Your Job Interview: Are You Ready?

Candidates ought to know that there is no fixed approach or style of interview that will be used by an HR Manager or a Panel of Interviewers.  Best is to be aware of the different types and prepare in advance for the barrage of questions that will be thrown out at you.

It is very unlikely that you will know in advance what the employer expects and demands from you so the best approach is to learn in advance, prepare, and anticipate what questions will be asked.

Remember that your preparation and strategy will need to vary depending on the type of interview you will be encountering.

Based on Media

Telephone Interview

First interview is usually done through phone interview. Basically, it is the earliest stage of the screening processes (a screening interview). The purpose is to see what type of candidates you are, evaluate how serious you are, and decide whether or not the company will proceed your application further.

The questions are mostly focused on general assessment of the applicants’ skills and abilities and general knowledge

  • Do a research about the recruiter.
  • Ensure your environment is conducive for doing a telephone interview.
  • Make sure the room is quiet enough and there will be no interruptions.
  • Have your CV and application close to you so that when the interviewer asks about your CV, you will have an idea what they are trying to ask.
  • Answer the phone professionally and speak clearly with enough volume.
  • Relate what the company needs from candidates with what you have (your skills and competence).
  • Show enthusiasm and commitment in the interview. Your voice will tell everything since the interviewer cannot see your face.
  • Avoid distractions, like food, drink, text message, etc. You need to focus only on the phone interview.

However, a telephone interview might come without an appointment. Even so, stay calm and answer the questions professionally and confidently if you agree to do the interview right away. But if you are in a place where it is not conducive enough, such as in a car, restaurant, public places, and so on or if you are busy, it will be better to ask the interviewer to call in another time because you need to focus your attention to the phone interview.

 

Video Interview

Recruiters might want to conduct interview through live video interviews or video calls, such as using FaceTime, Skype, or Hangout since it saves time and money. A video interview is an early stage where recruiters will assess candidates’ manner and knowledge before inviting them to a face-to-face interview. Other than live video calls, companies might use an automatic video interview by using video companies’ services, like webrecruit, Sonru, LaunchPad Recruits, and InterviewStream to conduct virtual interview. All candidates get the same questions, and recruiters are able to replay and rewind the virtual interview.

 

  • Pay attention to what will appear on-screen. Check your background, ensure yourself that the place is silent, warn people outside the door or your housemates not to make noises during the interview time, tidy up your room or the area that will be viewed by the interviewer on the screen.
  • Look presentable and create an impression that you have made an effort. Dress up properly and formally. Do not dress up like you are ready to go to bed or like you just got out of bed even if you undergo the interview in your bedroom or in the middle of the night due to the time difference. REMEMBER! First impression is the most important.
  • First impression is also shown on simple things, like Skype name, ID, or account name that you create. Make a professional name or ID which is easy to type or remember.
  • Make sure the internet connection will run smoothly during the interview. For example, if the interview will be held through Skype, ask a friend for a help to speak with you through Skype for a trial. Ensure the audio is clear enough and the quality of the video is good.
  • Anticipate what questions might be asked by the interviewer. Put notes that you have prepared for those questions in a place where you can easily read them.
  • Practice beforehand so that you do not feel nervous and act awkward in front of camera or webcam. Find a comfortable and relaxing position and practice talking in front of camera. Make sure your gesture and facial expression is not too rigid.
  • It is better to wait until the interviewer or the counter party finish their sentence because the time difference between you and the interviewer might cause time lag, especially if the interview is conducted across countries.

Self-recorded and YouTube videos might need to be created if you apply for sales, media, or marketing positions. Candidates will be asked to upload a video to highlight their skills, knowledge, and so on, usually in a form of presentation. If you are asked to present an ideas in a form of video, make sure you do a research beforehand both about the topic and the company you are applying to.

Based on Format

Competence-Based Interview

This type of interview is also called as a behavioral interview, where your behavior and how you handle certain working situation is tested. Through this interview, recruiters would like to identify your competence that will be vital for the organization by selecting those whose excellent skills and abilities to help the company’s development and growth.

You will find the interviewer asking questions related to either your past life or working experience. Use examples from your studies, projects, and other related activities. It will be better if you use different examples for different question or context that the interviewer asks. In order that you do not go off-topic, it may be useful to answer the questions using STAR approach.

  • Situation: Describe the situation.
  • Task: Mention what goals that you want to achieve.
  • Action: Tell what your actions were. Dedicate most of your story in this part because this part shows your skills and abilities in handling the situation.
  • Result: Describe the end result and ensure that you show some positive aspects although the overall project might not be as expected.

Other than past experience, hypothetical questions might be asked in this interview. You will be given a case or a situation, then you will be asked about how you solve the problems or deal with the situation. Your decision-making skills are tested here. In answering hypothetical questions, it is important to include your skills and similar experience to reinforce your explanation.

Strength-Based Interview

This method is meant to assess your personal attributes or characteristics which cannot be seen through well-prepared competence-based interview. Basically, this interview is aimed to identify what you enjoy doing.

