Friday Favorites – Different Types of Interviews

With graduation only two months away, many seniors are in the midst of their job hunt. One-on-one interviews are becoming less common, making way for unconventional types of interviews, such as phone interviews and group interviews. In this week’s Friday Favorites, I’m going to spotlight five types of interviews and tips on how to ace them.

Interview Pictures

One-on-One Interview

This is definitely the most common type of interview. These can also be the most nerve-wracking! At one point or another, you’ve probably experienced a one-on-one interview, where one person interviews you in their office or another private room. The tips below will help you calm your nerves before the interview and have confidence all the way through.

  • Be prepared. Do your research on the company beforehand so you won’t struggle to come up with answers having to do with the company.
  • Assemble a survival kit! For example, bring along a bottle of water, breath mints, hand sanitizer, lotion, and extra business cards. This tip came from the Top 5 Interview Tips Nobody Mentions.
  • Be confident. Even if you aren’t – pretend to be. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer, smile and be engaged in the conversation.
  • Body language says a lot about who you are. The way you stand, interact and how you talk can say volumes more than what you are actually saying.
  • Here is where you can talk all about your achievements, your proudest moments, or when you solved a problem at your previous job. Own it!
  • For more in-depth tips, check out a previous blog post, Top Interview Tips, and for advice on how to answer frequently asked questions, read Common Interview Questions & Answers.

Phone Interview

The good thing about phone interviews is that you can be more relaxed – not to mention, you can have notes sitting on your desk! What should you include on your ‘cheat sheet’? A short history of the company, bullet points highlighting your career-related achievements, and questions to ask the employer.

  • Prepare. Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone, a glass of water with you, a copy of your resume, your planner, and a notepad and pen handy so you can take notes if you wish.
  • Disable phone features, such as noise notifications if you get a text message or beeping noises if someone else calls you.
  • Plan to be at a quiet location when your interviewer calls. Your bedroom or study room is a good place to be. If you have pets, tie them outside or lock them in another room. You don’t want to be distracted playing with Fido while your interviewer asks you why you quit your previous job.
  • Give yourself time. Some people try to squeeze a phone interview in during their lunch break, but most interviews these days take about a half hour. Always plan for the unexpected.
  • While it’s a good idea to have notes to reference, be careful not to doodle or zone off.
  • It sounds silly, but don’t forget to smile! ‘Smiling will express confidence and positivity, even if the employer can’t see your face,’ according to USA Today College.

Skype Interview

With the advancement of technology, having an interview over Skype is more common than you think. While phone interviews might be the preferred way to interview, interviewing via video can present its own advantages.

When I was studying abroad in Ireland, I didn’t have access to a telephone, so the only way I could interview for this social media internship is over Skype. Luckily for me, I didn’t experience any internet connection hiccups. Skype interviews can be very tricky, but these tips should prepare you for one!

  • Perfect your video background setting. Check which angle gives you the best lighting (natural lighting is the best), make sure the background is clean, and test your microphone and volume.
  • Check your background. ‘Beer bottles, dirty laundry and your 12 cats shouldn’t be visible!’ via 5 Ways to Wow an Interviewer via Video.
  • Set up a back-up plan. If, for some reason, your internet shuts down or the connection is very fuzzy, plan with your interviewer a second time to interview or to do it over telephone.
  • Sit up tall, relax your shoulders, and make sure the camera angle is a flattering one. You have power over the video and how it can make you look. Make it work to your advantage!
  • Dress professionally. Even if the interviewer won’t be able to see below your collarbone, if you need to get up to grab an important document, your planner or to get a glass of water, you don’t want your interviewer to see you wearing sweatpants with your blazer.
  • As hard as this is, make sure you look into the camera, not the computer screen. This is one of the most noticable errors interviewers make.

Group Interviews

Group interviews are used when there are a number of positions to fill, or when the position includes having to work with other coworkers most of the time. There might be a potential situation that you and your group will have to figure out, working on a team-building exercise and possibly a personal assessment to finish with. Some employers choose to interview candidates in groups to assess how you work in a team, your leadership skills and interpersonal skills.

  • Remember – you will be watched from the moment you enter to the moment you leave. This type of interview will test your behaivor and personality, so be on your best behaivor!
  • Dress to impress. People may think that group interviews are more relaxed than one-on-one interviews, but they’re not. Dress for this interview as you would for a one-on-one interview.
  • Be prepared for role-playing activities. These type of activities will test your ethics.
  • Good communication, listening, and team playing is key in this type of interview. Here is a review: what is communication? The process of transferring signals or messages between a sender and receiver through various methods. These include written words, nonverbal clues and spoken words, according to How To Develop Good Communication Skills.
  • Don’t take over the group discussion, but don’t sit in the corner staring at the floor. Balance is key. Contribute to the discussion and encourage the shy group members to speak up as well.
  • You need to stand out among many other candidates. Put on your game face, be a team player, and you’ll be sure to ace that group interview!

Lunch or Dinner Interviews

The last type of common interview I’ll go over is the interview over lunch or dinner. These might occur when your interviewer wants to ‘evaluate your social skills and see if you can handle yourself gracefully under pressure,’ according to Alison Doyle for About.com. Interviewing over a meal can be stressful as it is, but hopefully these tips will help you succeed!

  • Prepare for these kinds of interviews by attending etiquette dinners hosted by your university. They will teach you all about table manners and social skills.
  • Check out the restaurant ahead of time to find out what kind of food they serve and where the bathrooms are located. This will hopefully prevent anxiety the day of the interview!
  • If your interviewer has been to the restaurant before, ask them what their favorite dish is. They’ll be flattered that you want non-career-related advice from them.
  • How you treat a waiter says a lot about you. Be polite to everyone you come in contact with.
  • Follow the lead of your host or interviewer. Don’t start eating before them and always engage them in conversation.
  • Your interviewer will be expected to pay for the tab and tip. To thank them, follow up with a personalized thank you note.

Career & Leadership Development holds mock interviews for most of these interviews listed above. If you’re nervous about an upcoming interview, the career advisors would be more than happy to conduct a mock interview with you. Hopefully the advice above will help you in your next interview!

Photos by francoisepSos.de, Tamaki Sono and Dominic Alves.