Interviews are widely used during the selection process. There are many different types, including phone interviews, group interviews, and video interviews. In this post, we’re going to focus on what to expect from a face-to-face interview, and how to prepare for it.
Step 1 – Know Your Interviewer
The most common type of face-to-face interview is the individual interview where you’ll meet with one interviewer. Panel interviews involve two interviewers or more and generally include at least one HR professional and one line manager. Interviewing styles can vary greatly from one person to another: Interviewers may follow a formal structured approach, or you may end up having a general chat over a coffee.
Preparation: Try to find out in advance who your interviewer(s) will be, then take a look at their bio on the company website and/or LinkedIn to gain an understanding of their professional background and experience. If you know current employees of the company you have applied to, or candidates who have previously interviewed there, contact them for the inside scoop. A little insider knowledge can help you frame your responses and think of relevant questions to ask.
Step 2 – Anticipate the Interview
The topics covered at interview may vary, but the following are standard in most companies:
Your current and previous professional experience
Your interest in the job opportunity you are interviewing for – and the company
Your specific skills and competencies for the role
Questions may be a combination of traditional questions and behavioural-based questions. You’ll probably be familiar with traditional questions – we’ve provided you with some samples below to refresh your memory. Behavioural-based questions can be more difficult to anticipate and prepare for. In these, your interviewer is probing you for specific examples of the skills and behaviours that are needed to succeed in the role. Questions may cover a range of areas, such as drive and motivation, handling conflict, teamwork and problem solving. Read on for a few samples
‘What interests you about working for this company?
‘Why are you thinking of leaving your current role?’
‘What did you do in your previous role?’
‘Give me an example of a rewarding team project you have worked on.’
‘Describe a time when you were faced with problems at work. What did you do?’
‘Tell me about a recent situation where you had to deal with an upset customer or co-worker.’
Remember, too, that your interviewer is not the only one asking questions. You should also see the interview as your opportunity to find out more about the role and the company – to show a genuine interest in them – so make sure you have a few relevant questions up your sleeve.
Preparation: Take the time to review your resume and cover letter in detail. Read the job description in full too, paying attention to the scope of the role, core responsibilities and requirements. Research the company you are interviewing with, on their website, LinkedIn and in the media. Then brainstorm responses to possible questions so you feel confident you have something meaningful to say. Finish by drafting a few questions of your own that you would like your interviewers to answer. Perhaps you’d like to know more about the company’s future plans for growth, corporate culture, or training programs for new recruits, for example.
Preparation is key to success at interview. Investing time upfront will provide you with valuable information and content, boost your confidence, and give you every opportunity to shine on the day.