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Interview types

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There are so many different types of interview and your potential employer may choose a number of interview styles for different stages of the process. When you know more about the style of interview, preparation is easier. We have listed the main types of interview with some tips for each.  

Telephone interviews

Telephone interviews are used by many companies as an initial screening interview. They are often used to learn more about you before inviting you in for a face-to-face interview. Telephone interviews often consist of talking through your CV, skills and experience. The great thing about telephone interviews is that you can have your notes out. However, a major part of communication is body language and you obviously can’t see this over the phone, so ensure that you speak confidently and at a steady pace. Try not to speak too fast and consider your language. As with any interview preparation, it can be a good idea to practise answers to commonly asked questions.  

Individual interviews

Individual interviews are common in smaller companies. These interviews will be just you and one or two interviewers. Individual interviews give you more opportunity to build rapport and get your personality across. Remember that employers are not just looking for a robot but a person who will fit in with their team. When you’re invited in for an interview, be sure to ask the length of the interview so that you know how much preparation you will need to do. If the interview is for an hour, prepare for giving much more in-depth answers with some examples to support those answers.  

Group interviews

Group interviews involve several candidates being interviewed at once. You may be asked to complete a task together or take part in a discussion. Make opportunities for yourself to speak and get your point across but try not to take over the discussion. Group interviews give you the chance to show how you interact and work with others.

Second or task interviews

Well done for making it through the first cut!  In the second interview, the employer will want to learn more about you and how you perform on the job before they make their final decision. Think back on your first interview and review the answers you gave; you may be asked the same or similar questions. A second interview is going to be more in-depth and may include tasks to test your technical abilities. Conduct further research on the company and industry news so you can be best prepared for any questions that may be asked.  If you’re asked to give a presentation, try to relax as much as possible.

Panel interview

Panel interviews are popular in the public sector and larger companies.  You’ll be interviewed by a panel of people with one person acting as chair. This can be an intimidating prospect but try to keep calm and the better prepared you are for the interview the more confident you will feel. Each member of the panel may take it in turn to ask questions but it’s important to make eye contact with each member of the panel no matter who asked the question.

Portfolio-based interviews

In the digital, communications or design industry it’s likely that you’ll be asked to bring your portfolio to your interview or show the online version. You’ll want to ensure that your portfolio is up- to-date and neither too long or too short. If you’re going to be showing your online portfolio, be sure to test it on all internet browsers, and if you’re using print images, make sure they’re large enough for the interviewer to see clearly.  

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