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4 Interview Formats and How To (F)Ace Them!

You may be an excellent candidate but if you get it wrong in the interview you don’t get a second chance. Bernadette Innes, Director of Proven Recruitment Results, says in addition to rehearsing answers to standard questions, understanding different interview formats is the key to success.

Standard Questions to Expect

Can you tell me something about yourself?

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

How would you like me to remember you after our interview?

Do you have any questions?


Behavioural Interviews

This type of interview is based on the logic that past behaviour predicts future behaviour.

Behavioural interviewing also known ascompetency-based interviewing explores behavioural skills such as conflict resolution, analysing and finding solutions to issues. For example, describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or team member?  What was the outcome and what would you have done differently?

How to Prepare

If you expect a panel interview (more than one person) you need to prepare using the S.A.O approach. This is where you’ll be asked to describe a Situation, the Action you undertook and what the Outcome was. Make sure you have at least five examples or stories to share using the SAO approach.


Telephone Interviews

This type of interview is usually used to narrow down the initial pool of job candidates to a more manageable number for a face-to-face interview.

The prospective employer will be able to determine how well the candidate is able to speak English.


How to Prepare

Expect an initial screening so make sure you are prepared and not shuffling paper while on the phone. Prepare by ensuring all information is laid out on the table. You should not smoke, eat or drink while talking. Make sure your phone is fully charged and if you are not in a good area offer a landline alternative. Ensure young children are settled and there are no pets in the background.


Panel Interviews

This type of interview tends to be more detailed and can vary in numbers usually from two to five people from different departments all asking interview questions.

Each person on the panel will have a different role.  For example, the Human Resources Manager will confirm you fit with the company, culture and people and the Department Manager will ensure you have job-related skills and abilities to undertake any task the position requires.

Panel Interviews are usually used in the public sector.

How to Prepare

See Behavioural Interview. Use the S.A.O approach and research, research and research!


Group Interviews

This type of interview is held with other candidates who are applying for the same position as you.  Usually this is a panel interview where the Human Resources Manager, Department Manager and Supervisor will be undertaking an initial screening of the candidates as they observe your behaviour, communication and interaction with others.

Group interviews may require role-play including problem-solving workshops and work-related task activities.

How to Prepare

Expect competition as you are competing for the same job. Be nice, be respectful and SMILE. Pay attention when spoken to and take notes if there is a presentation. Prepare by researching the organisation and be interactive in the role plays. Listen to others and join in.


Practice Makes Perfect

Interviews are purposefully difficult and can be stressful. If you need more help to prepare consider an interview coach. The practice with a professional will make you feel better prepared and more confident.


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