Interviews can be complex these days and it is essential that you know which type you are attending so you can plan and prepare effectively. More than one interview is normal and the initial meeting may be conducted via telephone or Skype, or you may be asked to attend a group session. Competency based interviews are popular to ascertain specific skills and experience, and some companies will require you to deliver a professional presentation. When you are offered an interview, find out what form it will take and if there are likely to be any tests. This will assist you in your preparation. Here are some tips on how to prepare for each one.
• Ensure that you are in a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted or distracted;
• If you are using a mobile phone, check you have signal and you won’t be cut off;
• Read the job description, company information and any research conducted thoroughly, a few minutes before the call is due;
• Have a notepad to hand so you can take down key information;
• Listen to the questions carefully and answer in a considered manner;
• Remember to SMILE! The interviewer can’t see you but they will still be able to hear your inflections. Without a smile, it may sound as if you are not interested in the role or what the interviewer has to say.
Skype interviews are becoming increasingly popular, especially if you are relocating for a role and travelling for a face-to-face interview may not be feasible.
• You may not be directly face to face with the interviewer but you still need to make sure that you are dressed appropriately. Wear normal interview attire but not just the top half as you never know, you might be required to stand up, and wearing a smart suit jacket with pyjama bottoms may show a lack of professionalism!
• As with a telephone interview, ensure you are in a quiet location and you won’t be interrupted or distracted;
• It is very difficult and quite odd to maintain eye contact through Skype as you have to look directly into the camera, not at the person talking. This can make it difficult to concentrate on what they are saying. It is worth practicing on friends beforehand.
Group interviews allow hiring managers to interview a number of applicants at once and it is a good opportunity to watch applicants interact with each other within a competitive environment.
• Be aware of your behaviour, language, posture and attitude during each task;
• Maintain a strong interest in all tasks and be helpful towards other candidates;
• Work as part of a team but also show initiative and leadership skills where possible.
In this type of interview, each question is designed to test one or more specific skill. You will be asked a question regarding a skill and will then be asked to provide an example of when you used that skill and to what effect.
• Prior to the interview, think of the skills required for the role and when you utilised those skills. For example, when you excelled within a busy environment, led a team, improved systems or processes, exceeded your targets, managed customer dissatisfaction, worked under pressure etc.
• Details will be given at the time regarding length and subject. Ask if there is access to a laptop and screen, if so, it is advisable to create an interesting PowerPoint presentation. If not, you may be able to use a flip chart or whiteboard, either way you will need some visual aids to maintain interest and reinforce your points.
Take the time to prepare for every interview for the best chance of securing a new role.
By Meg Murphy – Co-Founder of Red Recruitment Solutions Ltd and Founder of Red CV Writing.
Member since: 22nd May 2013
I am currently director of Red Recruitment Solutions and owner of Red CV Writing, a professional CV writing service which also offers LinkedIn profile writing. For more information, please visit www.redcvwriting.co.uk