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Always check with the employer in advance so you know what type of interview to expect, as there are a variety of styles and formats.
Phone interviews are commonly used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. Without visual and body language cues, telephone interviews rely heavily on the content in your answers, and your ability to project enthusiasm and interest in your voice. (see Phone Interview handout)
This typically includes a company and position presentation to multiple candidates simultaneously and group interactions such as work simulation exercises. Employers use this type of interview to assess things like communication, interpersonal, team and leadership skills, as well as how you handle stress. Introduce yourself to the other candidates before the interview begins. Actively participate – which includes listening- but don’t interrupt others or dominate the conversation. Watch your non verbal communication and pay attention to all of the interviewers for valuable clues.
Various representatives involved in the hiring process meet with a candidate at the same time. Because rapport is so important in an interview and difficult to establish with each person on a panel, take the opportunity when you are introduced to look each person in the eye, greet her/him using her/his name and shake hands.
As you answer questions respond by making eye contact and using the name of the person who asked the question, then include the rest of the panel in your answer. As you answer, try to cross reference answers you’ve previously made (if it’s appropriate), but don’t simply repeat your previous answer. When preparing questions be sure to include ones that are relevant to each person’s role within the organization.
At the conclusion of the interview be sure to get business cards for all panel members in order to send them a thank-you note.
Many employers use an approach called “behavioral interviewing.” This consists of the employer asking you to describe your skills and experience by telling brief stories about tasks, responsibilities, successes or failures.
Examples of behavioral questions include:
Answers to behavioral questions should describe specific situations where your actions are the focus. (see S.T.A.R. Strategy) Often, behavioral questions are used to assess skills required by the position, such as time management, teamwork, initiative, organizational and communication skills.
This style is usually seen in interviews for management consulting and investment banking but is also used in other industries. Candidates are given a case – a set of facts – to analyze and solve. Generally interviewers are looking at the approach used as much as the answer. Be sure to build a logical framework for answering the question. It is generally expected that you will ask questions. Interviewers are usually assessing quantitative and analytical skills, problem – solving, communication, listening ability, creativity, flexibility, the ability to think quickly under pressure. It is imperative to prepare for this style of interview, do not “wing it” – research the company you’re interviewing with- companies often post guides to “acing the case interview.”