Review the interview types to help you prepare for your upcoming interviews.
The standard interview format is going to be familiar to most people who've been interviewed before. This is typically a one-on-one meeting between an interviewer and the candidate. The interviewer could be a recruiter, the hiring manager, a team leader, or the employer. The interview itself is typically conducted on the organization’s premises at a pre-arranged time. A conference room or similar area is usually set aside for this. The best way to prepare for a standard interview is to inform yourself about the job and employer and practice common interview questions.
Online video interview
If you're applying for a job that's remote or some restrictions prevent you from attending an in-person meeting, your potential employer might organize a video interview online, usually with a videoconferencing application. You're typically going to be in your own home when this interview takes place. Your interviewer might either be in their own home or on the company's premises. Some companies work almost entirely remotely, so videoconferencing software can be a commonplace feature. It's best to prepare for this interview as you would for a standard one. Additionally, it's important to ensure that you have no disruptions at home during the video call. You can also ensure that the lighting, camera quality, and microphone are good enough for you to be seen and heard. If you expect a lot of video interviews, it might be a good idea to invest in a decent webcam and microphone. These are also going to be useful if the work itself is remote, as you can use them to communicate with colleagues.
Hiring managers and recruiters often use phone interviews to screen their initial candidates. These sorts of interviews may be briefer than a standard interview. The interviewer typically agrees on a time for the phone call with you beforehand. They can then ask you to introduce yourself, explain briefly what makes you a qualified candidate, and give you some additional details about the role. They might also give you some feedback at the end of the call. After a successful phone interview, you might then be invited for a standard interview. Phone interviews can also be an alternative to online video calls if the position is fully remote. Make sure you understand what the purpose of the call is and prepare accordingly. If it's just a screening interview, ensure that you've reviewed the role and the information in the documents with which you applied.
Job fair interview
If you attend a job fair, you're going to meet lots of representatives from different companies. When speaking to them, it can be useful to think of this as a series of brief, somewhat informal job interviews. These representatives are there to scout for talent, and the job fair can be a screening process for companies looking to hire. If you're going to attend a job fair, print out several copies of your CV so that you can provide them to the various companies in which you're interested. Even though the atmosphere can be quite informal, it's important to treat your conversations with company representatives like standard interviews. This is also an opportunity to learn more about their company and expectations, so ask questions. You can ask them for their business cards once you've finished and then send a follow-up email after you've left.
Employers often use structured interviews because it can make it easier to compare many different candidates. This is because a structured interview typically involves asking every candidate the same questions, like setting a standardized test. Employers can compare how candidates responded to the same questions, which can make it easier to make a hiring decision. The questions you can expect are typically going to be a mix of common interview questions and those that are specific to the role. Prepare for this by researching frequently asked interview questions and looking into the company and position.
As opposed to a structured interview, an unstructured one allows the interviewer to adapt and change their questions and responses based on whom they're interviewing. Remember that they may still start with some standard or common questions, and then allow the conversation to progress more naturally. These interviews can also be more informal and casual. It's important to relax and be honest during unstructured interviews and make sure you're well informed about the needs of the role and the company itself. Even if it's more casual, this is still a proper interview and preparation is key.
Also known as a second interview, this is when you've already completed and passed an initial interview. This could have been a screening interview, such as over the phone, or simply the first interview in a series. This can allow employers to get input from more than one person regarding a candidate. For instance, a recruiter might initially interview you. If you pass, you might then be interviewed by your potential future manager or team lead. You're generally going to be told how many interviews to expect during the selection process. Preparation is going to differ based on who's interviewing you. If you're going to be interviewed by a recruiter, you're more likely to get general questions about yourself, your experiences, and your skills. Once you proceed to an interview with a team lead or manager, the questions may become more role-specific, so prepare for these accordingly.
This might also be called a case interview, and it's designed to assess how capable you are of handling certain tasks that relate to the role. This can involve answering in-depth questions regarding certain processes or skills, and you may even be asked to demonstrate certain competencies. This is going to be dictated by the skills you list on your CV, in addition to those listed in the job advertisement, so make sure you've reviewed these thoroughly. You may be asked to analyze and offer a solution to a problem or business situation. These are usually based on real-life events that have occurred before, often at the company itself. This can be quite common for positions relating to finance, customer service, or consulting. To prepare for this, do as much research as you can on the company's history. It can also be helpful to arrange a mock interview with a friend to practice.
Whereas a standard interview is typically a one-on-one meeting with a recruiter or hiring manager, a panel interview involves several people interviewing you simultaneously. This can save the company time, as it allows them to get input from several people in one meeting. It's also important if the role you're applying for impacts many departments in the organization. These meetings typically follow a defined structure, where every person on the panel has an opportunity to question you. Panel interviews can be conducted in person or online with video software. The best way to practice for a panel interview is to familiarize yourself with the various aspects and responsibilities of the role for which you're applying. It's also important to remain calm and relaxed, as a panel of interviewers can be intimidating if you're not used to it. Ensure that you understand what's expected of you and that you've reviewed the skills and qualifications on your CV and cover letter.
A mock interview is a session where you can practice with a friend or family member. Many people ask those whom they trust if they can practice their interviewing skills before a formal interview with a company. This can be particularly useful if you know someone who works in recruitment or HR, as they can offer you valuable insights about the recruitment process and methods to succeed in interviews.