Types of Interviewsby ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
All job interviews have the same objective, but employers reach that objective in a variety of ways. You might enter the room expecting to tell stories about your professional successes and instead find yourself selling the interviewer a bridge or editing code at a computer. One strategy for performing your best during an interview is to know the rules of the particular game you are playing when you walk through the door.
Companies use screening tools to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification requirements. Computer programs are among the tools used to weed out unqualified candidates. (This is why you need a digital resume that is screening-friendly. See our resume center for help.) Sometimes human professionals are the gatekeepers. Screening interviewers often have honed skills to determine whether there is anything that might disqualify you for the position. Remember-they do not need to know whether you are the best fit for the position, only whether you are not a match. For this reason, screeners tend to dig for dirt. Screeners will hone in on gaps in your employment history or pieces of information that look inconsistent. They also will want to know from the outset whether you will be too expensive for the company.
Some tips for maintaining confidence during screening interviews:
On the opposite end of the stress spectrum from
screening interviews is the informational interview. A meeting that
you initiate, the informational interview is underutilized by job-seekers
who might otherwise consider themselves savvy to the merits of networking.
Job seekers ostensibly secure informational meetings in order to
seek the advice of someone in their current or desired field as
well as to gain further references to people who can lend insight.
Employers that like to stay apprised of available talent even when
they do not have current job openings, are often open to informational
interviews, especially if they like to share their knowledge, feel
flattered by your interest, or esteem the mutual friend that connected
you to them. During an informational interview, the jobseeker and
employer exchange information and get to know one another better
without reference to a specific job opening.
In this style of interview, the interviewer has
a clear agenda that he or she follows unflinchingly. Sometimes companies
use this rigid format to ensure parity between interviews; when
interviewers ask each candidate the same series of questions, they
can more readily compare the results. Directive interviewers rely
upon their own questions and methods to tease from you what they
wish to know. You might feel like you are being steam-rolled, or
you might find the conversation develops naturally. Their style
does not necessarily mean that they have dominance issues, although
you should keep an eye open for these if the interviewer would be
This interview type, usually used by inexperienced
interviewers, relies on you to lead the discussion. It might begin
with a statement like "tell me about yourself," which you can use
to your advantage. The interviewer might ask you another broad,
open-ended question before falling into silence. This interview
style allows you tactfully to guide the discussion in a way that
best serves you.
Astounding as this is, the Greek hazing system has made its way into professional interviews. Either employers view the stress interview as a legitimate way of determining candidates' aptness for a position or someone has latent maniacal tendencies. You might be held in the waiting room for an hour before the interviewer greets you. You might face long silences or cold stares. The interviewer might openly challenge your believes or judgment. You might be called upon to perform an impossible task on the fly-like convincing the interviewer to exchange shoes with you. Insults and miscommunication are common. All this is designed to see whether you have the mettle to withstand the company culture, the clients or other potential stress.
Besides wearing a strong anti-perspirant, you will do well to:
Many companies increasingly rely on behavior interviews since they use your previous behavior to indicate your future performance. In these interviews, employers use standardized methods to mine information relevant to your competency in a particular area or position. Depending upon the responsibilities of the job and the working environment, you might be asked to describe a time that required problem-solving skills, adaptability, leadership, conflict resolution, multi-tasking, initiative or stress management. You will be asked how you dealt with the situations.
Your responses require not only reflection, but also organization. To maximize your responses in the behavioral format:
For some positions, such as computer programmers or trainers, companies want to see you in action before they make their decision. For this reason, they might take you through a simulation or brief exercise in order to evaluate your skills. An audition can be enormously useful to you as well, since it allows you to demonstrate your abilities in interactive ways that are likely familiar to you. The simulations and exercises should also give you a simplified sense of what the job would be like. If you sense that other candidates have an edge on you in terms of experience or other qualifications, requesting an audition can help level the playing field.
To maximize on auditions, remember to:
Interviewing simultaneously with other candidates
can be disconcerting, but it provides the company with a sense of
your leadership potential and style. The group interview helps the
company get a glimpse of how you interact with peers-are you timid
or bossy, are you attentive or do you seek attention, do others
turn to you instinctively, or do you compete for authority? The
interviewer also wants to view what your tools of persuasion are:
do you use argumentation and careful reasoning to gain support or
do you divide and conquer? The interviewer might call on you to
discuss an issue with the other candidates, solve a problem collectively,
or discuss your peculiar qualifications in front of the other candidates.
Expecting to meet with Ms. Glenn, you might find
yourself in a room with four other people: Ms. Glenn, two of her
staff, and the Sales Director. Companies often want to gain the
insights of various people when interviewing candidates. This method
of interviewing is often attractive for companies that rely heavily
on team cooperation. Not only does the company want to know whether
your skills balance that of the company, but also whether you can
get along with the other workers. In some companies, multiple people
will interview you simultaneously. In other companies, you will
proceed through a series of one-on-one interviews.
For many, interviewing over a meal sounds like a professional and digestive catastrophe in the making. If you have difficulty chewing gum while walking, this could be a challenge. With some preparation and psychological readjustment, you can enjoy the process. Meals often have a cementing social effect-breaking bread together tends to facilitate deals, marriages, friendships, and religious communion. Mealtime interviews rely on this logic, and expand it.
Particularly when your job requires interpersonal acuity, companies want to know what you are like in a social setting. Are you relaxed and charming or awkward and evasive? Companies want to observe not only how you handle a fork, but also how you treat your host, any other guests, and the serving staff.
Some basic social tips help ease the complexity of mixing food with business:
Companies bring candidates back for second and sometimes third or fourth interviews for a number of reasons. Sometimes they just want to confirm that you are the amazing worker they first thought you to be. Sometimes they are having difficulty deciding between a short-list of candidates. Other times, the interviewer's supervisor or other decision makers in the company want to gain a sense of you before signing a hiring decision.
The second interview could go in a variety of directions, and you must prepare for each of them. When meeting with the same person again, you do not need to be as assertive in your communication of your skills. You can focus on cementing rapport, understanding where the company is going and how your skills mesh with the company vision and culture. Still, the interviewer should view you as the answer to their needs. You might find yourself negotiating a compensation package. Alternatively, you might find that you are starting from the beginning with a new person.
Some tips for managing second interviews: