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4 different types of interviews - and how you should be tackling them

05 Sep

Whatever stage of your career you’re at, going for an interview can be tough. You’ve whetted the interviewer’s appetite with the skills displayed on your CV; now the challenge lies in convincing them that you’re the ideal person for the job, with a skillset backed up by experience and a personality that would make you the perfect team member.

Companies can establish whether you’re the right fit for the role in a number of different ways, all of which are designed to test your suitability for different aspects of the job.

In a market where 47% of interviewers won’t offer a job to a candidate with little knowledge of the company, you need to be prepared for every interview. Here are four different types of interviews you should know about- and how you should approach them.

1) The phone call

 A phone or Skype call is a great initial way of making contact with candidates, before inviting them onto a face-to-face interview. However, that doesn’t mean they’re any less important, and you should prepare for them accordingly, just like you would do for any other interview. Go over the job description, make sure your phone or computer battery is on full and retreat into a quiet, private space where you can talk in peace, with a pen and paper by your side.

2) The competency test

When you’re taking your first steps into the job market, it can be hard to demonstrate relevant experience to employers. Because of this, hiring managers often use a competency test to vet candidates. Designed to test traits like teamwork, responsibility, leadership, problem-solving and communication skills, rather than any specific job experience you might have, you will be set a series of tasks to test how you will react in certain situations. This could take the form of giving a presentation, describing a scenario and what your reaction would be to it, or demonstrating your written skills by writing a short article.

Though it depends on the type of job you’ll be applying for, the key to doing well is to be confident: 82% of hiring managers think that a person’s ability to hold eye contact is important, and 24% are put off by poor body language. The STAR method is also a great way of answering questions professionally and concisely: by following the framework ‘Situation’, ‘Task’, ‘Action’ and ‘Result’, you can make sure that you give a fully-rounded answer to your interviewers.

3) The panel interview

A popular technique for speeding up interview processes is the panel interview, which requires candidates to build up a rapport with more than one interviewer at the same time as they ask you questions.

Though this can seem daunting, there are a few tips that you can employ to make sure you come away feeling good: research the company and your interviewers in advance, as 47% of interviewers say they wouldn’t offer the job to people with little knowledge of the company. Forearmed with your research, you can tailor your responses to each interviewer in turn.

Most of all, take your time when answering questions. Don’t panic when facing a barrage of queries or comments, as this will only confuse your response: instead, take a breath, evaluate and speak slowly. This also has the added benefit of making you seem more confident, so you’ll also make more of an impression on the panel.

4) The assessment centre

Another favourite technique for candidates applying for graduate schemes and entry-level roles is the assessment centre. They’re used to test a variety of skills, and can comprise interviews, presentations, group exercises, role play and even psychometric testing.

Though this might seem daunting, there’s nothing to worry about as long as you’re prepared. Give yourself some time in advance to read through any material sent through, and practise common interview questions- or any other tests you might be expected to do- beforehand. You should also do your research on which skills, interests or experiences your employers are looking for, the better to know what to say or do on the day itself. Be friendly and work together with your fellow interviewees, rather than against them. And of course, being early always helps!

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