You customize your resume to speak to the specific opportunity you’re applying for. You painstakingly write a killer cover letter that’s so good you’d hire yourself if you could. Not all resumes and cover letters are identical, but job interviews are also unique.
The bad news? You probably won’t know what particular kind of animal yours is until you’re actually in the midst of it. That’s why it’s important to plan so you’re prepared for it and make the necessary adjustments seamlessly, whatever comes your way.
Here are some interview types that you should prepare for.
the phone interview
Once the hiring manager has narrowed down the hundreds of resumes they’ve received into a short list. Most begin their hiring process with a phone interview. Phone interviews help them save time by narrowing down their search for candidates. So, only the strongest contenders with skills and experience move on to the in-person interview stage.
Most HR departments will email you when you can expect a call. But some HR managers don’t. Even if you're at the store or your child is upset, you must be prepared to promote yourself immediately.
A good phone interview is easier if you suggest a time when you can think clearly and speak openly. Don't ask about pay, perks, time off, or other small details of your job offer right now. Save that for your in-person interview.
If this is a one-time application, you're good to go. But if you've sent many, keep copies of your resumes and cover letters nearby.
Don't forget to keep it well-marked so you can pull out the right one. The person in charge of hiring will likely review it. Therefore, ensure that your answers align and your questions are appropriate.
the video interview
Businesses utilize technology in their recruitment process. Videocalls is the phone interview beefed up. This is especially true for jobs where distance and location are obstacles. Or where someone in another province or country is interviewing you.
However, you’ll likely know when this interview is coming, as you'll know the date and time for the video call.
Choose a quiet location at your office or home with few visual distractions. You want to look professional even if you’re connecting from your dining room table. Dress and prepare as you would for any professional interview.
We highly recommend pants, too. How incredible it is that you can forget so quickly that you decided not to wear appropriate pants.
You stood up and revealed your pajamas with ducks on them. Not wearing pants is an embarrassing situation waiting to happen, so just avoid it. Putting on some business pants or even jeans for an hour won’t do you any harm.
Dressing professionally will also help you get in the right mindset, even if you’re sitting on your couch.
Before you take your next interview, have a quick look at our tips to ace a video job interview.
the in-person interview
In a regular interview, the hiring manager asks you to come to their office for a face-to-face talk. These tend to be more structured interviews.
Typically, you’ll meet with one person, but don’t be surprised if more people are in the interview. Other team leaders or higher-ups might even invite you to meet with them. Stay cool – remember, you’re prepared – and try to connect with each person who is interviewing you.
Also, showing that you can connect with various individuals in the company can make a good impression. Be flexible. Show your excitement for the job.
Build relationships with team members and leaders. Show your interpersonal skills and genuine interest in being part of the team.
Are you looking for more tips and tricks for an in-person interview? Check out some more brilliant interview tips and tricks that will help you land the job:
- how to answer 17 common interview questions
- how to answer ‘Tell me about yourself’ in an interview
- what to wear to a job interview
the group interview
Group interviews can be challenging. Your success in these interviews depends on two factors. The first factor is your chemistry with potential coworkers. The second factor is how well you stand out.
Your individual performance does not solely determine the decision. A group interview can also be a panel interview when two or more people interview you and the group at the same time.
Group interviews require you to be a good team player. They are looking for someone who connects with the other interviewees in your group and stands out individually. The most important thing in a group interview is to set yourself apart correctly.
Being the one who always speaks up first and doesn’t let anyone get a word in edgewise might make you stand out. However, you’ll probably fail on the teamwork and collaboration portion of the interview, for instance. Find a middle ground between helping the team and showcasing your personal abilities.
the 'let’s grab coffee' interview
This type of interview is harder to read than a typical job interview because it’s seemingly more casual. It could be that your interviewer wants to put you at ease so they can get to know you better. Still, treat it professionally and prepare and respond accordingly. You can be a little more informal in your demeanor, but still, ensure eye contact and proper body language throughout.
Also, always order a coffee or some kind of beverage when you attend one of these interviews. People often agree to meet for ‘coffee’ and then sit stoically with their hands clasped like a formal interview. This can make you seem uptight and defeats the purpose of a casual coffee interview.
Even if you don’t like coffee, take tea, hot chocolate, or something to sip on. Holding a drink can help you relax and be a better interviewee by giving you something to focus on.
the test or working interview
If you've made it this far in the interview process, it means you have probably done well in previous job interviews. The company believes that you are a good fit for the position. You will take the final test before we hire you.
Some industries may require you to demonstrate your skills, which can include:
- taking a quiz
- completing an assignment
- answering questions about a case study
- performing IQ or personality tests
- completing a task using specialized tools/programs
Or they may fire questions about their organization to see if you’ve done any research.
This is a case where your preparation will take you to the finish line. If someone gives you a task to do, don't hesitate to ask questions and learn about your role.
Even though you have the general skills required for the role, every company operates a little differently. Asking questions is completely okay because it demonstrates your investment and curiosity.
One caveat for the ‘working interview’: be sure to limit how much ‘free’ work you’re willing to do. Some unscrupulous employers may ask you to complete a week or more of work before they’ll even consider drafting up a job offer. This is not normal, and you should not expect it of yourself. If your potential employer asks for this, treat it as a huge red flag!
No matter what kind of interview you have, stay positive and remember, at least you got an interview. They want to ensure you're a good fit when they interview you. But you should also interview them to ensure it's right for you.
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