Congratulations! You’ve made it through to the interview stage of your job hunt. That really is fantastic news, and you should be very proud of yourself for getting this far. It’s now time to start brushing up on those all-important interview skills!
When it comes to the interview process, preparation is key, so it’s imperative to find out what format your interview is going to take. The more that you know about the style of the interview, the better you can adequately plan, practice and shine!
In this article, we’ve compiled the top ten most common interview formats and what you can expect from each one.
1. Chronological interview
This is the traditional, old school style of interview, where you sit down with a solo interviewer, or sometimes a panel, and answer a series of questions based on your CV. Whilst this may appear to be a softer option, make sure that you know your CV inside out and that you can account for any gaps that there may be.
2. Portfolio based interview
This type of interview is common in the design, digital and communications industries. You’ll either be asked to bring your portfolio along with you to the interview or to show it online. It may sound obvious but always make sure that your work is up to date, and if you are showing your portfolio online, test it beforehand to check that it all works ok!
3. Case study interview
Used primarily by management consultants, professional service firms and for positions which require specific skill sets, case study interviews present a candidate with a client situation, where you’ll be expected to analyse a problem and offer the best fit solution to tackle it.
4. Presentation style interview
Asking candidates to deliver a presentation as part of their interview is becoming increasingly common, especially for senior positions and industries where strong communication skills are vital, such as teaching. Potential employees may ask you to prepare a presentation on a specific topic in advance or possibly to do a blind presentation, where you won’t know the subject area until the day of the interview itself!
5. Technical interview
This type of interview is designed to evaluate your technical ability, usually in relation to the specialist knowledge required for the role that you’re applying for or the organisation that you’re hoping to work for. However, be aware that some questions may also focus less on the technical and more on how you think, such as problem-solving exercises and numerical reasoning.
6. Competency based interview
A competency based interview allows your potential employer to assess whether you have the right skills for the job that you’re applying for. These will usually be detailed in the job profile/specification, so be sure to read it thoroughly and have your answers ready for common questions on topics such as teamwork, problem-solving and how you handle difficult situations.
7. Strengths based interview
Unlike a competency based interview, a strengths based interview focuses on what you enjoy doing, rather than what you’re able to do. With its foundations in positive psychology, the theory behind this type of interview format is that by recognising your strengths and matching them to the role, you’ll be happier in your work. This will then lead to you performing better, learning quicker and staying with your employer for longer.
8. Behavioural interview
Behavioural based job interviews focus very much on how you’ve handled various work situations previously. The interviewer will ask questions about your past work experiences to find out if you have the skills, abilities and personality that they’re looking for.
9. Situational interview
Similar to a behavioural interview, however in a situational scenario you’ll be given a hypothetical situation and asked how you would handle it. If you’re attending this type of interview, prepare particular examples of how you’ve successfully handled real-life situations in previous roles, as using these will be more effective than saying what you ‘could’ do.
10. Stress interview
A stress interview is quite rare and usually used for roles where you’re likely to be under a lot of pressure! As the name suggests, these interviews test a candidate’s ability to handle stress and assess how they perform under challenging conditions. This is done by creating an uncomfortable environment, so a prospective employer can gain insight into how you would react to demanding situations on the job.
Want to find out more about how to prepare for your all-important interview?
If you find the interview process nerve-wracking and would like some extra support, then please contact me to book an introductory 30-minute consultation where we can talk through your concerns and I’ll explain how I can help.