Depending on your career field, the type of job, and the company, your job interview experience will vary. Being prepared for the appropriate type of interview will give you a leg up over the competition. Identify the types of interviews and to prepare for in advance and avoid the anxiety over something you were not expecting. You should also prepare for the many types of things an interviewer may be looking for. This article summarizes some of the key areas to be aware of.
Method of Interview
The most basic aspect is the method of interview. It will either be done 1) in person, 2) video conference, or 3) phone only. If in person or video, your body language will be observed, and as such you want to ensure you have an appropriate appearance and body language. More specifically, you want to ensure you maintain sufficient eye contact, have good posture, and give feedback at appropriate times using smiles and nods. Avoid things that make you look restless or nervous, such as being fidgety.
Prepare in advance as needed- if a video interview, test the web conferencing software in advance. Ensure your video, sound and microphone is working. Do a test session with the conferencing solution the company uses, such as Zoom, WebEx, Teams, etc.
Types of Questions
There are multiple methods of interview questions that might be used. A traditional interview will ask simple questions about your work experience, skills, abilities, and training. You should prepare for all of these categories rather than limit yourself to one thing.
It may be helpful to have a resume or notes in front of you to refer to, however it can be seen as a negative if you must refer to notes for something other than harder to remember details such as a date or timeframe.
A case interview is another type of interview situation you may encounter. This is a format where the interviewer will lay out a specific challenging business problem or situation you must solve. You must use your analytical skills to come up a proposed solution. It’s designed to test your reasoning skills, verbal communication abilities, as well as your critical thinking around business processes. The case interview may be interactive, which tests your ability to interact with the interviewer and ask additional questions. The case interview also helps the interviewer assess your soft skills. Case interviews will likely follow a framework such as Profitability, Victor Cheng’s General Business, 4P’s, Pricing, Porter’s, Market Sizing or Market Entry.
Another type of interview seen more frequently in tech companies is the puzzle interview. In the puzzle interview, you will be asked an unusual puzzle question that tests your ability to think fast and creatively. Here’s some samples of puzzle interviews.
If you are offered a second interview, that is a good sign that you are one of the top 2 or 3 candidates. Your second interview will likely include others not in the original interview, typically a higher-level decision maker. That decision maker may very well have the final decision, so don’t be intimidated and try to make a good impression on them. The more subjective feeling someone has about you can make as much difference as what you say. It’s not just about being “right”. If hired, you will be the face of their company, and they need to feel good about that.
Know Your Career Goals
It is good to be prepared for questions about your personal career goals. The company would rather hire someone whose goals align with what is actually possible, and vice-versa avoid hiring someone to do work they dislike. For example, hiring someone who doesn’t want to travel if the job requires significant travel is a poor option for them.
They will also not want to hire someone who is likely to leave soon because they were just settling for a job that is not actually of interest to them. So to have the best chance of success, be ready to talk about why this job aligns with your career goals and why you would like to work for that company. Show some enthusiasm!
There are many possible things the interviewer might be looking for, whether formally or something that informally influences their decision. So be prepared for all that may be applicable. Here is a list of things that could potentially influence the outcome, depending on the type of job and interview style:
- Subject matter knowledge
- Analytical/Problem solving skills
- Well spoken, can articulate things well and not too slow or fast
- Can think
- Ability to listen well, including active listening
- Ability to write well
- Ability to handle stress
- Confidence & Enthusiasm
- Sense of humor
- Team player attributes
- Leadership attributes
- Appropriate body language
- Presentable appearance