When you are making arrangements for the interview, try to determine what type of interview the employer uses so that you are not surprised during the meeting. Here are several different types and tips for how to succeed with each of them:
Screening. Screening interviews are conducted to provide the employer an initial impression of your attitude and interest and to eliminate candidates based on essential criteria. Screening interviews may be conducted by phone or in-person, and they may call without an appointment. Have your job search records organized and resume handy. Even though you may not be meeting with the final decision maker, it is important to take the screening interview seriously and treat it as you would a “regular” interview.
Selection. This interview features in-depth questions to evaluate your qualifications for the position and your ability to fit in. There may be more than one interview at this stage. Establish a connection with everyone you meet and sell yourself as a natural addition to the team.
Group or panel. Several people ask questions on your qualifications and assess how you fit with the team. The interview may include other candidates for the position. Direct your answer to the person who asked the question, but keep some eye contact with the group. If other candidates are present, introduce yourself and be polite. Volunteer to respond first to a few questions, but do not dominate the entire interview. Compliment another candidate’s response and then build on it with your own thoughts.
Behavioral. The interviewer will ask questions that require you to describe how you have handled work-related situations. Think of a few examples ahead of time. Use examples that illustrate your skills and give a good impression of you.
Work sample. You may be asked to provide samples of your work, such as a portfolio display, a presentation, solving a typical problem, or other demonstration of your skills. Consider different ways to describe the projects in your portfolio. Practice your presentation until it is smooth.
Peer group. You may be asked to meet with your prospective coworkers to determine how you fit with the team. Treat every member of the team with respect and try to build a rapport with each person.
Meal. The interview may be conducted in a restaurant to assess how well you handle yourself in social situations. Choose a light meal (and not too messy) to eat so you can focus on answering questions and pay attention to the conversation.
Stress. The questions are intended to make you uncomfortable and to test how you will handle stress on the job. Keep your cool and take your time in responding to the questions. Don't take anything personally.
Video Conference.The employer may use technology to allow people from different locations to participate without traveling. You might consider practicing before a video camera, mirror, or via Skype, if facing a camera during an interview makes you nervous.
Job Fair. This mini-interview might last only a few minutes and is similar to a screening interview. Prepare for and treat this interview as you would a regular interview. If you can, research the company beforehand and make your best impression on the interviewer to stand out from the crowd.
Third, Fourth, and More. The process is dragging on and you are getting discouraged. Try to stay upbeat and treat each interview with equal importance and preparation. Be sure to continue your job search activities as there is no guarantee that a job offer is forthcoming.