Your job search efforts have paid off…it’s now time for an interview with a potential employer!
How will you know what to expect? What should you be prepared to do and say? Check out this list of the different types of interviews and tips to prepare for each one:
Many employers rely on behavioral interviewing to find the right fit for an open position. Essentially, this type of interview can help the hiring manager determine how you’ll act on the job and in certain situations you’re bound to encounter. You’ll be asked specifics about past work and educational experiences, such as how you behaved when under pressure or when a problem arose. You’ll need to provide examples for many of the questions asked during this type of interview.
Tips for a successful behavioral interview:
- Go through your resume and the job description before the interview to determine which skills and accomplishments you’d like to highlight when asked about previous experiences and behaviors.
- Look up typical behavioral interviewing questions and determine how you would answer them.
- Prepare just as you would for a traditional job interview. Show up with a positive attitude, looking polished and groomed.
An informational interview is your chance to learn more about a specific job, company or industry by talking with a professional in the field. It also helps to develop a relationship with the individual and grow your professional network.
Tips for a successful informational interview:
- Do your research about the organization and the individual prior to the interview.
- Come with a list of prepared questions to help things run smoothly.
- Bring a pad of paper and a pen to take notes during the interview.
- Exchange business cards with the person to keep in touch.
Although unusual, you might encounter an interview over a meal during your job search. An employer is typically looking to evaluate your social skills in these situations. It might also be a convenient way to meet with you if the employer happens to be in town or has a busy schedule that particular day.
Tips for a successful lunch or dinner interview:
- Order something that won’t be challenging or embarrassing to eat in front of your company.
- Pay attention to their meal choices to determine the most appropriate selection on the menu.
- Use your best table manners during the meal to minimize distractions from your answers and conversation.
A phone interview is often the first round of screening for an open position. It’s cost effective and typically only last from 10 to 30 minutes. The great thing about phone interviews? You can have notes in front of you. I recommend having your resume and cover letter handy, along with the job description, your list of references, and any answers you’ve prepared ahead of time. Your answers need to be polished (so practice ahead of time with a friend or family member if you’re not great at interviews) and you should convey enthusiasm for the job. Remember, the employer cannot see any nonverbals you might be giving off, so you need to sell yourself effectively through your words and tone of voice.
Tips for a successful phone interview:
- Find a quiet room with little distraction to use during the interview.
- Use a landline to avoid embarrassing dropped calls or lost signal.
- Answer your phone with a polite greeting, such as “Hello, this is [your name].”
- Make sure your voicemail greeting is appropriate, should the employer have to listen to it for any reason. This applies to your entire job search!
If you’re looking to land a job out-of-state or that requires remote work, you might be asked to complete a video interview instead of a traditional in-person one. Using Skype or some other video chatting service, you’ll speak with the employer over the Internet about your fit for the position.
Tips for a successful video interview:
- Test your equipment beforehand to avoid any technology issues.
- Buy a headset to avoid echoes while speaking with the employer.
- Sit in a location where the background of your shot isn’t too distracting or messy.
What general interview tips should job seekers keep in mind when speaking with a prospective employer?