The questions asked will be related to activities that you enjoy doing or mostly like. It is absolutely easier sharing about what you like instead of what your skills are. Even so, just like other interview, strength-based interview still need preparation.

 

  • Think about how your interests or what you enjoy can fit the company’s culture and make a contribution in the organization.
  • Be prepared to be open and think about things which you enjoy doing in life.
  • Do not try to be something you are not. Be truthful to yourself and the recruiter. Telling the employer about what you enjoy will help you later on when you work in the company.

Despite asking about what you like, the interviewer might also ask about things you do not enjoy. In this condition, it is better to be honest and tell them the kind of tasks that you cannot enjoy doing. This way, employer will be able to make you comfortable working at the company.

Portfolio-Based Interview

If you apply to a graphic design, digital, or communication industry, it is likely that you will need to make a portfolio and bring it along while you have the interview. There is a possibility that the employer will ask you to put it online. The portfolio will show your experience and skills in that industry.

 

  • Ensure that all of your works are up to date.
  • Structure your work categorically and chronologically to make it easier for employer to see.
  • Make your images and pictures big enough for the interviewer to see. Think about the alignment and rule of design.
  • Test your online portfolio on all internet browsers and ensure that your images will show up properly.

Technical Interview

As the name suggests, this interview method is purposed to assess technical or special skills of the applicants. This kind of interview is usually used for candidates who apply for engineering, technology, or science companies.

 

  • Review on the basic of your course that everyone should master. Learn again about what you have learnt during your study in the university/college.
  • Relate what kind of technical skills the employer is looking for with your technical skills.
  • Tell about the projects which you have worked on, how you solve the problem, and the results. These experiences will reinforce your knowledge in answering questions from the interviewer.
  • Avoid technical jargon that is too difficult to understand to show your communication skills in talking to non-technical person.

Case Interview

Sometimes employers would like to see how you solve problems by giving this type of interview. As the name suggests, you will be given either a topic or a case where your creativity and problem-solving skills are tested. Especially if you apply to a management position, you might meet this kind of interview. The purpose is that recruiters want to see how you communicate your ideas in front of a group of people, like investors, customers, and other stakeholders.

  • Do a research before you make your presentation.
    • If you are given a topic, understand the topic deeply and think about what you want to develop from the topic. Then, find a creative idea that you think is unique enough to be implemented.
    • If you are given a case, browse and see if similar case has happened to others. See how they solved the problem. Then, find another ideas that you can think of as a solution for the issues.
  • Make sure your ideas that you want to deliver in the presentation are feasible enough to be implemented. Adjust with the company’s condition and resources that the company have.
  • Think about how to anticipate the issues that might happen if your ideas are implemented. Create an action plan or a contingency plan in case your ideas are impossible to be implemented.
  • Prepare your presentation well
    • Think about who your audience is and what they expect to hear from your presentation.
    • Structure your presentation in an understandable way. Make an outline or a framework of your presentation.
    • Consider the time limit that you have and adjust with the result of your research and your content. Eliminate those which are not important that might waste your presentation time.
    • Research about how to design your presentation to attract audience. Make interesting slides with good visualization of what you are trying to say.
    • Think about an opening and closing hook since they are the most important part of presentations.

Evidence-Based Interview

In this interview, recruiters might give you an assessment to see how you work on tasks. The purpose is to reduce biased judgment. They want to see that what you speak comes to reality in the assessment. You will be evaluated based on certain measurement factors that the company has created.

  • Do extra miles. Give them more than what is needed in the tasks.
  • If it is possible, get the assessment done fast, but with excellent result. Do what you have to do carefully, but also quickly.
  • Finish the assessment independently, if it is possible. “Independent” here does not mean that you do everything alone without considering the possibility and needs to interact with others if you need some information from them. Ask the interviewer if it is allowed or possible to ask others in the company to get some information you need.

 

The more you do all of those, the higher the ratings that you will get for each measurement factors used to evaluate your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Informational Interview

In informational interview, you will be asked to meet an employer or a professional in a specific industry. This interview is used for you to know the skills and experience needed for an occupation and the nature of specific company or industry. In other words, it is sort of like a self-evaluation where you can assess whether your skills and abilities fit with the industry and the career position.

Unlike usual job interview, in an informational interview, you are the interviewer.

  • Do a little research about who you are going to meet to get to know the person. It will make it easier to engage the person.
  • Prepare plenty of questions to keep the conversation, including questions about related occupation and business. But, ask questions about their opinion, like “Do you enjoy your work?” as well. Avoid yes/no questions. Even if you make one, make sure you elaborate on that question.
  • Explain about your background and why their job interests you. Make sure they don’t get the impression that you are looking for a job to them. Explain why you would like to meet that person. Mention your objectives in the informational interview first and how the interview will help achieving those objectives to reduce the misunderstanding.
  • Even if you need to act and keep the conversation professional, you also need to keep being friendly to reduce the tense during the conversation.
  • Keep the interview short and sharp. The person you meet might only have limited time. 15 – 30 minutes interview will be best.
  • Ask for referrals or names of other people to contact.
  • End the conversation with a conclusion and ask as well whether you can contact him/her again if you need his/her help.
  • Thank the person for giving his/her time for you. Sending a thank-you note will be better if possible.

