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Step 4: Be Prepared for Interview Styles You May Encounter ...
Illustration: This Hiring Manager prepares to interview a job applicant about her work experience.
In today's business environment, with tight budgets and an almost brutal demand for efficiency, employers are more cautious than ever about the hiring process.

There are several different styles of job interviews a job applicant may encounter during the hiring process. This page discusses the major interview types, and includes tips on how to handle each of them:

The "Screening Interview":
This is a preliminary interview, meant to quickly weed out unqualified candidates. While Screening interviews may sometimes be conducted in person, most of them today are usually conducted by phone.

Screening Interviews usually move very quickly. To get through such an interview successfully, you must clearly understand that providing quick and accurate information to the interviewer about your job skills is going to be far more important than establishing rapport with this particular interviewer, whose initial goals in your interview will most likely be to find your strengths and weaknesses, rattle you if possible, and generally test your limits.

The ultimate goal of such interviewers is to quickly eliminate potential job candidates that don't pass muster. Such interviewers will usually work from an outline of points they want to cover, looking for inconsistencies in your résumé and challenging your qualifications.

Provide brief, honest, and accurate answers to your interviewer's questions. But don't volunteer additional information. Providing unrequested information will tend to work against you.

Such Screening Interviews usually happen without warning. You might be called out of the blue, or a phone call you make to check on your résumé might suddenly become an interview.

Your goal is to be invited to come into the office for a personal face-to-face interview.

Here are some tips to help convert a telephone interview into an in-person interview.

The "Group Interview":
A Group Interview is a variant on the Screening Interview, intended to uncover the leadership potential of prospective managers and other employees who will be dealing with the public.

Sometimes, preliminary Group Interviews may be conducted by phone. But most Group Interviews are conducted in person, in a conference room environment or similar venue.

Several of the most promising candidates are gathered together into an informal discussion. Next, a subject is introduced and the interviewer will start the discussion.

The goal of the Group Interview is to see how each applicant interacts with others in the group, and how each person uses his knowledge and reasoning powers to persuade other members of the group. If you do well in the group interview, you can expect to be asked back for a more extensive interview.

The "Stress Interview":
Stress Interviews are in-person interviews specifically designed to see how well job applicants can handle themselves under pressure.

In a Stress Interview, your interviewer may become sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting for an excessively long time. You can expect this to happen. And, when it does, don't take it personally. Your interviewer is intentionally trying to get you "rattled" ...

Just calmly answer each question as it comes. Ask for clarification if you need it, and never rush into an answer.

The interviewer may also lapse into silence at some point during the questioning. Recognize this as an attempt to unnerve you. Sit silently until the interviewer resumes the questions. If a minute or two goes by, ask if he or she needs clarification of your last comments.

The "One-on-One Interview":
By the time you have progressed to a One-on-One Interview, it usually has already been established that you have the skills and education necessary for the position. At this point, your interviewer wants to see if you will fit in with the company, and how your skills will complement the rest of the department.

Your goals in a One-on-One Interview are to:

Establish rapport with your interviewer;
Provide clear assurance of how your qualifications will benefit the company;
Show that you can work effectively with other members of your team.


The "Lunch Interview":
With Lunch Interviews, the same rules apply as in one-on-one interviews held at the office.

Although the setting may appear to be more casual, you should always remember that it is a business lunch and you are being watched carefully. Use the lunch interview to develop common ground with your interviewer. Follow your interviewer's lead in both selection of food and in etiquette.

The "Committee Interview":
Committee Interviews may occur frequently during the hiring process, especially when executive positions are under consideration. An applicant will face several executives of the company who may all be involved in deciding whether that applicant will be hired.

When answering questions from various committee members, always speak directly to the person who has asked a particular question. It is not necessary to answer to the group.

In many committee interviews, you may be asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. The committee will outline a hypothetical situation and ask you to formulate a plan to solve the problem as set forth. You don't have to come up with the ultimate solution ... the interviewers are looking for how you apply your knowledge and skills to a real-life situation.

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