Types of inteviews

There are a number of types of interview you may be invited for. Knowing what to expect will help you be ready, so if not offered, ask information about the format of your interview when you are invited!

One-to-one interviews

A one-to-one interview takes place between the candidate and one interviewer. It may be a formal office-based interview or a more informal 'casual chat' in a café. Either way, Even though the 'casual chat' may indeed be more informal, present yourself professionally.

Panel interview

A panel consists of a number of representatives of the organisation, including the hiring manager, a potential future colleague and an Human Resources officer. Different panels may be convened usually consisting of both men and women. In any case, there will be a chair-person, who leads the interview process.

The chair-person and the other panel members will all ask questions. It's good practice to address the person who asks the question mostly, though keeping a connection with the other panel members through eye contact.

The advantage of a panel interview is that the decision about whether you will be hired rests with a number of people and not just one interviewer, and therefore can be argued to be fairer.

Case study interviews

Some organisations, especially consulting firms, use case study questions to evaluate a candidate's analytical skills. These scenarios can often be quite challenging.

Screening interviews

These are usually shorter interviews used for the purpose of conducting a brief evaluation of a candidate. Your answers may be asked by phone (even through an automated system), or outsourced to a recruitment agency. It may be recorded for later review.

Second interview

After the screening interview, you may be invited for a second. Make sure you make notes after the first interview: there may be areas that you could improve upon: if offered a second interview, you could have the chance to elaborate on this area.

Second interviews are usually conducted in person. Make sure that you treat this interview as if it was the only interview you were offered: don't assume that the information you provided in the first interview made it to the second interviewer. You may even be asked a question that featured in the first interview. You can even use the same example you used in the first interview as evidence of your experience or skill development.

Telephone interviews

Telephone interviews can be outsourced to specialist recruitment organisations, particularly for interviews with a large number of interviewees, or organised to interview at a distance.

Types of telephone interview

  • Just like a normal face to face interview but without the face to face! It might be unannounced, so you need to be ready. Much more preferable is a prearranged interview, so you have time to prepare.
  • Structured response questionnaires in which you select answers to specific questions using your phone. These are usually done to a free-phone number using a personal PIN number (to identify you) and the answers are recorded for later analysis. Such questionnaires can consist of for example 80 questions - so choose a time and place where this can be done comfortably and without pressure. Be genuine and don't try to double guess the answers - a good questionnaire will have several ways of finding out!
  • Some interviews follow a structured interview pattern i.e. you speak to someone but they will follow a set list of questions. Generally the questions will be competency type questions.
  • For a sales job you may be asked to "sell" something to the interviewer.

Advantages

  • You can choose to interview from a comfortable environment (so make sure you're not in the middle of anything and your environment is free of distractions).
  • You don't have to dress for interview; however, don't underestimate the power of dressing for the occasion: it can put you in the right mindset. Standing while you speak can have a similar effect.
  • You can have your application documents and any notes right in front of you for quick reference during the interview, e.g. your resume and your examples to competency-based questions.

Disadvantages

  • The absence of visual cues from the interviewer(s) and inability to influence the interview process by using body-language. Besides the words you speak, make sure you're aware of the importance of your tone of voice, your inflections and enthusiasm in how you respond to interview questions. It is possible to hear a smile - it conveys enthusiasm and a positive vibe!
  • The employer may want to conduct the interview without prior warning, i.e. when you are in the middle of something or at an inconvenient location without your notes. You can ask to reschedule. In the case of an unannounced phone interview, consider the following:
    • If you live with others and have a fixed telephone line, make sure you tell your housemates you might expect a call from a potential employer. You'll want to make a good impression and a non-professional greeting by a flat-mate may give the employer a negative view of you by proxy.
    • If you answer the phone yourself, make sure you answer professionally.
    • Make sure that you can retreat to a quiet and private spot to do the interview.
    • Make sure your resume or application is to hand, particularly if you have applied to more than one company or organisation.
    • Have a pen and paper ready to make notes of anything you might want to bring up later. You may be invited for a follow-up face-to-face interview: make sure your calendar is to hand.

Skype interviews

These kinds of interviews are becoming increasingly popular in recruitment processes across Australia and internationally. A Skype interview or an interview using technology that allows both verbal and visual interaction is really no different from a face-to-face interview. However, make sure you test your connection before the interview, and remember that presentation still counts! Both for yourself, and the space in which you are conducting the interview. Make sure that you are situated in a quiet space with limited or no visual or audible distractions to you and the interviewers.