These days, there are generally three basic types of interviews – behavioral, team and multiple; however, they may be conducted in many different ways, and each of the more common types is explained here to give you a better understanding of not only the differences but why they are used by employers.
By knowing the kinds of interviews used and the reason an employer is using a particular type for your interview, you will be better prepared because you understand the process and you know what they are looking for at each step of the way. It is imperative that before your interview you find out what kind the company uses because you will want to focus your preparation in that direction.
This is the most commonly used type of interview by employers. With this interview technique, the interviewer will ask questions that require you to describe situations where you have demonstrated certain skills. It is used to ascertain your reactions, behavior patterns, ability to think quickly and rationally. The answers you give will be noted or even scored and compared to other candidates. Interviewers utilizing this method will usually have a few skill categories to evaluate you on such as leadership, management, problem-solving, team building, etc. Each category will most likely have several situational or background / experience related questions. When asked a question it is best first to determine which skill the interviewer is looking for and gear your answer towards that particular skill.
For most candidates, this is the most comfortable type of interview because it is what they have usually gone through before, and it is more often used in one-on-one settings. In this case, you are more likely to be at ease talking back and forth with only one person rather than a panel. It is also the best one for you to hit a home run in if you are properly prepared because you only have to impress one person, not a group.
Many companies, especially those larger in size or revenue or more formal governmental organizations will ask several people to sit in on the interview to obtain a wider perspective of you, your skills and abilities as viewed by a variety of people. Depending upon the position you are interviewing for, the panel may be comprised of peers at the workplace: office managers, hiring managers, president, vice president, and supervisors at different levels. These interviews usually consist of three to five interviewers with a stake in the selection of the candidate for the organization. They are likely the people you will work for and with on a regular basis, but not always. Regardless, your composure is very important in this sort of interview.
At some interviews the panel may ask you questions as a whole, while at other interviews one or two people may ask all of the questions. Regardless of the set-up, be aware that everyone in the room with you is evaluating you and will meet afterwards to discuss the prospect of your employment with their organization.
There are companies where, if just one person opposes your employment, you will be eliminated as a viable candidate. Because you have a panel for this type of interview, it is very important to realize that you must connect with each person there. It is advisable to maintain primary eye contact with the person who asked the question that you are currently addressing. However, you will also want to glance at other panel members and make direct eye contact with each of them periodically. This will ensure that you are connecting with each of them as well. The more people you can make a connection with during the interview will go a long way in demonstrating that you work well with others and are a team player.
Team interviews often have additional elements that an individual interview does not. If you find yourself in front of a panel that wants to control the interview, do not turn it into a power struggle. Relax and follow their lead when this occurs. However, continue to answer their questions as thoroughly as you would for any other interview. In this type of interview, it is not uncommon for different people to ask you the same question at different times during the interview. This is not poor communication on their part, but rather a common tactic to see if you will answer it the same each time. Remain consistent.
These can take place in succession, one right after the other on the same day among separate, key individuals of the company, or may be placed days apart depending upon the firm’s situation and circumstances. You might interview with one person in each session, or perhaps with a panel or two on separate sessions, and a combination thereof. Multiple interviews on the same day are very taxing, both on the candidate and on the organization. But firm’s using this method do so because it affords for a shortened evaluation period and can help move the hiring process along at a much quicker pace. They are especially used if the firm is paying to bring a candidate in from out of town, and time and money are of the essence.
With multiple interviews on the same day you need to be at your best and knowing this method will be employed is absolutely critical for you to know in advance so you can prepare. You also need to think about the audience and important perspectives each interviewer has with consideration of their role within the organization; the interests of the Director of Operations are certainly different that the Director of Marketing. After a bit, repetitive responses and territory covered over and over in previous interviews might lead to a lackluster interview. While this might be the fifth interview for you in a five hour period, it might just be that interviewers only one for the day. If caught off guard, you run the risk of giving less than your best performance, and this could drop you from the running. Thus, it is imperative you discover this in advance when you are confirming your interview appointment details.