Tip to Nailing Job Interviews
Laid off? Looking to climb the corporate ladder? Unsure about whether you have found your passion at work? Returning to work after having a child or recovering from a disability?
One of the most difficult parts of returning to work, beginning to work or making a career transition is learning how to handle interviews. Most people do not realize that there are several different interview approaches and styles that employers can use to help determine the best candidates. Often these approaches are based on internal corporate culture that a career coach can help you identify and orient you toward.
There are four main types of selection interview approaches. Employers often use a combination of all of the above.
- Traditional interviews tend to be the most widely used technique. In these interviews, employers ask questions that pertain to a job and your qualifications. The interviewer often asks about what you would do in certain hypothetical situations similar to those that might arise on the job. An employer often asks similar questions of all candidates in these situations in order to compare them and distinguish them from each other.
- Behavioral interviews are based on the idea that past performance and actions to predict how a candidate will perform in similar situations in the future. You might be asked questions that are designed to illicit information about previously demonstrated capabilities, personal qualities and weaknesses. In traditional interviews, questions are often open-ended and hypothetical. In behavioral interviews, questions tend to be focused on your performance in an actual situation. For example, in a traditional interview, an interviewer might ask, “How would you handle a disagreement with a peer on your team?” In a behavioral interview, the questioner might ask, “Tell me about a time when you worked on a project where team members disagreed.”
- Case interviews, often typical in management consulting and analytical positions, focus on hypothetical situations that can be ambiguous. The purpose is to test your analytical and problem solving skills in assessing the situations and developing a solution.
- Technical interviews, common in science and technology positions, focus on solving actual problems that potential employees could experience on the job.
Preparing for traditional interviews often focuses on your work history while behavioral interview preparation often involves learning how to use the STAR framework – Situation/Task, Actions and Results – to provide answers that give interviewers a solid idea of how you will perform in a situation. Case interview preparation often involves familiarizing yourself with the employer and having a strong grapse of standard techniques, probabilities and statistics. Case interview preparation often involves making sure you understand the situations, that you can think logically about the problem, that you can structure your response and have an innovative and concise conversation. Technical interviews often involve studying the core knowledge base of the field.
Not knowing the type of interview you are likely walking into is likely to harm your ability to succeed. Learning about each type leaves you prepared for virtually anything that can be thrown at you.
In addition to the selection interview approaches, prospective employees need to be able to develop skills that allow them to send the right message through a variety of different styles of interviewing, including face-to-face interviews; panel interviews; videoconferencing and Internet interviewing and mock interviews (in our company, prospective coaches are often asked to coach a client in front of a panel of employees). Preparing for these types – including the surprises – can be difficult without the help of a seasoned professional.
Our career coaches specialize in being able to sort out the different types of interviewing skills need for specific positions and how to best convey your skill set in each medium.