by Lisa McGrimmon
This job interview advice will help you prepare for any type of interview the employer may have in store for you.
Knowing the techniques employers may be using can help you to be well prepared for anything you might experience.
1. One on One Interview
You will be interviewed by one single person. Typically, the interviewer will have a list of prepared questions, but sometimes the interview will become more of a discussion than a series of questions and answers.
2. Telephone Interview
The employer may use a telephone interview to pre-screen before deciding whether to commit the time to interviewing you in person. Sometimes telephone interviews are scheduled, so you can ensure you are in a quiet room without distractions when you take the call.
More often, telephone interviews are not scheduled ahead of time, so you'll need to be prepared. One of the simplest pieces of job interview advice I'd give for telephone interviews is to keep your resume near your telephone when you are job searching. That way you'll always have your information close by and be ready for the interview.
If an employer calls to interview you over the phone, and the interview hasn't been scheduled ahead of time, do everything you can to ensure you're in a quiet environment. If you need to, it's fine to say to the employer, "Would you excuse me for just one minute while I go to a quieter room?"
If there's chaos happening at your home, and an employer unexpectedly calls for a telephone interview, and you can't get away from the noise, it's fine to apologize and ask if you could call back at a time that's convenient for the employer. That strategy is definitely preferable to struggling through a telephone interview while you're distracted and embarrassed by noise and chaos in the background.
3. Psychological Testing
Employers may use psychological tests to assess your personality, values or aptitudes. Other than getting a good night's sleep there is not a lot of job interview advice that will help you to prepare for these tests. When you take the test, read all of the instructions through before you begin. Also, go to the test dressed appropriately for an interview. Employers are making decisions about you at every step of the hiring process.
Do not try to "beat" personality tests by writing what you think the employer wants to hear. These tests have lie scales built into them, so the person who interprets the test will know if you are trying to manipulate the outcome.
4. Second Interview (and third and fourth interviews)
If you've reached the stage of a second interview, the employer is typically certain that you have the skills and qualifications necessary to do the job. Second interviews are often about personality. You'll find more second round job interview advice here.
5. Panel Interview
In a panel interview, you will be interviewed by two or more people. The biggest piece of job interview advice people usually ask for regarding panel interviews is about the issue of eye contact. Most of your eye contact should be with the person who asked the question, but also glance around the room to acknowledge the other people.
Sometimes it will be clear that one person is leading the panel interview, other times the questions will be spread among the panel. A panel interview gives you an opportunity to meet many of the people you could be working with, and gives more people in the company an opportunity to meet with their potential new coworker.
6. Stress Interview
If you are in the middle of an interview, and you are experiencing more than the standard interview stress, there's a good chance you are in a stress interview. Employers will sometimes cause stressful situations in an interview to see how you handle stress. They may be negative, ask a lot of questions quickly or set up the room in a manner that is uncomfortable.
Employers will often conduct a stress interview because the job will involve a similar type of stress, and they want to see how you handle that stress. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is not personal. Then go ahead and show the employer that you can effectively handle stressful situations.
7. Group Interview
Sometimes an employer will interview several candidates at one time. Group interviews are not common, but they do exist. Sometime the employer will interview two (or more) people at a time; I've come across this interview situation most frequently in retail sales positions. In this type of interview, it's best to offer to go first when answering questions if possible. That way you can answer the question without the fear of sounding like you are repeating the answer of the other candidate.
Other group interviews will involve a large number of job candidates. The employer will divide you into groups and provide each group with a work related problem to solve. Keep in mind that the employer is not only assessing your solution to the problem, they're also watching to see how you interact with your group.
8. Lunch or Dinner Interview
If you are asked to attend an interview over a meal, keep your table manners in mind. Avoid ordering food that is difficult to eat, messy or crunchy (because it will be loud). Never offer to pay (it's not expected), and don't ask for a doggy bag (it's not appropriate in this situation).
9. Practical or Technical Interview
Very frequently in interviews, employers will ask you perform some task that is related to the job you are seeking. The most common example of this type of interview is a typing or computer test, which is standard for anyone interviewing for administrative support positions.
You may also experience an "in-box interview." In this interview the employer provides you with a work space. They will outline a list of hypothetical projects that are pending and tell you to imagine this is a work day, you are leaving for a vacation at the end of the day, and ask you to outline how you will prioritize and complete the tasks.
10. Internal Interview
If you already work for an employer, but you're seeking a new job within the same company, you may experience an internal interview. The most common mistake people make in internal interviews is not describing their skills and experience in enough detail.
Many people go into internal interviews assuming that they do not need to describe their skills or sell themselves because the interviewer is already a coworker who knows them. This is a mistake that can cost you the promotion. In an internal interview, it's important to sell yourself and your skills just as you would in any other interview.
Understanding some simple job interview advice and tips can help you to present yourself in your best light. Know how the employer is assessing your suitability for the job and use all of your information and tips during a job interview to make a great impression.
For more in-depth job interview advice, check the main job interviews section.