Interviews, interviews, interviews…are you getting frightened thinking about it? You are not alone. Interviews can be one of the scariest things to go through, especially when you feel left in the dark, completely unaware of what to expect. However, feeling this way is known as ‘normal’, so don’t panic! Find out now what the different types of interviews are and see which type of interview you may be walking into…
A lot of big graduate recruitment companies are now using the form of competency-based interviews to interview their candidates. They are very structured and are usually taken place in a certain environment or otherwise known as a ‘situational’ setting. The questions asked are designed to help interviewees give evidence of their personal qualities and personality, all of which are entailed to do well and perform in the specific job role. A lot of employers like to ask their interviewee to give examples of performance and to demonstrate the qualities mentioned in relation to a past situation and/or challenge.
For example, this is something a potential employer might ask you to do: “Describe a situation where you had to…”
- Refuse to compromise in a situation
- Overcome a hard obstacle at hand
- Change your initial plans unexpectedly
- Work as a member of a big team/organisation towards something
- Make a hard decision that put you in an awkward situation
- Show leadership skills and step up
- Work with other members of the organisation to solve a challenge
As an interviewee, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. Start planning potential answers and mindsets to how you would deal with this question if it was asked to you.
Structured interviews can seem quite off-putting, admittedly, and they can also come across as unfriendly as they don’t allow much space for discussion to be had. It also takes away the naturalness of an interview and can make a candidate feel stressed and under pressure. However, the advantage of these sort of interviews is that they are standard and they come as a big benefit for the employer as they’re able to compare the interviews across a mass of people, with collective, analytical data at hand.
Traditional interviews are much more conversational but they are directed with a purpose. Make sure that you are tentative to the questions being asked as you need to come across as the right person for the job. They are usually focused on your application form and CV, so ensure that you back up your statements in line with your application. If something doesn’t correlate then the employer will be quick to notice, so don’t let yourself down with foolish and forgetful mistakes. The interviewer is likely to focus on a particular area of interest, such as a project that the company is focusing on, so make sure you show interest.
Another big tip in this sort of interview is to not be brief with your answers. The interviewer is likely to expect you to elaborate on your answers and go into detail. Watch the person asking the questions, pause and compose yourself and think logically and clearly about your response. Be careful not to talk about irrelevant points and keep the conversation to the point and focused, while monitoring the flow of the conversation to adapt and keep up.
Remember to be polite and don’t be scared to start a discussion of your own. The interviewer will be impressed to see you taking initiative and starting a conversation that’s interesting, engaging and relevant to the topic at hand. It will also highlight your personality and show off your quality traits as a leader and as a confident potential employee of the team.
Whether it is a competency-based interview that you’re going in for or a traditional one, remember to be true to yourself and stay calm. Don’t get yourself too worked up as it will be detrimental to your overall interview performance.
Taking all of that into account, you should ace your interview and get that job you so desire!
Written by Gemma Smith