Interview formats – how and where interviews are conducted – vary widely from company to company and include telephone, video conferencing, in-person, one-on-one, career fair, panel, and even group format interviews.
Phone interviews are usually used to determine whether a candidate is worth bringing in for an in person interview. If an interviewer calls unexpectedly, feel free to ask to set up an alternative time or for time to change phones or close the door (take a deep breath and get your notes at the same time). Be sure you have a dependable connection with no background noise – a landline is best. If you must use a cell phone, ask the interviewer if the connection is okay. Eliminate distractions and focus on the call. Do not type or eat during a phone interview.
Your phone presence is important. Build rapport at the onset of the conversation just as you would in person. Enunciate your words and speak slowly – particularly if you are not conversing in your native language. Be aware of tone, pitch and phone mannerisms. Smiling and standing can help keep your voice varied and energy level high which will help keep the interest of the interviewer.
One advantage of a phone interview is you can use notes to help keep you on track. Keep your resume and a list of examples of your accomplishments in front of you, but avoid scripting answers. Remember, your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. At the end of the interview, be sure to thank the interviewer, ask about next steps and indicate your interest in the job.
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When interviewing over Skype or other live video-conferencing platform you should be aware of what the interviewer is seeing. Be sure that the background projects a professional atmosphere and there aren’t any obvious distractions. Angle the camera as to provide the best view of you without distortion. You will tend to talk to the image of the interviewer so be sure to line your screen up with your camera. Be aware of your movement – sudden movements or nervous ticks can be accentuated and quite distracting to the listener/observer. Dress as you would in an in person interview, with added attention to color and shades – blues do well on video while reds can video too bright. Solids are least distracting. Watch How to Handle a Job Interview Over Skype for a visual demonstration. Practice interviewing with InterviewStream. Contact us to obtain free access and registration information.
For efficiency or for strategic collaboration, some companies have more than one person interview a candidate at the same time. When you are in a “panel interview” you need to speak to all of the interviewers. Take the time at the onset to greet each person as an individual – shake hands and engage with each interviewer. If necessary, write down the name of each person in the room so you can address them by name.
Strive to be relevant to all the interviewers. This will require you to highlight what is important to each perspective in the room. In answering a question, first address the panelist who asked the question and then add other aspects that might be relevant to the other panelists. After the interview send an individual and unique, if possible, thank you note to each participant of the panel.
Group interviews can be used by employers to evaluate candidates’ teamwork, interactive style ... and sometimes one-ups-manship. A group interview tests a multiple applicants together – sometimes with exercises or questions that require collaboration. Exhibiting creativity, confidence and effective leadership will help you positively stand out in the group. The key is to strike a balance between cooperation and listening to help steer the group to a solution.