Three Tricky Interview Styles - And How To Ace Them

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In this day and age, as job competition has increased, interviewing techniques have also gotten tougher. Larger corporations often adopt multi-layered interview techniques from initial screening until the job offer stage. Interview Styles and How to Handle Them Confidently The need for different interview styles has evolved with the increasing complexities of jobs and work environments, as a scientific means to testing candidates. Behavioral Interview This style of interview uses the premise that past behavioral and performance history reveals enough indicators for a prediction of future performance. This type of interview can begin with concealed questions, such as asking you to narrate a tricky situation you have handled in the past. For example, "Please let us know your best accomplishment and how you were able to accomplish it." However, the questions will not necessarily be limited to your past. Look at this one: "If you had to purchase accounting software, how would you choose it?" This question aims at bringing out your software knowledge, as well as the decision making process that you may use. Case Study A slightly refined technique within the behavioral interview is the case study style. Expect to encounter a real-life situation here. Something like "evaluate different accounting software as a precursor to purchase and implementation" should not surprise you. If you take this question with an open mind, you will be able to produce the best answer without getting flustered. You will recollect different variants of software that you are acquainted with through years of usage. From your current knowledge, you will make the right choice by analyzing various aspects like robustness, customizability, user-friendliness and cost effectiveness. You may even brainstorm with your team of users. But what does all this signify to the interviewer? Simple - it speaks of your: • Experience • Confidence • Willingness to engage people • Team spirit • Composed and robust decision making style • Problem solving ability • Perseverance Stress Test You will probably face questions like "why are there so many job changes in your career?" or "why weren't you promoted in your last job despite being there long-term?" These are clever questions, designed to make your squirm in your seat. They will make unprepared candidates go speechless. But the interviewer is watching you closely and observing changes in your face, behavior and body language. Quite naturally, these are hard questions that require time to remember exact scenarios and find ways to simplify and shorten your answers. Give precise answers, including specifics about the question. Since there are no wrong answers in the stress interview, what they are really looking for is how you respond to unexpected stressors. These are three prevalent types of interview styles. However, in actual practice, you may come across a blend of one or all three. Use the information above to be successful, and you will be able to give the interviewer exactly what they are looking for.
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  • Jen
    Jen
    I got laid off in Oct. 2008 and then couldn't work for health reasons up until Jan. 2010. I wasn't sure how to explain my absence from work. I hired a career coach who is AMAZING. She was in HR for over 20 years and she has given me the best advice and really coached me to improve my interviewing skills. Anyway, here are some commonly asked behavioral questions: • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills. • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.  • Give me an example of a time when you had a difficult deadline and how you were able to meet it. • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills in your job. • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree. • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a proposal completed on schedule. • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks. • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example. • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). • Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year. • Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed. • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead. • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker. • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others. • Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively. • Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem. • Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem. • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures. • Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision. • Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).  ----Her advice it to pre-think how you'd answer these questions and come up with several anecdotes that you can use in different situations. I've also recently been asked to describe a manager I liked the least, and then asked if she/he would recommend me.
  • Ida
    Ida
    Some interviews are very touch to pass, i.e. just out of college I had my first interview with several people and I had to prepare a 10 minutes presentation. They just provided me a bulletin board and told me that I had 15 minutes to prepare a 10 minutes presentation; question:  3 things that I had learned in college and how could that help to support their company?. In some interviews you need to be prepared for the unexpected.Good luck!!! Great article…
  • chris henry
    chris henry
    I just did an interview with a big home improvement store for a manager position.They used the behavioral interview and I did well cause got the job.
  • Girish Patel
    Girish Patel
    These are real good questions. Some of them pertains to my situation. Responding positively with confidence and keeping negatives out is the only way to win it.
  • Sherre Seay
    Sherre Seay
    The hostile, behavioral and round table interview.  The question: Tell us about your most successful project and how you performed.  Also what was your worst mistake, how did you solve it and what were the lessons learned. In other words, I will never do that again.  Please provide some good examples of when you failed and how to answer in a positive way.  Also because I have a broad experience the interviewer commented "so you are a Jill of All Trades and Master of None is that correct?"  Also I have attended 3 colleges in order to get my degree some online interview: "I see you have attended every college in the state". This was the most hostile interview I have ever had in my career.  Please help with some solutions.   
  • lk
    lk
    Think of how a lot of people in the public eye answer questions--they don't! Instead, they have a statement that touches a bit on the question, so it's not like they're ignoring it, but that puts them and/or their achievements in a good light. For example, if someone asks you to describe a situation where you've had trouble working with a coworker/boss, you could answer that you believe "it's important to separate personal from business feelings and, while you would never tolerate dishonest, illegal, or unethical behavior, you try to look beyond challenges and always make sure your work is up to or above standard" Remember, never say "problems"; it's always "challenges" and "opportunities"
  • Kenneth Goodwin
    Kenneth Goodwin
    All perspective employers take advantage of us. If this job market was opposite of what it is now, employers would be begging us to work for them...and at our terms,not theirs. The job market has gotten so far out of control that even part time janitors need to have resumes. How many people have told you in the last year and a half..."send me your resume"? One day soon these people that ask will be looking as well.....lets see if they can take what they dish out...such as embarrasing pay offers.
