How to be Prepared for any Type of Interview

Estimated reading time ~ 4 min
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Searching for jobs and completing applications takes a lot of time and effort! However, that’s just the beginning of the process. If you land an interview, there are many possibilities of what that could look like. Here, we’ll review the different types of interviews you may encounter, as well as highlight questions you should be able to answer at each stage.

Phone Interview

When preparing for a phone interview, make sure to double check the date and time you are scheduled. Consider the room in which you’ll take the call. If it’s too loud, you will not have a productive conversation. If you live with others, inform them that you are in the process of interviewing so that no one causes a distraction. It is important not to get sidetracked doodling or pacing around while you talk on the phone. A good way to stay focused is to take notes and write down questions so that you don’t interrupt the person speaking. At the end of the phone interview, make sure to ask what the rest of the application process steps will be and ask about general timelines.

Video/Skype Interview

You should make sure that your attire is professional, similar to what you would wear to an in-person interview. When it comes to space, frame yourself on camera to limit distractions in the background. Make sure to test the audio and video before you the interview. Additionally make sure to look at the camera and smile and make eye contact as you would a regular interview. If you stop to take notes, make sure to inform the person on the phone that you are taking notes so that there isn’t any confusion as to why you are staring down.

Pre-recorded Interview

Pre-recorded interviews will ask a series of broad questions about yourself, experience and ambitions. It’s important to read the directions carefully, because some pre-recorded programs offer unlimited attempts to record and others do not. Also, be mindful of looking away from the camera, fidgeting, or shifting your body. These actions are natural in a two way conversation but may be distracting in a solo recording.

Here are some essential questions to be able to answer during a phone, pre-recorded or videa/skype interview: What interests you about the position? How did you hear about the position? What are you looking for in a new role?

Essential questions to ask: Can you tell me about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role? Can you describe the culture of the office? Why do you like working in this company? What are the top skills needed for this role? What are the next steps?

In-person Interviews

The very most important thing is making sure to arrive early! You should plan your commute way in advance and leave room for mistakes to happen. Bring copies of your resume even if not asked, this will show how prepared you are. Make sure to bring more resumes than you think you’ll need because the interview agenda may change last minute. And if you are asked to bring an artistic portfolio, make sure the images are large enough to view from across a desk or table. Also have a link to the digital portfolio on your resume.Dress professionally and comfortably. Try on the clothes a few days before the interview so that you have time to plan for any last minute changes. During the interview, remember to talk about yourself and your experience. The interview is not a test of your knowledge of the company, but a chance to present yourself against the company.

Panel Interview

Panel interviews can have anywhere from 2-5 interviewers. If you are given the names and positions of who is going to be on the panel, search them up on LinkedIn and think of one thing to remember each of them by. During the interview, make sure to intentionally direct your questions to different people. If you made a strong connection with someone, ask them for their business card at the end and thank them. After the interview, if you have each individual email you can thank them separately. Include a specific line or two, so that they know the email is personal. If you don’t have everyone’s email address, email the recruiter or the person who arranged the interview and ask them to thank the panel.

Final Interview

You’ve made it!! Final interviews may happen after other sequential interviews on the same day as other interviews. However, it you have the opportunity to have a final interview at a later date, do as much research to try to answer any questions you have. Final interviews are a great opportunity to show how much you have learned from the previous interviews.

If salary has not been mentioned up to this point, the final interview is the best time to request that information. This is also a great time to ask about office culture, logistics and work life balance. Make sure that you mention some of the items talked about in the previous interviews so that the interviewer is sure you have been following along.

Essential questions to be able to answer during an in-person interview: What do you know about the company? Why do you want to work at this company? Describe a challenge you've faced at work and how you managed it? How would you people in your life describe you?

Essential questions to ask: What challenges should one expect in the role? What will my first 90 days look like? What will I be expected to accomplish?

No matter the interview type, make sure to be as professional as possible. You may find yourself in an informal/impromptu Interview during an information session or open house. Still take the opportunity to align your experience with the company. And get as much insight into what the next steps could be.

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