The nature of the organisation, the level of the position for which you are applying, and the individual preferences of the interviewer will determine the type of interview. There are no hard and fast rules regarding types of interview. An employer may use one method or a combination of methods in selecting candidates. Try to find out the most likely process to be used and be prepared.
The following examples are types of interview that may be used: -
One-On-One Interviews: In this type of interview you are interviewed by one person, for example, your potential line manager or head of department. The style may vary from relaxed to formal, but the interviewer is still assessing what you have to offer and whether you will fit into the organisation.
Stress Interviews: Stress interviews are usually designed to find out how you cope under pressure. Typically, the interviewer may be sarcastic, argumentative or very challenging. Remember, do not take this approach personally; keep calm and answer each question with confidence. Recognise that this is an attempt to unnerve you. Do not rush into an answer; ask for clarification if you need it; stay positive and do not lose your cool.
Telephone Interviews: Telephone interviews are occasionally used by organisations for initial screening of candidates or perhaps when they are recruiting from a wide geographical area. Take this conversation very seriously; use notes and prepare as you would for the on-on-one type interview. Try to be succinct with your answers; listen very carefully; vary the pitch of your voice; speak clearly and be able to give a brief summary of what you have to offer at the end.
Informal Interviews: An employer may invite you in for an informal chat or interview. Do not be fooled by this approach. No matter how informal the situation might be, you are still being assessed. The interviewer may ask questions designed to put you at ease and to reveal more about you. Make sure that you stay focused and take a pro-active approach in the interview.
Panel Interviews: The panel interview is a very common method used by large educational institutions, the public service and government funded organisations. It usually involves about four people, but be prepared for any number of panel members. There will usually be an independent person from another part of the company involved. Their rote is to provide an external perspective and to help ensure that the best person is chosen for the position. Typically, the panel will ask you two questions each; they will take notes for later discussion and you will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end.
Try to involve the whole panel when you answer questions; make good eye contact and listen carefully.
Two-On-One Interviews: This type of interview involves being questioned by two people. They will have prepared questions and will discuss their notes at the end. This approach is more objective than the one-on-one interview as it takes two peoples opinions into account. Occasionally you may encounter the good cop, bad cop scenario. This is when one interviewer asks you soft, gentle questions while the other one is aggressive and over challenging. Remember, the good cop is not necessarily your friend and the bad cop may not be your enemy. Stay calm and be consistent in the way you answer the questions.
Behavioural Interviews: The behavioural interview is based on the theory that past performance is the best predictor of future behaviour. Questions will be designed to probe specific past behaviour. Expect interviewers to have follow up questions that explore the details of a given situation or experience. You will need to be well prepared for this type of interview, particularly if you do not have relevant work experience that demonstrates past performance.