What Exactly is a Job Interview?

Nancy Anderson
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A job interview is part of the hiring process that employers use to vet their top candidates after weeding out weaker applicants that don't have the right qualifications. Discover some basic information about an interview and how to prepare for one as you try to advance your career on the way to professional fulfillment.

How to Succeed in a Job Interview

A first impression is very important during a job interview no matter what type of interview you're attending. One study from Resurgo Trust in the United Kingdom suggested that interviewers form an opinion about whether to hire you or not within the first 12 words you speak to them. Exude confidence as soon as you walk into the door and offer a firm handshake. Make eye contact with each person in the room as you introduce yourself, and don't forget your winning smile.

Once you sit down and get started, demonstrate how you've researched the company and its business goals. Dive deeper into more than just the company website — explain how your specific role applies to the employer's success. Play to your strengths and how you used your best skills to solve problems for past employers. Always stay positive, because employers don't want someone with a negative attitude to affect production in a busy work setting.

Types of Interviews

Companies employ various types of interviews depending on how they want to narrow the field. A job interview can be a formal affair at the company headquarters, or you can have a more relaxed setting at a business lunch where you meet your team of future co-workers.

1. Remote Interviews

Remove interviews, such as ones over the phone or through videoconferencing on a computer, are becoming more and more popular with employers. That's because these interviews save money versus bringing in a candidate to the office. Telephone interviews are short and can narrow a field very quickly while trying to gauge your personality. Treat a video interview just like you would a formal interview where you sit down in front of people and answer questions. Dress the part and prepare well for a video interview.

2. Formal Interviews

A formal job interview involves you sitting in front of one person or several people whose goal is to determine if you're a perfect fit for the company and the role. One-on-one interviews usually involve you and a hiring manager, while a panel interview may include a hiring manager, a HR representative, a company executive and even one of your future teammates.

3. Competency-Based Interviews

When you attend a competency-based interview, a team of people try to assess how you handle day-to-day duties at a job. For example, if you're interviewing for a coding position, you may find yourself completing a project within a couple of hours to see if you can handle an everyday workload. You may also have to answer several behavioral questions regarding your past behavior in certain situations; that way, an employer can determine how you would respond to real pressure at your next position.

The key to success at a job interview is how you prepare for one. These interview basics give you a good idea of what to expect and how to have a good experience when trying to land your next position.

Photo courtesy of Amtec Staffing at Flickr.com


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