By: Kaustov Kashyap
When it comes to interviews, preparation is utmost thing. In addition to researching the company and preparing answers to likely questions, be sure to ask what form the interview will take. Different formats require you to adopt a different approach. If you are invited to a video, phone, panel or group interview, here’s what to expect and how to impress.
The telephonic interview
Why use them: Some employers conduct short telephone interviews to screen candidates, checking them against set criteria, while others will carry out entire interviews by phone.
Get ready: Take the call where you won’t be disturbed and minimize background noise. Switch off your computer so you are not distracted, and make sure your notes are on hand.
How to impress: You will not be visible, so you cannot communicate anything by your appearance, gestures or body language. Your voice has to do all the work, including establishing rapport. Speak with enthusiasm. If you are nervous, take the call standing up and remember to smile – it will help you sound friendly. Most people ramble when they are nervous, so slow down.
To build rapport, it is suggested to refer to the interviewer by name from time to time and engaging in small talk if invited to at the start or end of the call. Remember, interviewers do not have visual clues to aid them either. If you need time to answer a question, say so. Unexpected prolonged silences can be worrying.
The video interview
Why use them: Skype is so widespread (these days all new laptops come with inbuilt webcams), that many recruiters are using video calls in place of telephonic interviews.
Get ready: Take the call somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Make sure your Internet connection is working properly by having a practice call with a friend first. Generally, the background should be simple and well lit. Don’t place the light source directly behind you as it can throw your face into shadow. Dress smartly but avoid stripes or busy patterns, and keep in mind that white can be draining.
How to impress: Nonverbal clues are important in video interviews, because the recruiter is typically trying to read the candidate’s face to ensure he or she is relating to what’s being said.
Eye contact is vital. Look at the camera, not the person shown on the screen. If you forget, stick a Post-it note under the camera as a reminder. Smile, nod your head regularly and use your hands (within reason) as you speak. Sitting upright and leaning slightly forward will show that you are engaged.
The group interview
Why use them: Group interviews are a time saving way for employers to see candidates’ team working and soft skills in action.
Get ready: Prepare several answers to common interview questions. That way, if you’re the fourth person asked the same question, you will have something new to say.
How to impress: If you are asked to complete a group project, recruiters want to see that you can work well with others, so make sure you demonstrate that you can collaborate. Do not talk over others and do not get angry if someone talks over you. That does not mean you should take a back seat or agree if you have reservations. Employers value strong candidates who can express their ideas. Be persuasive but not forceful.
The panel interview
Why use them: Usually reserved for senior roles, panel interviews are a good way for various stakeholders to be involved in the recruitment process. They also reveal how well you cope with high-pressure situations and if you fit in with the company culture.
Get ready: Find out who will be present. Then research each person via a professional networking site or the company website. Knowing who will be there will give you an indication of what questions may be asked.
For example- A technical expert may want to test your knowledge and awareness of developments in the sector and will ask different questions to a sales or HR manager.
How to impress: Eye contact is vital to build rapport, but facing a row of people can be intimidating. Therefore, it is advisable to reply your answer to the person who asked the question, and then sweeping your gaze across the rest of the panel so that everyone feels included. It also allows you to read their facial expressions and assess how well your answer is received.
Address each individual by name and ask questions. It’s a great way to engage the whole panel and turn an interrogation into a conversation. (The author is an HR & Career; he can be reached at Consultantpragatigroup08@gmail.com)