lack of interest in the job.