The Job Interview Guide:
A List of Different Interview Settings
By Tom Woodie
We tend to think all interviews are the same. You are sitting in a tiny chair, your sweaty hands in your lap, looking up at 3 brooding employers that seem to be taking far too much satisfaction in your suffering. But the truth is there are plenty of different kinds of interviews, and they all share their own unique challenges.
Here is a brief job interview guide to what could be in store for you in the process that lies ahead:
- Telephone Screening Interviews:
When an employer asks you to accept a phone interview, what they are really doing is screening you before inviting you into the office and wasting time and money for the real deal. Your goal in a telephone interview is always to get a face-to-face interview. Check out my article on phone job interviews to get a sense of how you can do that.
- One-on-One Interviews:
Some employers will put you through a series of one-one-ones with various people in the company. Treat every interview as the FIRST interview. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking because they made it to the second they have already gained some ground, but each of those interviewers is someone completely new with all the power to stop your advance right where they sit.
- Behavioral and Situational Interviews:
These are interviews when you will be asked to give stories of specific situations in which you used certain skills or faced challenges. Be well prepared with SMART stories. You do not want to take these off the top of your head, and in fact, you should prepare stories for any of these situations in this job interview guide.
- Stress and Brain Teaser Interviews:
It’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t always expected to have the best answer or completely solve the problem put before you here, although that can help. The important thing is to see how you react under stress and how your problem solving skills are. So don’t freak out and start choking out another interview because you’re frustrated.
Any job interview guide would tell you to stay calm and collected. You can ease your own stress and clarify your own thoughts by sharing the thought processes you’d like to go through to solve the problem. Another nice thing about that trick is that if you don’t get it right, at least the employer still gets an idea of how you solve problems.
- Top-Grading Interviews:
This is a series of detailed interviews that analyze your specific competencies and then the results from the different sessions are looked at and compared together. In many cases, the results will follow you into the job and become the foundation for an effort to lead you to top performance. If you’re caught off guard by the specificity of the interviewer, you will typically do much better.
- Speed Interviews:
Quick and dirty—just how you like it. One good thing that can be said about speed interviews is that they are quick and to the point. No wasting words or time. Just relax and have fun with it.
- Panel Group and Peer Interviews:
In this situation, address every person in the interview when you are speaking. Aside from this job interview guide, think back on your speech class and the tricks you were taught to engage the audience. Alternate scanning eye contact with meeting the gazes and nods of listeners and engage with other interviewees.
- Simulation Interviews:
These interviews can be fun as they are more active, and they are designed to allow you to show how well you would do the job. It certainly helps if you have some experience in that position, but realize employers don’t expect you to get it perfect.
- Video Conference and Web Cam Interviews:
While it may be tempting to cut some corners because you like the idea of doing an interview in your socks and boxer shorts, physical appearance is as crucial as ever, if not more, in this type of interview. Less of your body language will be transferred, therefore, what you look like carries more weight.
- Lunch or Dinner Interviews:
Don’t get too excited when you get invited to a meal for an interview. Chances are the employer is picking up the tab, but that doesn’t mean you should make up for all those top ramen nights by ordering the lobster bisque and boxing up leftovers.
This isn’t about nourishment. Order light, pay attention to your table manners, and focus solely on the interview at hand rather than the meal.
While this job interview guide paints a picture of just how varied the interview setting can be, many of the principles we draw from psychology and the art of attraction apply in all of them. It just takes a little tweaking here and there.