A quick look at the various types and styles of job-related interviewing followed by different organisations/ employers.
There are various types and styles of job-related interviews. Apart from the usual one-to-one or one-to-panel face to face interview, there is the telephone interview in which there is a great saving in time and energy spent for travel.
Often the telephone interview would be the first stage, to be followed by a face-to-face interview of the candidates selected at the first stage. We discussed in some detail the stress interview and the behavioural interview during the past weeks. Let us now have a quick look at some of the other interview styles followed by employers.
This has the limited objective of confirming the claims of the candidates in respect of their qualifications and professional attainments. There would be questions based on the data furnished in the resume submitted by the candidates. Comparison of attainments of different candidates would be easy if the data are gathered in a digital format. Candidates who do not fall in line with the prescribed norms would be eliminated, thereby saving further efforts at the next stages of evaluation and assessment. Often, the screening may be done over the phone.
You should pay attention to ensure that there is no inconsistency or mismatch in the information you provide in your resume. Long gaps or periods of inactivity in your resume may not be to your advantage. This emphasises the need for your engaging yourself in some creative or useful work, and not remaining idle for long spells. Further, employers are likely to assess the value of your service in relation to your cost.
You should present all relevant information about yourself with clarity in a straightforward manner. Your expressions should be simple and direct. You should not try to cover up any weakness or drawback through vague expressions. The interviewer would be interested in gathering specific details about yourself in the shortest possible time. The questions would be direct; so the answers should also be the same way.
There may not be total unanimity in the definitions of group discussion, group interview, and panel interview. The same phrase may mean different things to different people.
A group discussion usually involves 10-12 candidates sitting around a table and discussing the diverse aspects of a controversial topic for 25-30 minutes. The judges will observe and assess their performance, but may not interfere with the proceedings. In a panel interview, a number of interviewers sit together and interview a candidate. The members of the panel may be drawn from different departments of the organisation.
The ‘group interview' involves a situation wherein a number of candidates meet simultaneously one or more interviewers in a small assembly. A company official who is an interviewer may make a quick presentation on the company. It would be followed by a question and answer session, where the candidates can participate effectively if they have already made appropriate preparation. Remember that a person can be assessed from the quality of his questions. The style of interaction, the quality of ideas and expressions, and the overall approach of each candidate would be observed and judged carefully.
Sometimes the candidates may be split into smaller groups and asked to perform some task with a bearing on the job. Each team will then make a presentation on its work. The interviewers would assess attributes such as interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, team spirit, knowledge, insight, ease in communication, and problem-solving ability.
A well-groomed candidate who can introduce himself well in a few words will generate a fine first impression. You should be prepared to do it. You may indicate your favourite area of work and your most important passion, without blowing your own trumpet. Admiring innovative ideas in others, participating actively in the proceedings in a pleasant manner, and not jumping into arguments are positive points. Never be aggressive. Be courteous to all. Control your body language. Remain confident.
This style of interview does not aim at securing an immediate appointment. The purpose is limited to gathering information about a specific career and the various opportunities it offers. The candidate interacts with experienced hands in the line, as part of job-hunting through planned networking. There would be no reference to any specific job opening. However, talking to people working in your chosen field will help you to gain a better understanding of the concerned industry, and to refine your career path. Further, it will develop your confidence in facing job interviews.
Sometimes the informational interview may lead to your appointment in a job position. The chances for such appointments are not few, since many vacancies are not advertised. Selection may be from candidates who come in contact with the employers. This stresses the reason for giving your best presentation and creating a fine impression, although you initiate a meeting with the limited objective of gathering information. Some employers would be maintaining a database of available talent for appointment on a later occasion. If you make a good impression in the meeting, you may be blessed with an appointment afterwards. Do not forget to give the interviewer your card or contact information. So also, sending a thank-you note after the interview is important.
Before you go for the interview, plan your questions well. Anyone would feel flattered if he is given an opportunity to describe the intricacies and prospects of his profession. Listen carefully to what the interviewer tells you. You have to acknowledge his comment with an admiring node or positive expression. Your intellectual curiosity should be transparent. You may explain your background and interests as briefly as possible. Give him more time, so that you gather the finer points of the profession. You should never to try to dominate the discussion. Your manners should be pleasing.
In this you may be interviewed by two or more interviewers. Each interviewer would view from his special angle. This style will give the employer insights of different people on your skills and personality.
The members of the interviewing team will have a clear understanding of the specific goal of the exercise. They work with a spirit of total co-operation.
The interviewers may take turns and interact with you one after the other in a series. Alternatively, a few of them may ask you questions simultaneously as in a one-to-panel interview. Remember that each interviewer has his own separate agenda. So you have to pay special attention to each one of them with care. The interviewers may be holding various responsible positions in the company. It is a good idea to know each member of the interview team by name and job positions. You should make each interviewer feel that you give profound importance to him. Be constantly alert. Prepare well on basics as for any conventional interview.
When the interview board has problems in making a final choice from the short-listed candidates, it may summon the candidates once again and hold a second interview. You have to maintain consistency in your approach. You can confirm the picture you first presented, and furnish useful additional information if any. In any case, you get an opportunity to cement the rapport you have already built. The second interview may be a routine follow-up interview in certain companies.
In this, you meet an executive of the company which you are leaving. Perhaps, the company wants to study the causes of your leaving and make corrective measures in the company for better employee retention, It is not essential that you attend it. But it is advisable that you attend and depart with no malice or ill feeling. It is indeed a good thing if you can leave a good impression even as you depart. The possibility of your re-joining the company on a later occasion cannot be ruled out.