Six Types Of Job Interview’s And What They’re Really Looking For
In this section, we’re looking at the different types of job interviews that you could face during the interview process and what each interviewer is looking to get out of that interview.
During any hiring process, it’s likely you’ll have more than one interview as you meet different people throughout the business. Some companies will take this to the extreme and have upwards of 10 interviews across a few weeks, however it’s normal to have interviews with HR, the team manager and the business head.
The interview process typically starts with an internal or external recruiter before moving onto either group interviews where you’ll meet multiple people within the company during one interview or a one-on-one interview with a team member. The final interview is typically with the business head (hiring manager) where the final decision whether to hire you is being made.
Along the interview route, it’s not uncommon for companies to throw in a selection of different types of interviews such as competency interviews or even a social interview.
When you start interviewing at a company, it’s important that you find out what type of interview you’ll be having. This way you can properly prepare for the job interview and tailor your answers to what each interviewer is actually looking for.
Recruiter Interviews / Phone Interviews
Recruiter or Phone interviews are typically going to be the first contact that you’ll have with a company and can often be a phone call out of the blue. Companies use recruiter or phone interviews to narrow down a long list of potential candidates into a shortlist, which they can interview face-to-face. It’s important that this phone call goes well otherwise it’s likely that it the last conversation, you’re going to have with that company.
There is likely to be very little small chat with the focus on direct questions about your experience where the interviewer is trying to understand if you fit into the team and have the right experience, knowledge, qualifications and salary expectations for the role. I have written more here about how to pass a telephone interview here, however with any direct questioning, you need to give direct answers in a clear professional manner.
Often the your salary requirements will come into conversation, however I would recommend that you only share your salary history and don’t lock yourself into an expected salary as you never know what the package and/or opportunity includes. If the interviewer doesn’t bring up salary, I would highly recommend that you don’t bring it up at this part of the interview process.
Video Interviews / Skype Interviews
Generally this is not really an interview in itself, but forms part of an interview. Video interviews (Skype interviews) are becoming more common as they allow hiring managers to see what candidates look like and how they interact during their interview. They are also used when candidates are in a different city or country.
What’s important is that you treat a video interview the same way as you treat any other interview. Over the years I have met with many hiring managers who’ve turned down a candidate simply because they were at home wearing shorts and t-shirts for their job interview.
One-On-One Interviews With A Team Member
This is usually the second step of the hiring process and often the most difficult interview that you will face. Team member interviews are typically conducted by a senior member of the team who wants to know three things. Firstly can you add value to the team, are you going to fight for their job and will fit into the current team structure and development.
If you want to be successful, you need to start by building rapport with the interviewer. Make sure that you spend the first ten minutes talking in a friendly manner about subjects outside your day job. This will show that you have the right personality to fit into their team.
Once the interview start’s, it’s likely the interviewer will want to run through your experience in detail, discuss your experience and where you knowledge really is and most importantly, make sure that you have the right knowledge to be successful in the job. If you need help answering job interview question, we have completed a massive section on this here, however if you want one piece of advice — make sure that you answer the question that is being asked, using examples, whilst staying on track.
Hiring Manager Interviews
An interview with the hiring manager or CEO will likely be the final interview in a hiring process. If you get to this stage, you’ve already got the job and it’s for you to loose, not for you to be selected.
Hiring managers are busy people and do not have time to interview a selection of candidates. They will likely only interview the final/chosen candidate for the role.
If you want to be successful you need to focus on rapport and asking questions. It’s highly unlikely that a hiring manager interview will be technical interview where they’re testing your knowledge. Usually, a hiring manager interview will involve a quick run through your CV and a lot of general conversation about you and your motivations in life, where the hiring manager is really trying to get to know as a person. Typically hiring manager interviews will finish with you getting an opportunity to ask questions.
Firstly make sure that you ask questions as this shows that you’re interested in the role. If you need help, we have written a few questions to ask at the end of your interview here. Secondly, make sure that you’re professional but friendly in an open manner were you can quickly build a business relationship.
Panel interview’s are very different from a one-on-one interview’s and will require you to have a new set of new skills. Generally panel interviews will take place towards the end of an interview process when a company wants the opinion of more than one person to reduce the chances of a bad hiring.
Panel interviews are very common for senior management roles where two or more people with interview you. This type of interview will almost always be a question an answer session where the panel will ask you questions on a range of different subjects based on the panel’s knowledge.
Career Fair Interview
Career fair interviews are very common for graduates that have just left University and looking for their first job. Within the fair, there’s likely to be hundred’s of potential hiring managers looking for their next recruits.
It’s important that rather than just dropping your CV on their desk, you try and meet as many recruiters and potential hiring managers as possible. Remember, even if speak with a hiring manager for 30 minutes, they will not remember you in a weeks time after they have met with a hundred other potential candidates. They also don’t just hand out their business card to any random person. If you can impress enough to get a business card, you can be sure you’ve passed the first step to getting in the front door. Even if you don’t get the business card, make a note of the recruiters name and send them an email the following week. Once you have their name and company, working out their email address is simply process.
This is type of question has been designed to take you out of your comfort zone and away from the general pre-prepared answers. If you read and learn my Top 500 Job Interview Questions, it’s likely that you will have a pre-prepared answer to every job interview question that’s likely to be thrown at you. This line of questioning cannot be prepared for. Questions could be anything from “what’s your favorite colour and why” to “How many window’s are in this building”.
Remember there is no right or wrong answer. The interviewer could not care less what your favorite colour is, nor know how many windows are in the building. What they’re looking for is to see how you think on your feet and get to a logical answer.
Behavioral Interview/ Competency Based Interview
Typically this type of interview will take place early on during the hiring process and is used to understand how you react to situations based on your past experience. Interviewers will ask questions like, “Give me an example of where you have shown leadership?”.
The objective with any Behavioural Interview/ Competency Based Interview is to create a story around an everyday example that shows how you dealt with a specific situation. We have discussed extensively competency based interviews here, however if you’re asked a competency based question, make sure that you “I” rather than “we” as interviewers will want to know what part of any project you were involved and not what the group managed to achieve.
The Social Interview / Lunch Interview
The social interview is usually reserved for a final interview once you have been chosen as the final candidate and will usually be taken by a senior member of the management team.
Generally social interviews are not technical interviews, but give you a chance to interact on a personal scale with members of the team. Hiring managers are looking to make a final check on your personality and fit within the team. Often you will be present with a contract once the lunch is complete.
I would highly recommend that you stay away from drinking too much alcohol as this often brings out the worst in people. As a recruiter, the only time I have ever had a candidate fail at this stage took place because the candidate got drunk and started behaving in an inappropriate manner.
Very similar to the lunch interview above, The Chat interview is a less formal un-structured job interview where the interviewer is really trying to understand what you’re like as a person. Question’s could be about anything from what you did at the weekend, what your hobbies are, to where you’re going on holiday next.
It’s not about impressing the interviewer with your knowledge, rather it’s about getting the hiring manager to like you as person. Feel free to answer the interview questions as well, however watch out for getting too personal and letting your guard down. Candidates have failed this type of interview over the years when they’ve let their guard down and reveal something they should not.
What other job interview types have you faced during your job search?
Originally published at www.careeradviceguy.com on February 1, 2018.