Like people, job interviews come in all shapes and sizes. Like people, job interviews can be difficult. Whether you know the type of interview ahead of time or not, it is a good idea to brush up on the types of job interviews that are available to employers so that you can be ready for whatever is thrown at you during your job search.
Job Interview Tips
Everyone knows the traditional interview. There are a number of standard questions like “tell me about yourself” and “why should we hire you,” and these questions lead to a judgment about your overall ability to do your job.
Group interviews are similar to traditional interviews, except they tend to take place in front of a group of interviewers, which means that you are at risk of having your answers interpreted differently by different people. They may also be panel interviews, where the questions are more free flowing and based largely on your answers.
Phone interviews are a faster, less personal, less effective type of traditional interview. They are less effective because phone interviews are generally on a tight timeline, body language plays less of a role, and in many cases there are a number of applicants going through the interview, so the interviewer’s goal is to look for flaws rather than strengths.
It is said that the best way to tell how well you would do at your next position is by the behaviors you showed at your previous position. In these types of interviews, employers ask you to describe a time where you did something in your past. For example, “describe a time where you had to make a difficult decision that turned out wrong.” Then you need to search your memory for an example of such a time and give the answer. These interviews can be pretty tough.
In rare cases, there will be job interviews that will test your ability to do your job. For example, if you need to know how to design web pages, you will be asked to design a web page. These types of job interviews are uncommon, but with the prevalence of lying during job interviews and the need for productive employees, there is a chance they will make a rise in the future.
Second interviews are a form of traditional interview. They are given to candidates that have done a fairly good job impressing the employer, and they are brought back to see if those beliefs are justified. Second interviews contain several standard interview questions, but they are also about your personality – they will introduce you to staff members and try to make sure your personality fits.
Out of Office Interviews
Off campus/out of office/dinner interviews are becoming more and more common. Employers take the applicant to a restaurant or coffee shop and talk to them in a less professional setting. These are also a type of traditional interview, except the relaxed environment often changes the way the applicant acts.
Employers will almost always let you know which type of interview you are going to experience before they give it to you, but it may be useful to recognize these interview styles so that you can adjust your preparation and expectations accordingly.