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Understanding Interviews Part One: 3 formats, 3 styles and 3 aims

Mark Williams

In the first in a series, Hutton&co Associate, Mark Williams  looks at what you can expect when it's your turn to be interviewed.

OK. Your application and CV have got you there, so now what happens? The dreaded interview: What will it be like, how many people will be there, what are they going to ask you, what is it they are looking for? Questions, Questions, Questions???

Let's consider some facts which will help you with your preparations.....

Basically there are 3 types of format which are most common:.

Telephone This is now being used more frequently by employers as part of their recruitment process. Overseas companies use this very commonly. Prepare the same as you would for a face to face interview, but make sure you are in a quiet place and that you can concentrate on the call for the duration.
Face to Face This is still the most common approach taken. This may be with one person or a panel, of no more than 3, usually. These interviews are often generic in nature, but sometimes one of the interviewers will be there to ask you technical questions.
Group Several candidates may be present on the same day and you may be asked questions in turn. There may also be a group discussion or even a group exercise.

The types of questioning will vary as well and these are the most common:

Competency based These are built so that you can evidence your skills and experience. You will be required to give real examples when you have demonstrated particular attributes or abilities. Good preparation in advance is key to success. Think of examples where you have demonstrated actions or abilities which support your claim to fulfil the person spec for the role.
Problem Analysis This interview will be based around a business issue or problem and you will be asked to evaluate the situation and present your analysis and solutions. This is testing your thinking and ability to apply it to business situations.
Technical  If you are going for a role which requires a level of technical knowledge then this is what you may face. Technical questions on your area of expertise often posed by an expert! This is as much about your thinking process as it is about your knowledge. So don't be too intimidated.

And what exactly are they looking to achieve from this interview process? Again there are 3 simple answers to that. They want to assess your CompetenceCapability and Attitude. Keep those in your mind when responding and try to re-inforce your suitability by addressing those 3 aspects in respect to the role you are being interviewed for.

So all very straight forward then! Look out for the next posting in the Interview series, when we'll look at how you can ensure you come across well on the day.

Of course if you need support with all of this then Hutton&co are here to help. Our contact details are at the bottom of this page or use the form under 'Contact'