15th April 2007
Different types of interview
Nowadays potential employees should not take it for granted that their interview will be a one-one-one situation. Advances in technology have increased the potential for applicants to be tested using a host of different mediums. Additionally the sheer number of highly qualified people searching for jobs increases the need for employees to find some method of whittling down the numbers. However this should not scare off potential employees; as long as you are prepared, nothing should unsettle you.
Telephone InterviewsOften a great deal of applicants will be competing for a single role and therefore the company will simply not have the time or resources to meet everyone personally. A quick chat on the phone will allow them to narrow down the numbers further. Although this situation can be quite nerve racking, in fact it provides applicants with the perfect opportunity to practice giving their thoroughly researched answers in a less intimidating situation. The following points should be borne in mind:
- Even though a telephone conversation is not the same as a formal interview, this does not mean that applicants should not go through the same means of preparation. Answers to predictable questions should be thoroughly researched and applicants should be polite and respectful.
- Interviewees should remain calm, even if they are forced to perform under pressure. Occasionally the exact time of the conversation will not be prearranged. In such circumstances applicants should find a quiet place to sit and try their hardest to avoid panicking.
- If a time has been prearranged for the conversation then interviewees should forewarn family members or housemates so that if they happen to answer the phone before you they will do so politely. Endeavour to find a quiet, comfortable spot which is free of distractions and where you feel relaxed.
- Applicants should avoid eating, drinking or smoking on the phone, as such noises will come across loudly to the interviewer and will appear unprofessional.
Chronological InterviewsDuring this type of interview the questioner will take applicants though their life and ask relevant questions along the way. Usually the CV and application you have sent in will be used as the basis of the interview, and therefore applicants should read through all their details prior to arriving at the meeting. If the application required you to answer questions then you should be sure to memorise the answers; nothing looks more unprofessional than not being able to remember your own previously expressed opinions. Additionally, you should be prepared to explain those things which you included in your CV, for instance, why you took a particular job or what you learnt from a certain course.
Occupation Based InterviewsSuch a meeting will focus primarily on your occupational history as the interviewer will be principally concerned with attempting to discover the attributes they are searching for in the perfect employee. These characteristics can easily be discovered by reading the job description; applicants should aim to relate their answers to these specific attributes. Preparation is pivotal in this particular variety of interview, as clear knowledge of the job in question will be enough to provide you with the relevant information to impress the interviewer with your answers.
Technical InterviewsCertain occupations will require specific forms of information, which employees are certain to test you on in order to determine your suitability for the role. Such questions are likely to be exact; applicants should remain calm and take their time searching for the correct answer. If you simply cannot answer the question then explain that you are unsure of the solution but that you can offer a possible answer, which will prove that you are unwilling to admit defeat. If you are in the process of completing a course which has not taught you this specific skill then explain that you have not covered the topic yet. However, you should attempt to relate it to something which you have studied as this will show the interviewer how much you have learnt and how well you cope under pressure.
TestsSimilar suggestions also apply to written tests. For certain occupations companies will insist that you sit a short aptitude exam. These are not designed to make you panic, they simply provide you with the perfect opportunity to showcase what you know and demonstrate to the organisation why they should select you. Applicants should revise thoroughly prior to sitting the test; however, if a question arises which you simply cannot answer then you should use the information you possess to complete the question to the best of your advantage.
Social SituationsOccasionally the interview will be a more prolonged occasion and applicants will not be lucky enough to get the experience over in half an hour. Certain companies will take all applicants out for a meal and drinks during the evening. Such an occasion will allow interviewers to observe how applicants handle themselves in social situations. Although such an event should be enjoyed, all should be aware that it is still a test and therefore the following points should be remembered:
- Applicants should avoid drinking heavily. A small tipple to calm the nerves is fine; it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a drink with your meal. However, becoming drunk will look completely unprofessional and is a certain route to ensuring that you are excluded from consideration for the role.
- It is imperative that applicants should not use this occasion to enjoy as much food as possible at the company's expense. Ordering outrageous amounts of food will look greedy and extravagant and potential employers will worry about the extent to which you can be trusted not to abuse company expenses.
- Do not aim to embarrass or ridicule your fellow applicants. Such behaviour will appear childish and absurd and will ensure that you will be the individual who ends up looking ridiculous. Behaving courteously and friendly will appear gracious and much more mature.