Types of interviews
Interviews come in all shapes and sizes and vary depending on what type of opportunity you are applying for. It is important that you do your research to ensure that you know what type of interview you might be attending as part of an application process, and prepare accordingly. Here are some of the more common types of interview:
Pre-conditioning the interviewer
It is well established that if interviewers have formed an opinion about a candidate before the interview then they will expect this to be fulfilled during the interview and will treat this candidate differently. Consequently, anything you can do to create the right impression will be valuable. Begin by submitting in the first place:
- a professional-looking CV that focuses on your achievements
- a well-written application form which emphasises your strengths
- a positive cover letter that emphasises your main ‘selling points’ and conveys your enthusiasm for the job
If the interviewer expects you to be good you will sense their favourable attitude and be encouraged to try even harder to present your strengths.
It is surprising how many people prepare themselves to fail the interview creating their own barriers. You should remember that you have obtained the interview on the strength of your CV and application. The interviewer is already aware of your details, so don’t be too concerned about these issues.
Before attending an interview it is important that you find out as much as possible about the job concerned. You also need to find out as much as possible about the organisation including its background, the range of goods or services it provides, its policies on staffing, promotion and so on. The most likely place to find information is on the organisation’s website. You may also be able to get brochures from the organisation itself. Sometimes university or public libraries have information in professional or business journals, so it is worth checking these and newspapers’ and websites’ archives for any current news about the company.
Glassdoor, often referred to as the Trip Advisor for companies, can offer insight on company information and interviews based on the experiences of previous candidates.
Prepare possible questions and answers
The better you prepare and practise your answers, the better you will perform on the day. We use different parts of our brain for thinking and talking and that is why it is important to practise your answers out loud. You can book a mock interview with the Career Development Service or practice with a friend or relative. You will find that you will give a much better impression at interview and will clearly show the interviewer that you have really thought about the job and what you have to offer.
Here are some typical interview questions to help you start preparing and thinking about. However, bear in mind these are only some of the questions typically asked in interviews but there are others. Make sure you do your research!
Prepare your own questions for the interviewer
It is important that you do not ‘freeze’ when the interviewer asks whether you have any questions for them.
Try and think of a list of questions before the interview. Some of them may well be answered during the interview and if this is the case, there is no need to ask them again. Asking questions shows that you have thought about the job and demonstrated an intelligent and enquiring mind.
Keep your question to ‘safe’ areas such as, “How does the management training scheme work?” or, “What will my induction programme entail?” rather than, “How much sick leave am I entitled to?”
The more you prepare beforehand the better your chances of success. This could be your future at stake so do take that little extra time and trouble that will enable you to perform with confidence and do well on the day.
Strategies for the interview
The interviewer has already formed some impression of you from your application form or CV. This is probably a favourable one as you have been invited for interview. However, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact which can either confirm or contradict the impression already created.
You have a short time in which to make a positive impression on someone. You can increase your chances of doing this by following a few basic rules.