If you meet him/her in person, pay attention to your attire and action. Your manner will also give an impression to the person you are meeting.

Lunch/Dinner Interview

This kind of interview is aimed to assess your communication, social, and interpersonal skills. Most importantly, the employer would like to see your table manner.

  • Do a research about professional dining etiquette so that you will not make mistakes that may give bad impression to the employer.
  • If you know who will interview you, do a research as well about that person. If the interviewer is from different nationality which has a really strong culture, researching on their dining etiquette will help to avoid irritating actions that make them reconsider to hire you.
  • Dress up properly to show your effort and enthusiasm in working at that company.
  • Order wisely and pick things that are easy to eat so you can answer questions and pay attention to the conversation more.
  • Do not order alcoholic drink and make sure you don’t spill your drink during the interview.

The interviewer might ask some questions after or even during lunch/dinner. Make sure you don’t speak while chewing.

Beauty Parade

If you are asked to meet some other people after the company announced that they have decided to hire you, it means you are in a beauty parade. It is purposed as a way to give them a certainty that they have hired the right person and that you are qualified to fill up the vacancy they offer.

  • Dress up professionally.
  • Be enthusiastic about working in that company and making a contribution in a position you are applying.
  • Be confident and show that you are qualified to get that position.

The key is not to give the company a second thought or a reason to reconsider their decision to hire you.

Based on Number of Interviewer or Interviewee

Panel Interview

In this kind of interview, there will be 2 – 3 people interviewing. This model might seem scary, but having more than 1 interviewer gives opportunity for more friendly discussion, so it will be beneficial for you. Other than that, this interview type is aimed to reduce subjectivity towards the candidates by having more than 1 opinion.

  • Pay attention on who will be on the panel. Listen carefully when they introduce themselves so that you know how you address the person when you answer their questions.
  • Make eye-contacts with all of the interviewers. The highest portion for making eye-contact is of course with the one who asks the questions. Even so, you should still make an eye-contact with the others.
  • When employers asks the same questions twice, there is a possibility that it is a mistake. That person might not pay attention. Nevertheless, that can also mean they would like to see your consistency in your answer. See it as an opportunity to fix the earlier answers and see if you can add some information you might have missed earlier.


Group Interview

In panel interview, the interviewers are in a group. On the other hand, in group interview, candidates are gathered in one room as a group. This is more like a group interaction test, where you will be asked to interact with each other in a group discussion. There are some possibilities that might happen:

  • You will be given a case, and you are asked to read the case and think about it for some limited time. After that, you will be asked to give both your opinions and your ideas, including your recommendations towards certain issues included inside the case. The interviewer will be the moderator inside the room.

–        Think about certain ideas before you speak up. Ensure yourself about what you want to say to a group of people in the room. Structure your arguments and make it easier to understand.

–       Show your confidence in communicating your ideas. Your communication skills are tested here. Support your opinions with arguments. Including your past experience inside your arguments and mentioning benefits of implementing your ideas will support and strengthen your recommendation.

–        Make sure you are not too dominant in the room. It is a group interaction and not a debate where you should win your arguments. Asking other people’s opinions at the end of your arguments will give an impression that you are opened to other people’s ideas. Your negotiation skills are also tested here.

–       Even if you should hold back your ego and emotion during the group discussion, it is important to also remember that being too passive might give an impression that you are not interested in proceeding further on your application. Even if you have no idea about the issue or what kind of ideas that might solve the problem, at least give opinions about other people’s ideas and think about something to make it even better. Teamwork skills are also tested in this interview.

  • You are given a task to do as a team to see whether you are able to work well with others or not. Mostly, teamwork and management skills are tested here.

–          Speak up about your past experience, your skills and abilities, and what role you might be able to play in the group.

–          Give your opinions about what might need to be done to finish the task on time.

–          Hold back your ego to give other people a space to develop themselves and make a contribution in the team, but also make sure to make a significant contribution in the group. Being too passive might give an impression that you are not capable or you are not interested in this interview.

During the interview, the employer might also analyze the group discussion and see each person’s leadership skills. Therefore, if you are pursuing and have a passion in becoming a leader, you might need to consider showing your leadership skills during the interview.

 

Sequential Interview

Just like the name, in this interview, there are several interviews that will go in turn where there will be different interviewers in each interview. Each interviewer will ask different set of questions to test different skills and capabilities as well as different expectation out of you.

  • Pay attention to each person’s questions carefully. Recognize the pattern or estimate what the interviewer is trying to get out of you.
  • When different interviewers ask the same question, answer each one as good as the previous one. If it is possible, use different examples from the previous one and adjust with what skills and expectation the interviewer is trying to see from you.
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