The way organisations hire employees is constantly evolving. The job interview process is significantly different from what it was 10 years ago, and we’re betting it will be vastly different again 10 years from now. While many recruiters agree that the traditional face-to-face interview is still an essential part of recruitment, some say there are better ways.
Here are six types of job interviews you might experience, with an overview of what to expect and some tips on ensuring success.
Interview Type 1: Assessment centre: This is an extended period of interviews, tasks and assessment exercises, organised by recruiters for groups of candidates. This format is often used for graduate roles where an employer is looking for a larger cohort of candidates. It’s also often used for call centres or project-type roles where a group of people need to be hired for the same type of role starting on the same date. An assessment centre is usually run over several hours – sometimes up to a day – and includes several components such as a presentation from the employer, group exercises and problem-solving tasks, individual exercises, aptitude/psychometric tests, a one-on-one interview, role-plays and simulation exercises.
Assessment centres are a reliable way for employers to gain a well-rounded picture of you as a candidate. To stand out in this type of interview, it’s important to remember that you are constantly being assessed. Interact with others and get involved with the activities, but be yourself and be careful not to dominate situations. Prepare by reading any information the employer sends, practising any parts you can, and making sure you’re well rested – they can be mentally tiring!
Interview Type 2: The sequential interview: This consists of several interviews in succession but with a different interviewer each time. These can also be tiring, not to mention repetitive. Even though you will be interviewed by different people, you may be asked the same questions. Alternatively, each interviewer may ask questions to test different sets of competencies. No matter how many times you have to repeat yourself, be consistent and enthusiastic each time. Gather as many details about the overall process and your interviewers beforehand. If you know the names of your interviewers, prepare a couple of questions relevant to their area of expertise.
Interview Type 3: Problem-solving or case interview: Employers use this style to test candidates’ analytical ability and communication skills. In this type of interview, you will be presented with a problem to solve. You’re not necessarily expected to arrive at the ‘correct’ answer. The interviewer is more interested in your thought process and how you reach your conclusion. They will be assessing your ability to break a problem down and think logically under pressure to solve it. These types of scenarios can also be included in assessment centre format (see above) where you might be expected to solve the problem as part of a team.
Interview Type 4: Panel interview: A panel interview is where one candidate is interviewed by several individuals, and it’s used when an employer wants multiple opinions on who to hire. Panel interviews vary in style, but they’re generally quite formal and will probably include behavioural based questions. Try to remember each interviewer’s name and use it throughout the process. When answering a question, focus on the person who asked the question, but make eye contact with the others. If two or more interviewers ask a similar question, be patient and simply restate your answer using slightly different phrasing.
Interview Type 5: Soft-skills assessments: Personality profile tests have been used by recruiters for many years now. Other tests that measure attitudes, people skills, social skills, emotional/social intelligence and other desired qualities are also becoming more common. These comprehensive tests provide a more realistic view of a candidate’s personality than a recruiter can get from a traditional interview. Some employers will create an ideal employee profile based on high-performing current employees, then use that to assess and rank candidates. You will often be asked to complete these tests online before other evaluations, because this allows organisations to assess larger numbers of candidates faster. In other scenarios, your soft skills may be assessed in person. It’s difficult to ‘practise’ acing a soft skills assessment. Understanding what soft skills are required for the role and highlighting your capacity in these areas during the interview is key. Being able to cite examples demonstrating your competence is helpful. Think about projects or examples where you’ve demonstrated strong communication, critical thinking, decision making, time management, team work, problem-solving skills, and the like.
Interview Type 6: Informal interviews: These aren’t especially new but they’re rising in popularity. Casual settings put people at ease and many recruiters believe they provide a more realistic snapshot of a candidate’s personality than traditional interviews. For example, inviting a candidate out for coffee or lunch and then watching how they interact with waiters or assessing reactions to certain situations can present a truer picture of personality, tolerance, resilience and ability to handle problems. Prepare for this type of interview in the same way you would a traditional interview. Research the company and its products and services, challenges, achievements and competition. Be ready to discuss your background, accomplishments and long-term goals and have some examples or success stories prepared that relate to the role.
There is no doubt that the job-interview process is changing, thanks to new approaches that help organisations get to know candidates better, measure skills more objectively and make smarter hiring decisions. Understanding the different types of job interviews and what to expect is your first step to success.
Do you feel ready for the different types of job interviews conducted today? If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.