Different Types of Job Interviews
In this article you learn how to adapt to various interview settings and circumstances with confidence and composure.
Most job interviews take place in an office somewhere on the premises of the hiring company. The entire encounter is focused on a traditional structure of questions and answers in a conventional office setting.
But interviews often take place under circumstances far different from the customary one-on-one office setting. Each situation calls for a set of behaviors appropriate to the particular interview circumstances.
The Telephone Interview
An interview can take place over the telephone for a variety of reasons. The company may be located at a distance from the job applicant, or perhaps the applicant or hiring manager is out of town. Or the interview may be a basic screening call, with a set of rote questions being asked to determine fundamental qualifications.
Whatever the situation, follow these simple rules to handle a telephone interview wisely:
1. Do not go ahead with the interview if you are not prepared. Make arrangements to call back at a later time that same day.
2. Do not try to give an interview with the children screaming, the dog barking, or the television on in the background. Set yourself up in a quiet space or call back later.
3. If you are expecting potential employers to call your home, you may want to change that silly answering machine message to one that sounds more professional. Keep it brief and do not play music or permit any background noises. Try something like, "You have reached 555-1111. Please leave a message, and we'll return your call as soon as possible. Thank you."
4. Because the interviewer can't see you, it is more difficult to establish rapport over the telephone. Try to arrange a face-to-face meeting as the next step.
5. With today's technology, telephone interviews may include conference calls with several interviewers participating at one time. This can be confusing. It is perfectly acceptable to ask that a question be repeated or to ask who is speaking. Make sure to write down the names of all participants at the beginning of the call and refer to them by name throughout the interview.
6. Listen very carefully at the beginning of the phone conversation to get the caller's correct name and ]ob title. You may need to refer to it later. If you don't catch it the first time around, ask the caller politely to repeat his or her name. Say something like, "I'm very glad to hear from you. I have been hoping XYZ Company would call. But I'm sorry; I didn't catch your name. Could you repeat it please?"
7. As with any interview, write a thank-you note to the caller. A well written thank-you note can never hurt and can be the deciding factor on who gets the job.
Choose Face-to-Face: If you are given the choice between a telephone interview and a personal meeting, go for the personal meeting. You are much more likely to establish a relationship and impress the interviewer in person.
The Stress Interview
A current trend in interviewing is to put the job candidate through a highly stressful interview situation so that his reaction to stress can be observed. The interviewer might suddenly adopt a cynical, abusive tone, and fire tough questions at the candidate. Most applicants leave the stress interview with the impression that the interviewer didn't trust or like them.
You can be assured that it's nothing personal. The interviewer is merely evaluating your ability to handle stress.
If you encounter one of these stress interview situations, remember these tips:
1. Ask yourself if you want to work for an organization that asks its Job candidates to endure such pressure. If the company wants to see your reaction to stress, it probably means that the job you are applying for is very stressful. Do you thrive on stress or avoid it?
2. Keep calm and don't get offended. The interviewers are purposefully trying to agitate you. Realize that it is a game, and play it cool.
3. Don't give wishy-washy answers. Express 100 percent conviction in your ability to do the job. If the interviewer perceives that he is eroding your confidence, you have lost points.
4. If the interview tactic succeeds in offending you so much that you decide on the spot that you would never accept a position with that organization, don't reveal your feelings during the interview. Stick it out to the end, and then turn down the offer if you get one. It never pays to throw an interview, even if you know you don't want the job. The company could become useful to you later.
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