Job interview. Those two words are all it takes to send many jobseekers into a nervous fit, and with companies becoming increasingly creative in their approaches to candidate interviews, it has made the job application process a huge chore. Many talented and well qualified jobseekers have been passed off all because they possess poor interview skills. However, with the right amount of research, preparation and practice, the job interview is something that can easily be conquered. In this article, we will touch on 4 interview types that are quickly becoming an integral part of the job application process.
By Jonathan Ng
Phone interviews are usually the first step of the grueling interview process, and while it may often seem like a casual ‘get to know you’ conversation, the phone interview is hardly something to be taken lightly. Most employers use phone interviews as a way of deciding if arranging a face-to-face interview with a candidate is worth their time. It is therefore crucial that any serious job applicant make use of the phone conversation to “sell” themselves well.
Preparation: With the interview being conducted over the phone, applicants have the advantage of being able to be interviewed from the comfort of their homes. Applicants should capitalize on this advantage by having research materials readily available for reference during the interview. Applicants should also make an effort to ensure that no disturbances or possible disruptions occur during the interview. Having the interview disrupted by a “dead” phone battery or a noisy background is not something that would leave a good impression. While body language is not something that is visible over the phone, it can have a big influence over the way you sound. Thus something as simple as sitting up straight, talking with a smile or dressing up for the interview can make a difference.
During: As interviewers are not able to see you, it is important that you sound interested and enthusiastic over the phone. Sounding bored or unfocused is a surefire way of getting disqualified from a follow-up interview. It is also often forgotten that it is still a formal interview and as a result, many candidates end up coming across as too casual. Therefore, candidates should remember to be cordial and address the interviewer by his or her title unless told to do otherwise. Taking toilet breaks during the interview is another thing that interviewees should avoid.
Closing: Before hanging up, thank the interviewer and find out when you will hear from the company again, or when a face-to-face interview can or will be scheduled. This will save you the agony of nervously waiting by the phone all day for news on your application.
Though still relatively less popular among companies, panel interviews are slowly gaining favour among employers who are looking to get a more unbiased decision in the candidate selection process. The interviewee is usually interviewed by a panel consisting of 2-8 employees of various roles and departments that the candidate is likely to work with if they were to be offered the job.
Preparation: Before the interview, interviewees should take time to find out about the members on the interview panel. Doing some research would not only allow you to direct questions to appropriate people, but will show the panel that you have taken the time to do you research. Professional networking sites like Linkedin may also help you to know more about their backgrounds and how they look like. Like a traditional interview, interviewees should prepare answers to questions that are likely to be asked during the interview, which will leave less room for surprises and awkward pauses.
During: Apart from the candidate’s competencies, the panel is also looking to see how well a candidate interacts with people of various communication styles and personalities, so it is important that the candidate builds rapport and makes eye contact with every member in the panel. Many interviewees make the common mistake of assuming one member of the panel as playing the biggest role in the selection process, which often results in them not connecting with the whole panel. Unless you are entirely sure of each panel member’s role in the process, you should pay equal attention to each interviewer.
Closing: Making your last impression count stands true here. Before the end of the interview, the interviewees are usually asked if they have anything to add, this is where interviewees should ask questions. Many interviewers judge interviewees based on the questions asked, so do try to ask intelligent questions that show you have indepth understanding or interest in the company. Before leaving, make sure you shake the hand of every panel member and thank them individually.
Follow-up: After the interview, interviewees should send out personalized thank you notes or emails to each panel member as soon as possible. Interviewees should take this as an opportunity to improve on any replies or points that may have been discussed during the interview.
VIDEO CONFERENCE INTERVIEWS
With an increasing amount of companies expanding internationally, video conference interviews are no longer a novelty. Video Conference interviews have become an approach widely used by companies interviewing candidates who may be residents of different states or countries, saving both the candidate and employer on time and precious resources.
Preparation: It is quite common for video conference interviews to be conducted from the home of the interviewee. If so, interviewees should ensure that they have all the equipment set up and ready before the interview. Testing the equipment beforehand will prevent any untimely equipment malfunction from occurring during the interview. However if the interview is to be conducted elsewhere, treat it just like a face-to-face interview. Do be punctual for the appointment, do ample research about the company, prepare answers to possible questions and dress up for the interview.
During: Technological advancements are continuously progressing in leaps and bounds. However, lag time is still something that video conferences are continuously plagued with. While lag time is something that can be reduced, it is hardly something that is easly eradicated. Therefore, interviewees should wait till they are certain that the interviewer has finished speaking before responding. On camera, the body language of a person tends to be more noticeable so interviewees should be more mindful of their body language and facial expressions.
Closing: Unlike in a face-to-face interview, interviewees will not be able to end off the interview with a handshake, so interviewees should instead summarize their points and thank the interviewer before leaving the room or disconnecting.
CASE STUDY INTERVIEWS
Considered one of the toughest and most mentally draining interviews used by organizations, ample preparation and practice is often required to handle case study interviews. During the interview, interviewees are usually required to take on a variety of case study questions consisting of business problems, brainteasers and logical puzzles, forcing interviewees to put their analytical and problem solving skills on full display.
Preparation: Most of the questions asked during the interview require the interview to possess knowledge on the industry and the company, so interviewees should spend time studying and doing thorough researching on the topics relevant. As interviewers are not only looking to get a good gauge of your problem solving skills, but also your ability to structure and present your answers and information, practicing with someone who is able to give a fair critique of your answers could be greatly beneficial for the interviewee. There are also case study practice questions and resources easily available that interviewees could take reference from.
During: Interviewers are interested in understanding how you arrived to your answer. Sometimes the process itself is more important that the answer. Therefore, “thinking our loud” will help that interviewer get a good understanding of your analytical skills and thought process. Most of the questions asked do not have just one “right” answer. As long as the deriving of your answer is practical and logical, do not be afraid to be creative.
Closing: The closing and follow up is no different from a standard face-to-face interview. Interviewees should shake the interviewer’s hand and thank them. Interviewees should shake the interviewer’s hand and thank them. Interviewees should send out a thank you note or email to the interviewer thereafter starting briefly your unwavering interest to the job opening.