Types of Job Interview

Types of job interview

There are several different types or styles of job interview you may come across amongst our clients. It is important to remember that no two job interviews are the same and you can always improve your interview style and preparation. We have prepared some general hints and tips on the most common or frequently used interview techniques that you are likely to encounter through our agency.

The traditional job interview - sample questions

Sometimes job interviews follow a more traditional format (quite common with people who are not used to job interviewing). The following is a list of typical job interview questions which may arise in one form or another. It is a good idea to reflect on the sort of answer you might give before a job interview but it is unwise to learn answers off pat as you risk coming across as unnatural and not genuine. It is a good idea to back your answers up with examples taken from your own work experience.

  • Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large organisation?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What qualities do you think this job requires?
  • Why do you want to work for this organisation?
  • What have you got to contribute?
  • What can we offer you that your previous organisation cannot offer?
  • How long have you been looking for a new job?
  • What do you know about this organisation?
  • What interests you about this organisation?
  • What are you looking for in a new job?
  • What would be your ideal job?
  • What sorts of jobs are you considering at the moment?
  • What did you do on a day to day basis?
  • What do you not like about the job?
  • How did you make a difference to your last organisation?
  • How successful are you?
  • What was your greatest success and how did you achieve it?
  • What has been your biggest failure?
  • How could you improve yourself?
  • How did you progress in your last job?
  • How do you handle criticism?
  • How do you work with others?
  • Do you need other people around to stimulate you?
  • Are you accepted into a team quickly?
  • Give me an example of when you took initiative to solve a problem?
  • What motivates you?
  • Are you competitive?
  • What problems did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
  • Do you feel you are ready to take on greater responsibilities?
  • What are you like under pressure?
  • How many hours are you prepared to work?
  • What are your career goals?
  • How did you get on with your last manager/colleagues?
The team job interview - how to cope with them

In an effort to get a well-rounded perspective on job candidates, many companies ask numerous people to participate in the selection process. Depending on the level of job you are seeking, you may interview with an HR specialist, the hiring manager, the hiring manager’s boss and even staff members who would be your peers. In small companies you may have to sell yourself to the entire staff.

This team approach means that many different people interview you and then get together to debate whether they like you well enough to hire you. Sometimes, each person on the interview asks a different lot of questions. Other times, they all ask the same thing. This can happen by design, if the organisation wants to see whether you change your answers along the way.

You will need to be sure to connect with each person. Be sure to have eye contact with the person asking the questions and to glance at the other team members while answering the question to be sure that you are connecting with each individual.

Be sensitive to the dynamics in the team. If they seem to want to control the interview, relax and flow with it, on the other hand be sure to offer information and ask questions.

Take responsibility for ensuring that the group understands what you have to offer. The best approach is to be sensitive and adapt your approach to the group. Don’t be overly aggressive and take over, yet do interact and show your enthusiasm.

Each person's opinion can be weighted equally; in some cases, just one team member's opposition can disqualify a candidate. Sometimes it is unclear what role or position the person holds therefore you need to be respectful of everyone you meet.

The behavioural job interview - some tips

The interviewer asks specific questions seeking information about a candidate’s skills, character and preferences based on examples of past behaviour. During the Behavioural job interview, questions are directed toward specific experiences. Some examples follow:

"Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person at a work."

"What proactive steps have you taken to make your workplace more efficient and productive? Specifically describe a policy, project or system you created or initiated."

"Describe a high pressure situation you had to handle at work. Tell me what happened, who was involved and what you did in terms of problem solving."

"Some situations require us to express ideas or opinions in a very tactful and careful way. Tell me about a time when you were successful in this type of situation."

The key in behavioural job interviewing is to paint a picture of the reasons and thinking about the decision or behaviour without bringing in unessential details. It is expected that forming an answer will take time. Think your examples through.

Be aware of the tendency to become too relaxed and reveal information that you didn’t intend to share. You need to do your part to foster the conversational tone, but don’t become so relaxed that you start straying from the point. Be friendly, stay professional.

Questions from you

Try to think of some questions to ask at the interview. If you have researched the company well, you will be able to come up with questions concerning the organisation. You may also like to find out more about your responsibilities in the role, the organisations long and short term aims, training opportunities, overall organisational structure and what they would hope you achieve in the first six months.

Other things to remember:

  1. Find out what happens next with the interview process and express your interest (if it is genuine!)
  2. You may consider writing a letter to thank the interviewer for their time and to express your interest again.
  3. Let your consultant know your feedback as soon as possible. It is important for us to know what you thought of the organisation, the role, the people who interviewed you and your impression of how you performed in the interview. Please also let us know if you are interested in taking the job if it were to be offered to you.