There are many types of interview formats used by recruiters today. Depending on the position, the purpose, the setting and industry, a recruiter will select an interview type that will yield the best information relative to the position in consideration. Some formats include Behavioral, Case, Panel, Phone and Video interview categories. Regardless of the format, for each interview, the candidate should research the organization, review the job description and compare requirements against skills, and prepare answers for various questions - in advance.
A Behavioral Interview is a conversation where the recruiter is evaluating the candidate based on past experiences. Most behavioral interviews begin with questions like: “Describe a time…” or “Tell me about a time when”. You will want to paint a picture of how you will handle a situation so that the recruiter will clearly understand the full scope of your capabilities through your story. The recruiter will consider past events to predict your future viability for the position. The best response to a Behavioral Interview is by using the STAR response. SITUATION; TASK; ACTION; RESULTS
There are basic questions common to most Behavioral Interviews.
The best strategy to answer any a/o all of these questions is to use the same story, repeatedly and applying the STAR response. Review the details of a few prior successful work experiences, in advance, and be ready to refer to these stories when asked behavioral questions in an interview.
Case Study interviews are becoming increasingly common. In general, this type of interview presents the candidate with a situation, puzzle or strange situation to assess your analytical and logical skills, as well as your creative problem solving skills - usually within a time limit.
Case Study interviews are often used when recruiting consultants, or for positions that require strategic thinking and strong analytical skills, such as marketing or operations roles. A case study interview will present the candidate with a specific case in real-time, typically a situation that the company has faced, and the candidate will be required to analyze the problem and provide a suggested solution.
Companies not only want to assess your strategic thinking and analytical skills, but they also want to determine whether you may offer a creative approach. The interviewer will use the responses to these cases, and project how the candidate might respond. The case study interview is meant to assess one’s ability to perform at a particular job. The recruiter will evaluate your approach to business problems and how you will use your skills to solve their unique problems.
In order to prepare for a Case Study interview, practice questions specific to your industry and role. It is easy to source Case Study questions online. Practice them with a colleague or friend. Always ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand the problem and parameters. You should always be prepared to take notes in order to break down your analysis and respond in a cohesive way. As the recruiter details the case, you should write down the relevant information. Highlight or underline the key issue in the specific case, such as loss of profitability. While taking notes, you should also think about questions you may want to ask. With the information at hand, you may already have formed some hypothetical ideas about the solution, which will inform additional questions. As your questions are answered, you will be gathering more data to formulate a proper solution. Finally, based on your analysis, you will present your recommendation and next steps. Always include any risks attendant to your suggestion, as well. A Case Study will also include math and calculations.
Another approach to successfully respond to a Case Study interview is called a “Trade-offs and Assumptions” framework
In your Case Study interview, when you are ready to present, reiterate the problem and highlight the biggest takeaway of what you will be presenting. The rest of your presentation will show how you got there. Follow with a process overview, outline steps to be taken, and proceed with each step - ultimately supporting your conclusion.
Panel Interviews are when a group of people interview one candidate - all at the same time. The group may include the boss, prospective colleagues and HR professionals; all will have some invested interest in your work. Your future performance will affect each of them in some capacity. The best approach is to treat each individual as if they were equal, and respond to each panel member in the same manner. They will all have a role, ultimately, in your success.
A Panel Interview is an efficient way for the company to conduct multiple interviews simultaneously, and the interviewers will collaborate after the meeting to decide on your future candidacy. As the candidate, you have the opportunity to see how this specific group interacts, and gain insight into the culture of the organization.
Before the interview, it is important to research the individuals who will be participating. Check the website and their LinkedIn profiles, as there may be some common threads you share. Also, prepare questions in advance. Practice your communication skills, and during the interview show your enthusiasm. Make eye contact and respond by looking directly at the individual who is asking the questions. Preparing in advance and responding personally to each question, will impress the panel of interviewers.
A phone interview is typically the first step in the interview process. Having already read your resume, the recruiter will know if you possess the technical skills; they want to learn more about your style, personality and overall vibe. It is very important to prepare for a phone interview in order to have a successful conversation and impress the recruiter.
A phone interview is used to prescreen candidates and evaluate whether they are a fit for the organization, and whether the job matches the candidate’s expectations, as well. If you receive a call from a recruiter, present yourself as if you were expecting the call. Answer the phone professionally - typically answering with your name, such as: Hello, this is (name). How you answer is the recruiter’s first impression and will set the tone for the rest of the conversation. Some additional tips for a phone interview include:
Telephone interviews are very important. If managed properly, you will distinguish yourself from other candidates who may not have prepared or presented themselves professionally. Some important questions to ask during the phone interview include:
During the prescreening phone conversation, try to include language from the job description so that you are matching the recruiter’s check list. At the end of the phone interview, ask the recruiter:
In a Video Interview, you should always prepare for the interview and communicate as if you were there in person.