On Monday I discussed the interview from the other side of the table – what the interviewer is trying to achieve and the basic process from the company’s point of view. When we are attending an interview for that dream job, every bit of information that we can obtain can help to give us that edge. And looking at interviews from the company’s point of view can help to give us that edge.

So today I want to consider the types of interviews that we may face.

1. The one-on-one interview – often referred to as the structured interview., This is the most common type of interview that we will attend. It is merely a meeting between the company representative and the candidate.

The interview will focus on the main selection criteria and is conducted with a set of questions based on such items as qualification, work experience and main achievements. The personal questions can cover reasons for changing occupation or job; experience in team work; what responsibilities have been undertaken; and ambitions and goals.

The advantage of this type of interview is that everyone is faced with the same opportunity to demonstrate their strengths against consistent criteria. So if you are aware of these, it is an interview that, if you prepare carefully, you have a real chance of presenting a good interview.

2. Panel Interviews – these are often the interview of choice for larger organisation and the public sector. The panel can range between two or six people.

The sort of people that you find sitting on panels are the HR manager, a senior manager, possibly the manager of the section in which the vacancy has occurred, a technical specialist and occasionally a personality advisor. There is an accepted practice to avoid single gender panels and mostly there will always be at least one panel member of the same gender as the candidate.

Prior to the interview the panel will have received details of the position’s key selection criteria, and usually an Interview Questionnaire. Some panels will prepare by deciding which of the members will address which criteria; and some may even allocate questions to specific panel members. But it is the nature of panel interviews that often the direction of the answers will affect the further questions asked. But it is important to know that admissible questions relate only to finding out your ability to do this job.

Panel interviews are quite intimidating, and could be said to favour those who are very confident and outgoing. But if you prepare carefully and take some instruction on how to improve your confidence and presentation skills, you can give an equally impressive panel interview.

3. The Group Interview – this is where a company will bring together several candidates to interact within a group situation. It can consist of discussion on work related topics; there may be team games; problem solving exercises and role playing to demonstrate practical skills. This type of interview is beneficial when the job has a large measure of management or leadership requirement. It allows the company to assess work behaviour, communication and problem solving ability.

If you are not expecting this type of interview it can be totally unnerving and very intimidating. It often favours highly confident candidates with good presentation skills. But again if you take the time to understand the key selection criteria; if you research the type of interview you will be undertaking, you can prepare for this type of interview and while you may not be able to rehearse the precise activities you will be expected to undertake, an knowledge of similar activities will give you the confidence to tackle anything.

While the structured interview is the most often type used to select a candidate, becoming aware of the other types which may occur can remove that fear of the unexpected.

In each of the interview types listed above there is simply one way to tackle them – and that is careful preparation for the interview. It doesn’t matter which type you are faced with, presentation skills will be a factor. Being able to present yourself confidently, having the ability to answer the interview questions coherently, and being aware of the hidden messages your body language is sending out will make you an outstanding candidate for that dream job.

It is a competitive world out there, so why not book in for Trischel’s Interview Skills Workshop being conducted on 26th July and let us help to give you the edge.


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