Different types of interview and avoiding danger

Get yourself up to speed with what lies ahead:

If it’s been a while since your last interview, you may need bringing up to speed with the different types of interview you could face. Are you expecting one person to interview you? This may be the case, but you are equally likely to be interviewed in a completely different way. Read on to make sure there are no surprises in store for you at interview (alternatively, stop reading now and practice your most professional surprised expression because you might need it for interview!)

1) The 1-1 Interview
When to expect this: Commonly used by small to medium sized businesses where there is no HR person and the boss does all the hiring.

Potential danger: You might feel too relaxed because 1 person is not too intimidating and this may be what you were expecting to experience at interview all along. But be warned – most managers in small/medium sized businesses have had no formal interview training and consequently they make a hash of interviews – often not having any structured questions to ask you. Don’t let your guard down for a minute, you have to work hard at these interviews to make sure you do most of the talking (80%) and dazzle the interviewer.

2) The Panel Interview
When to expect this: Used by larger companies, you can expect a HR person, a senior manager and possibly your immediate line manager.

Potential danger: You have to impress everyone present to be offered the job. You may find yourself talking to 1 person more than the others – do this at your peril!

3) The Competence Based Interview
When to expect this: Commonly used by larger companies, institutions and local authorities. The competence based interview is a structured interview whereby the same questions are asked to all candidates to enable you to reveal examples of how you have demonstrated your competences and skills. If you have completed an application form and a ‘Personal Statement’ then you will probably have a competence based interview.

Potential danger: These guys know what they are doing, they have scrutinised every aspect of the job, they know exactly what they are looking for and they will ask you questions that involve you giving precise answers and examples to back up your skills. Even worse – your answers will be marked and assessed later against other candidates. This is not the interview for people who like to ‘wing it’.

4) Group Interview
When to expect this: Often used by medium to larger organisations particularly in roles where customer service, communicating to others or team work is an integral part of the job. I have commonly come across these with large retailers and hospitality organisations.

Potential danger: You become overexcited and talk too much – this is not a social engagement, but it may be made to feel like one! Remember to use your ears, think before you speak and you will be fine. If you are not a natural leader then don’t pretend – employers are not always looking for leaders, often group exercises reveal other characteristics such as being supportive, ability to generate ideas to problems and work well with the team etc –you may not know what they are looking for so be your very best self in these situations.

5) Phone or Skype interview
When to expect this: Normally used for pre-screening or if you are being interviewed by someone out of the area / overseas. Skype is becoming increasingly common rather than phone interviews – but through my experience this is normally for more senior roles as a pre-screener.

Potential danger: You may be in your own home with distractions such as dogs (the barking type) or children and you may even feel tempted to have a cup of coffee. You need to lock yourself away with pen and paper – I have locked myself in the car before for phone interviews! and my advice is to jot down all the things you want to tell the interviewer about you.


Good luck with your future interviews!


This blog has been written by Charlotte Eve, CK Futures Ltd.
Charlotte Eve is a professional writer for CVs/Covering Letters/LinkedIn/Personal Statements and an Interview Coach for managers and candidates at all levels. If you need further assistance with interviews or any aspect of your job searching you can reach her at: www.ckfutures.co.uk

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