The modern-day job interview has come a long way since its inception in the early 1920s when Thomas Edison designed a simple written test to evaluate a candidate's current knowledge. As the employment landscape continues to evolve with innovations in technology, job seekers must also keep up with the changing times. It is more important than ever to educate and prepare yourself for the diverse types of job interview techniques and styles companies use in order to assess potential employees.
In your pursuit of a new job or career change, your resume may help you get you to the next phase of the hiring process. However, your ability to handle potentially challenging interviews can ultimately land you the job. Employers want to know more about you than just your education and background. By using different strategies and asking specific types of interview questions, they can gain further insights when it comes to;
- How you perform under stress,
- How you approach problem solving,
- Your ability to communicate,
- Whether your personality type aligns with their company culture.
Although there are numerous types of interviews, this article focuses on the most common ones that you can expect to encounter.
Screening interviews are used to determine whether you are a qualified and suitable applicant before you progress to the proper interview. Prepare to answer questions about your education, experience, skills and initial motivation for applying to the job. Companies will use a screening interview as a quick, low-cost alternative to conducting a first-round interview. This typically takes place over the phone and you are likely to be interviewed by a recruiter or a human resource manager. Companies across all different industries use these types of job interviews and they are most often used in the finance, technology, healthcare and education sectors.
Tips for success;
- Prepare well in advance - Research the company, the job requirements and remember to have your resume and a notepad in front of you. Listen actively, ask questions and take notes so you can use that information in your follow-up interview.
- Pick a suitable location - Choose a quiet place with minimal background noise where you will be comfortable and free of all distractions. This will help you stay focused.
- Speak confidently and enthusiastically - Let your voice set the tone for the call. Do your best to convey professionalism and interest in the role as your interviewer will be listening for this.
With the onset of new technology and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams, employers have changed how they connect with potential candidates. Virtual interviews have become a standard element of the application process for many companies. While some may request a phone interview, you will most likely participate in a live video interview that is essentially an in-person interview conducted from a remote location. Companies across all industries now use virtual interviews to save time and money while making the hiring process more manageable.
Tips for success;
- Verify your internet connection - Whether you are waiting for a phone call or logging on to a video platform for your virtual interview, make sure everything is working as it should. Check your internet speed, webcam and audio quality in addition to making sure your phone is fully charged if a backup is needed.
- Choose the right location - Find an environment, preferably at home where it is quiet and well-lit with a clutter-free backdrop so the interviewer can focus on your responses without distractions.
- Be professional - Treat your interview in the same manner as an in-person conversation. Dress appropriately, maintain good eye contact and use positive body language.
This method uses specific types of job interview questions in order to assess how you behave and handle situations within the workplace environment. A behavioral interview is designed to examine your past performance and success at work. This is also a good indicator of how you will behave in the future.
While there are not necessarily right or wrong answers, you will need to talk about your past accomplishments, challenges and experiences using real-life examples so preparation beforehand is essential. This style of interviewing is used across various industries, although corporate companies in the technology, finance and healthcare sectors typically use this method to assess if you will fit into their culture.
Tips for success;
- Prepare real-life success stories – Behavioral questions tend to focus on themes such as leadership, teamwork, conflict and problem-solving. Take your cues from the job description and choose a few real-life examples that would be appropriate within each of these themes and write them down beforehand.
- Use the STAR method to respond – Your stories and examples should include the situation you were in, the task you had to carry out, the specific actions you took and the results you achieved. Using this method will allow you to show your detailed thought process to the interviewer.
This type of interview (also called a board or committee interview) is typically conducted by two or more hiring team members. The panel could include an HR manager, a supervisor and other decision-makers. The purpose of these types of job interview formats is to learn about your communication style, ability to build rapport and how you perform under pressure.
While it may seem nerve-wracking, a panel interview is beneficial to all involved as it improves the efficiency of the hiring process and enables the panelists to make more informed and collaborative decisions. It can also give you a sneak peek into what the company culture and structure looks like.
This interview method is typically used in academic institutions and government organizations or for senior-level executive positions in finance, technology and healthcare.
Tips for success;
- Research the Panelists – Ask the recruiter to provide you with the names and job titles of those you will be meeting. Learn about them through the company website and their LinkedIn profile. This can help you craft useful talking points during the interview.
- Prepare thoughtful questions to ask – This will show your enthusiasm and motivation for the job. Make sure to direct each question to a specific panelist and remember to engage with every person in the interview while making appropriate eye contact.
- Practice your communication skills – It is essential to practice dealing with a group dynamic. Think of the interview as a business meeting. Make eye contact with everyone, display confidence while remaining calm and composed.
The idea behind this type of job interview is to evaluate how you can analyze and solve a challenging business situation. During the interview, you will typically get a case study and a set of instructions to review. Then you will have to ask questions and formulate a logical argument for your solution to the problem. You could also be given a puzzle or brain teaser in order to assess your analytical, logical reasoning and creative problem-solving skills.
While management consulting companies have used case interviews for decades, it is now commonly used in the technology, finance, medical and engineering sectors as well.
Tips for success;
- Practice the case-study process – This is extremely important as you don't want to show up to the interview unprepared. You can find plenty of free sample cases online from within your industry. You can even do a mock interview with a friend or family member first.
- Ask clarifying questions – You should feel comfortable asking your interviewer precise questions to obtain additional information. It is essential to extract as much data as possible so you can arrive at an intelligent solution.
- Be prepared to take notes – Bring a notepad so you can write down your thoughts and questions after you receive the case.