How to ace all types of job interview

Job interview main cropped

You’ve been invited for a job interview – congratulations! Interviews aren’t what they used to be though: new technology and increasingly large candidate pools mean there may be a series of steps before – or instead of – a face-to-face interview. But not matter the type of job interview, it’s essential to prepare for the following: you will definitely be asked these questions at some point!

1.      Describe yourself

It sounds simple, but it pays to have something in mind before you’re put on the spot on the big day. You might like to mention the degree you’re studying, a current part-time or casual job role and a favourite pastime or hobby.

2.    What do you know about the role and company?

Make sure you read up about the products or services the company provides, their clients and projects and the company values and philosophies.

3.      Your motivation for applying for the position

Feel free to explain anything that made the job role or company stand out to you during your job search, whether it’s an interesting project they’re working on, the training or mentoring programs or even the company’s commitment to community engagement.

4.     Technical and scenario-based questions

Technical questions are very industry specific, but some examples of scenario-based questions include describing a situation (either in a job role or in general life) where you displayed leadership, faced a challenging problem or worked efficiently in a team. A good strategy is the use the STAR method: describe the situation, task, action and result.

5.      Personality questions

This might include describing your strengths and weaknesses and personal and professional goals. Don’t be afraid to be confidant (but honest) when describing your strengths. With weaknesses, they should preferably be unrelated to the job position and you can share how you’re working on addressing them (i.e. taking a public speaking workshop if you tend to get nervous).

6.      Make sure you prepare some questions of your own

You may like to ask the interviewers some more specific questions about the job role, current projects or their own career path at the company.


Phone interviews

For phone interviews, the most challenging aspect is the lack of non-verbal communication. This makes it even more essential to listen carefully to the interviewer, so choose a quiet and distraction-free setting.

If they have been explaining something at length, you may like to occasionally agree or say “I understand” to communicate your attention. Don’t interrupt the interviewer, but if you accidentally do, just apologise and wait for them to continue. Try to keep your answers to an appropriate length to avoid the job interview turning into a monologue!

You can take advantage of the situation by keeping your resume and any other preparation material on hand, but be wary of hastily looking up information online if you don’t know the answer to a question, as that won’t make a good impression.


Skype interviews

For Skype or other online interviews, make sure you are appropriately dressed and in a well-lit room (experiment with the lighting prior to the interview and ensure that the room in the background looks professional). It can be helpful to share your phone or email with the interviewer in case the connection drops out during the call.

Be mindful of your posture and don’t fidget. Try and look at the interviewer instead of your own video as much as possible.

Video interviews

Video interviews are different from Skype interviews because you won’t interact with an interviewer. Instead, recruiters will use a video interviewing platform, which you can use to begin the interview process at any time you like. A question will appear in text and you may have a minute or so to prepare before the platform starts recording.

The keys to success here are a fast internet connection and a quiet room completely free of distractions. Most platforms have a few practise questions where you can view your recorded response, so take advantage of that.

The trickiest part of a video job interview is the time limit on the responses: make sure you keep an eye on the time as you’re answering the question. Keep a glass of water on-hand too: some video interviews can take more than an hour.


Face to face interviews

The original (and possibly the most nerve-wracking) type of job interview requires some specific preparation.

The night before: Prepare what you’re going to wear to the interview ahead of time. Appropriate interview attire will vary a lot based on the workplace and industry – check out the company website to get an idea of what employees wear.

The morning of: Allow for plenty of time to get to the job interview to minimise your stress levels.

Upon meeting the interviewers: Smile, introduce yourself and shake hands with each interviewer. You’ll probably be slightly (or very) nervous, but making conversation can make you feel more at ease.

During the interview: Be professional, friendly and respectful, but don’t be afraid to be yourself and show your personality.

Ending the interview: End on a positive note, such as “Thank you for taking the time to interview me” and “I look forward to hearing from you”.

If you would like to read more about different types of job interviews, check out this article on The Muse.

Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.



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