There’s a variety of different interview types out there, although they all essentially serve the same purpose – to see if you’re right for the job. They all require slightly different preparation methods though, so bear this in mind before you attend one.
What it is: A face-to-face interview is the most common type of interview. Here you will be interviewed individually by a manager within the company, who will ask you questions based on your current job, your skills and experience, and your knowledge of the sector/company.
How to prepare: These interviews are generally very formal, so make sure to wear a suit. You’ll be expected to talk quite a lot (although not to waffle or rant), and so it’s a good idea to prepare answers to possible interview questions that you might come up against. Make sure to focus on what you can bring to the company.
What it is: Phone interviews are often used as part of the screening process – they can help the company to narrow down their candidates. They’ll be asking similar questions to a face-to-face interview, although the length of the interview might be slightly shorter. They might also focus more on the basics of the role, and what you are expecting from it.
How to prepare: Although this type of interview is over the phone, you still need to prepare for it. You won’t need to think about body language or appearance, but make sure to do your research on the company and prepare answers to potential questions. Also make sure to find a quiet, undisturbed place to take your phone call, and check that you have good signal there first.
What it is: Web-based interviews are becoming increasingly more common nowadays, and are often held over Skype. Again, these could be used as part of the initial screening process, or they could be in place of a face-to-face interview – particularly if distance is a factor.
How to prepare: Prepare for this exactly as you would a regular face-to-face interview. Even if you are at home, you still need to dress professionally, and make sure that your surrounding area is both tidy and appropriate. Make sure to conduct the interview in a place free of distractions, and with a fast wifi speed.
What it is: These are face-to-face interviews, but different in that you’re not on your own. Interviews will be conducted with two or more candidates, and often several interviewers. As well as the standard interview questions, it is likely that you will also participate in activities either working together or against each other. There’s more ways to be assessed in this type of interview, in particular relating to your group work skills.
How to prepare: Although you may feel overwhelmed by so much competition, remember that it’s exactly the same a normal interview – it’s just that this time you can see the other candidates. Think a lot about your group work and ability to interact with others before you attend, and focus on this beforehand. Be competitive, but not too competitive – petty and unsociable behaviour never looks good.
What it is: Breakfast or lunch interviews are sometimes used by employers to see how you function in a more relaxed setting. Don’t be fooled by the casualness of it all – underneath that, you’re still being formally interviewed. You’ll be asked questions, but also watched to see your behaviour in such a setting.
How to prepare: Make sure you don’t slip into a too casual mood – be aware of what you are doing at all times. Order something you want but, if they are paying, don’t order the most expensive thing! Also keep an eye on your table manners – don’t eat with your mouth full, and try not to make too much of a mess.