While the purpose of interviews remains unchanged, a chance for hiring managers to size you up and compare you against other candidates, technology and a far-flung candidate pool have introduced some new interview styles into the mix.
Each interview format has a different end-goal in mind, and each requires you to prepare slightly differently.
Usually Step 1, phone screens are often brief, and tend to be facilitated by a more junior HR recruiter in larger, more complex organizations.
THEIR END GAME: The goal of the phone screen is to determine if you can speak to the resume they have in front of them, particularly in terms of background, experience and qualifications for the role at hand.
YOUR PREP: While it’s always important to remain friendly, facts are key in this initial screen. Remember to answer the call from a quiet place, and be ready with areas of your resume that are perfectly aligned with the needs of the role and the company.
Coffee pullups in many instances have taken the place of the first formal, in the office, 1:1 meeting.
THEIR END GAME: Chatting over coffee is not uncommon with recruiters juggling many open roles, or hiring managers what no they have a gap to fill but haven’t gotten around to an official job description or posting just yet.
YOUR PREP: Even though the venue is casual, be sure to do your due diligence around researching the company and the industry.
Be prepared with an elevator speech that spells out how you are perfect for any potential role. Dress in business casual, and bring a business card, several copies of a printed resume, and a pen and paper for note taking.
This is the style which most are familiar with. It usually comes after the phone screen, but today may also come right after the coffee clutch.
THEIR END GAME: Here’s where the interviewer gauges if you are a cultural fit for the company, while also asking questions to confirm the phone screen findings.
YOUR PREP: Your end goal? Build rapport, show them you are a great culture fit and that you understand their pain loud and clear. Your best chance at success lies in remaining focused, responding to their questions, and not getting sidetracked.
We can thank budget cuts to HR departments together with high-speed internet for the popularity of the online video interview.
THEIR END GAME: Like a 1:1 interview, the interviewer wants to evaluate if you are good fit, and double check that you have the skills, experience and qualifications to perform.
YOUR PREP: From a content perspective, treat this like a 1:1 interview. Aim for a setting with good lighting (make sure your face isn’t drowned out) and a clean background (no clutter) and make sure the volume is working and is not too loud or too soft.
Practice looking at the camera (not the screen) so that it looks as if you are making eye contact, and be sure to close any applications and put your bells and whistles on mute so they don’t inadvertently go off during the conversation.
Lastly, prepare for worst case scenario (technical difficulties) by keeping your phone on hand in case you need to call should the video connection fail.
Group or panel interviews can be stressful because you are often interviewed simultaneously by several members of the company.
THEIR END GAME: Panel interviews are a great time savings and can allow a company to conduct more interview and less time. They also can show the participants how you deal with group pressure!
YOUR PREP: It’s not easy, but try to maintain eye contact with whichever person is firing the question. However, when it comes to responding or returning with a question of your own, make eye contact with everyone, just like you might do while giving a presentation to a crowd.
Before you leave, ask for business cards from ALL so you can draft those thank you letters!
Relatively new to the interviewing family, digital interviewing allows a company to select questions and have voice-recognition software read them to the candidate, who sits in front of a camera recording the whole thing. A very high-tech format — data and cognitive fit analytics are also brought into the mix and are used to score the candidate.
THEIR END GAME: In addition to freeing up recruiter and hiring manager time, digital interviewing is heralded by many as a tool that levels the playing field, and eliminates human bias when it comes to diversity, inclusiveness and fairness.
YOUR PREP: Make sure to place the camera slightly above your face so you are looking up to avoid the appearance of having 2 chins. Just like the online interview, pick an area that is free of distractions and clutter. Stick with short answers, and be sure to appear enthusiastic – not flat – by fluctuating your tone, and by smiling.
Different interview types call for different game plans – from the types and length of your responses to your level of preparation. Understanding the reasoning or end goal behind each format, and preparing accordingly, will give you your best chance at interview success.
About this guest author:
In need of some career advice, a refreshed resume or rebranded LinkedIn? As the founder and chief writer at Virginia Franco Resumes, I offer customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker. I would be happy to chat!