Interview techniques

Interview techniques

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The interview is the most important stage of the job application process, so it is natural to be nervous. But the more time and effort you put into your preparation, the higher you chance of success, and the less stressful you'll find the whole process.

How to prepare:

  • Go to your careers service and ask for literature about the company. See if they have any advice to offer, and if they can run through a mock interview with you.
  • Review the job description. Make sure you understand the role, and that you can meet the qualifications. If there are elements you're not sure of, you can always phone the recruiter to get clarification.
  • Review your CV and covering letter. Make sure you have your pitch nailed down.
  • Read about and around the sector you 'e applying to so you can demonstrate Commercial Awareness.
  • Read the company's website over and over again. Interviewers will appreciate references to company details, as it shows you've done your homework.
  • Find out where you have to go and how you are going to get there. Allow plenty of time.
  • Make sure you are dressed appropriately in clean, professional attire.
  • Be aware of your shortcomings and think of ways to turn them into learning opportunities. Nobody is perfect, and if you can demonstrate an awareness of your weaknesses and show how you compensate for them, employers will find it difficult to hold them against you.
  • Be tone appropriate. Some interviewers will expect complete professionalism, and some will prefer a bit of banter and charm. Read the room and respond accordingly.
  • Think about what kinds of questions they may ask and prepare your responses. Remember that it is perfectly acceptable to take your time formulating a thoughtful response in the interview, but you don't want to take too long - and that's where your preparation will come in handy.

First Interviews:

The first interview is about demonstrating your ability to perform the role, and how your personality will fit into the company. This is also your opportunity to ask questions about the position and see if you feel the company and the role would be a good fit for your goals.

Second Interviews:

The second interview is a chance for employers to confirm what they thought about you and to ask you more detailed questions. Often the second interview will include a more senior partner.

Coming into the second interview able to demonstrate an even deeper knowledge of the company than you did in the first will show that you are just as interested in them as they are in you. This is why it is good to ask questions in the first interview - it will give you material to go home and read up on in preparation for the next stage.

Types of Interviews

1. Person-to-Person Interviews
These may be one-to-one, or with several members of staff. The interviewer(s) may be from HR, your direct supervisor, or even the head of the department. They may be chatty and informal, or require a more professional language. Remember that every question is asked for a particular reason.

2. Telephone or Video chat Interviews
These are increasingly common, particularly for jobs which may be interviewing candidates from a variety of locations. The techniques required here are the same, but it is especially important to keep your answers concise and to enunciate so the interviewers can understand you over the connection.

3. Stress Interviews
Rarely, an employer may use this type of interview to gauge your reaction to stress. This can include a difficult interview style more akin to interrogation, or even throwing you into the job for a short period of time to see how you react on your feet. These are rare, but they do happen and say a lot about the company and what they will expect from you. If this type of employer isn't for you, it is perfectly acceptable to walk away

Next: Video interviews