Everyone in their life time will encounter an interview for a job. It’s not always the kind that you get dressed up for, polish shoes and stand up straight or practice sitting up straight and crossing your legs perfectly. However, understanding interview dynamics, planning properly is not just important, but crucial as first impressions are bound to last. Understanding that even bidding for a job as a self-employed person is still doing an interview of sorts, requires that you know how to go about it. So having a set mind frame prepares you best as you think about getting ready for a job interview.
Preparation is prime! An interview isn’t an adrenaline rush adventure after all. Whenever getting ready for job interviews, prepare you situation action result (SAR) stories. Assume that everyone has copied and pasted a couple of generic skills and strengths onto their CV and so interviewers are not keen on listening to you re-echo these lies. Knowing these stories by heart and remembering to always answer an interview question with an SAR, not just a grocery of skill will set you apart from the rest of those being interviewed. Interviewers will understand your contribution to assignments and what sets you apart from other people.
So what are the different interviews you are most likely going to come across in your job search process?
Behavior based interviews
This is the most common type of interview. It is based on the premise that your past behavior is going to be a foundation and performance level for you future. Behavior based interviews are usually an hour long. Therefore using SARs is important and each story should be between 3-5 minutes and not more. The use of eye contact to the interviewer or interviewers will be a plus during the interview. Most Government interviews are behavior based interviews.
These can be out of the blue and might catch you with your pants down. However thank God for a caller ID that helps compose oneself. The purpose of the interview is to see whether one might consider a face to face interview, so they must be treated seriously. Impression is key in this instance because the call is never long. But that doesn’t mean all phone interviews are for a face to face meet. Some are part of the interview for the candidate and could lead to failure in cases where you put a language on your application, and this interview will be taken in that language. Availability and flexibility is also looked out for by the interviewer, therefore picking up calls from strange numbers might become a must as you await the interview.
These are face to face interviews. The candidate will be probed and probed and probed some more. The interviewers in this case are looking for dedication, teamwork, leadership and personal characteristics. In this case, thinking before answering is a good skill set. Asking questions where the question isn’t understood and using SAR stories will be needed during the interview.
Case Based interviews
These interviews are for higher ranked professionals. The interviewer presents a business case and the candidate has to solve the problem. This tests the candidate’s technical knowledge and skills, problem solving, strategic thinking, leadership skills and the ability to perform under pressure. Sometimes if the candidate has not been in a job set like this before, prior knowledge of the company and its dealings help plan better for the interview.
These types of interviews, the candidate is asked about certain situations and scenarios. Unlike case based interviews with one specific outcome, this type of interview has more than one outcome and therefore any answer is probably a test and follow up questions can be developed along the answering pattern. Skill set and personality must come through during this type of interview.
These types of interviews are few and far between. These are interviews for senior executive positions and the candidate will always be put on the spot. However some junior positions that deal in stress related environments positions, this technique can be used. This will test how well the candidate can handle oneself under stress. This might cause the candidate to feel threatened or ticked off. The need to arouse emotion will be used as a form of technique and thus a higher level of calmness is needed to bring out the different attributes like creativity, organizational skills, thinking on the spot and attitude. A question like ‘what do you think is wrong with the organization’, can be presented.
Second and Third interviews
Do not assume prior knowledge of the candidate after the first and second interview. These interviews are used to collect more information about the candidate. Be sure to ask each interviewer what the important responsibilities and challenges of the job are and what their management style is. As the interview progresses, you might be required to give more input into what actions you might take on the job in the next 30, 60 or 90 days. Please remember this doesn’t mean you have acquired the job, but you are one step closer to attaining as a preferred candidate.
Eating in front of a stranger who could potentially be your boss could be unnerving. Ordering moderately priced meals and using dining etiquette is necessary to impress in this situation. Dinning etiquette like not speaking with your mouth full, not slurping and using the right cutlery is necessary. Of course alcohol is a no even when presented to the candidate. For foods options, a recommendation from the interviewer or waiter might help in cases where lack of knowledge of food types is eminent.
Information is always key when going into an interview. Ultimate success is being organized and prepared for whatever is coming your way. Dressing appropriately, but also carrying a positive attitude and smile are good for each candidate.
Best of Luck.