Interview Types and Strategies
This type of interview is generally conducted by larger companies, when there is a large applicant pool, and is typically the first phase of selection. They want to assess whether or not candidates meet minimum requirements, and are often conducted by a computer or by an interviewer from the company's Human Resources department.
- Highlight your qualifications and accomplishments using non-technical language - the HR professional is not necessarily an expert in your field.
- Answer questions clearly and succinctly - personality is not as important at this stage of the process.
- If asked about salary expectations, use a range – make sure you’ve done your homework in this area.
- If conducted by phone, have your resume beside you to refer to dates and names.
The most common interview format is one-on-one (or face-to-face). This interview is traditionally conducted by a direct supervisor and is often the last step in a series of interviews. The interviewer may or may not be experienced in conducting interviews, and depending on personality and experience, the interview may be directive, following a clear agenda, or non-directive, relying on you to lead the discussion as you answer open-ended questions.
A panel interview is conducted by two or more interviewers and is designed to reduce individual interviewer bias. It is very commonly used for entrance into graduate and professional schools. One member of the panel may ask all of the questions or individual panel member may take turns.
- You will likely be asked a variety of interview questions, so be familiar with all the different types of questions, so that you can adjust your answers appropriately.
- It is important to be thoroughly prepared – know the job and know yourself.
- Make eye contact with the person asking the questions, but also ensure you give every member on the panel your attention, regardless of whether they ask any questions – treat them all with equal importance and respect.
- Be prepared to extend more energy in this setting, as you need to be alert and responsive to more people.
Telephone and video interviews are often used to screen candidates, in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They can be challenging because you aren’t always able to rely on nonverbal cues or body language. You should prepare for this type of interview in many of the same ways you would for an in-person one.
- Silence your phone and computer notifications.
- Test the technology (including the camera angle, audio, and video).
- Dress professionally from head-to-toe.
- Make eye contact with the camera and consider covering your own image with a post-it note for less distraction.
- Interview in a quiet environment.
- Relax, smile, and show enthusiasm.
- Have your resume, organization information, points you want to highlight, and a list of questions you may want to ask in front of you.
- Ensure you are in a quiet setting to eliminate any potential distractions.
- Speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and vary your voice tone, tempo, and pitch to keep the interviewer's attention.
- Restate the question if you have not fully heard or understood it.
- If possible, use a landline phone.
- Smile – even on the phone it will project a positive image.
A group interview is when several candidates for a position are invited to be interviewed simultaneously. Group interviews offer employers a sense of your leadership potential and style and provide a glimpse of your fit as an employee. Candidates may also be asked to solve a problem together, which allows interviewers to assess candidate’s skills in action (e.g. teamwork).
- Be aware of the dynamics established by the interviewer; try to discover the “rules of the game”.
- Regardless of how you may feel about any member of the group, treat everyone with respect and avoid power struggles that make you appear uncooperative.
- Give everyone a chance to speak and don't monopolize the conversation.
- Be aware that all interactions are being observed; don’t let down your guard or lose perspective.