  • Brandi
    Brandi
    I agree with Mark about employers and HR representatives and the way they conduct their business. I was recently forced to resign from a position as I am still in college. I put in the hours and I picked up my last check. Turns out I was only paid for 2/3 of the time I worked. My employer said this was because he didn't think I was of any benefit to his business, a waste of time and that he paid me out of generosity. When did it become ok for an employer to pay you based on opinions? Now I'm stuck searching for another job, applying for job after job and getting no response back from any of them. It's very frustrating. I've had one interview for a job I'm sure I won't be able to live off of and have not heard back from since.   
  • Wanda H
    Wanda H
    I found this artical and alot of the responses to it very helpful. In response to genevajackson on the question: What are your weaknesses? First of all never give a negative anwser. The interviewer is looking for a positive response like, I hate to put down a job I have started. I like to stick to it until completed. Not a negative anwser and it shows you're posistant. I hope this helps.
  • C.E.
    C.E.
    Barbara, good analogy to the ol' "committee" interview.  I personally don't care for them, but I have a friend/former co-worker that enjoys them.  How do you analyze whether the interview is "fake", etc.?  I know they post for position where they have an internal candidate in mind, yet post for legalistic reasons.  However, I've never caught on to being called in for a "fake" interview.
  • Suzanne
    Suzanne
    When asked to name my greatest weakness, I usually say because I thrive on multitasking and problem-solving, I'm not good at doing a job that's just one task over and over. Everyone has a similar, true thing he or she can say, phrased in a way that reveals the "weakness" as an actual strength. Good luck to all!
  • Carl D
    Carl D
    I often read in the commentary that it would be helpful to have some example answers in various interview situations. While it may be difficult to provide a broad example that will satisfy the reader, there are a few fundamentals that may help. First, be sure to listen to the question carefully. In my experience I found myself preparing to fire an answer before the question was completed. Listen to the question to identify the concern of the interviewer. Second, remember, to a large extent, your answer(s) should, systematically eliminate fear or apprehension on the "other side of the desk". Need an example? Recall a time you purchased an expensive item or service. What was your greatest fear. How did that effect your decision. How did the technician or sales rep gain your trust? Typically the ones who take time to UNDERSTAND your problem and and articulate how their product or service will solve your problem are usually the ones you deal with. So, finally, be ready to follow your answers with a problem-solving example.
  • Barbara
    Barbara
    You left out the one that absolutely kills me.  The committee interview.  You will ALWAYS have one person that is hostile to one on the committee--usually a potential coworker, i.e. "peer."  Sometimes that person is hostile because he didn't want to be on the committee, or he wanted that job themselves or are rooting for another person to get the job and want that person to shine in the interview. Also, very often the committee will include the person you will be replacing or who once had that job. In that case, they are quite sure the way they filled the position is the right way and the only way.Don't forget the fact that committee interviews usually have "canned" questions that are asked of every interviewee. This is usually done in a round table fashion so everyone on the committee can have a chance to intimidate you.  Oh, and what can you do about fake interviews if anything?  I mean the kind where the committee has already pre-selected who they want and are just walking through the legalities by holding interviews for other people.  Twice I walked into such interviews and realized within 30 seconds that the eventual selection had already been chosen and my interview was a total sham.  Everyone of the questions had been designed with the previous year's experience of one of the interviewees! (Example:  Under which specific provision of this specific statute would a school board be liable for prosecution if that specific thing happened on an elementary campus? Another interviewee had been involved in exactly that scenario the previous year and the head of the committee knew that very well indeed, since he was a personal friend of that person.) Do I power through the mock interview or just excuse myself and walk out?  I stayed on the off chance that some other job might come up later, but wondered if it was worth the bother.Now, tell me how to ace that kind of interview or how to impress the committee to think well of you for future job openings and I will be most appreciative.
  • Kelly
    Kelly
    When a potential employer asks me to tell them of a weakness an answer I use is something like "I feel unproductive when I don't feel challenged in my work" or when asked where do I see myself in 1 year? I say that "I see myself paying my dues and gradually gaining increased responsibility". Hope this helps
  • Kareem Babatunde
    Kareem Babatunde
    I like to commend you so much on all information you have been giving out. I learn a lot from it and I believe it would help me out and get me the best suited job for me soon which I promise to inform you about as soon as I get it. Thanks
  • Diane Wilson
    Diane Wilson
    I would have like to know what a good answer to these questions would be as well. I would also like to know a good reaction to "what is your greatest weakness"? That is such a ridiculous question to me. What are you going to say?  You certainly aren't going to demean yourself so what do they expect you to say?  
  • Mark
    Mark
    As I have read the horror interview stories presented, it has reminded me of some of my own.  I remember the good old days when you would dress for the interview, give a firm handshake, smile, hand the person your resume, answer legitimate non-threatening questions, and be offered a job.  I think the new HR philosophies and practices, as well as a general disrespect of people, no longer represents an attitude of moral integrity.  These same HR personnel and the corporations they represent will take all of your loyal years of service, hard work and dedication, and think nothing of giving you a pink slip with a box of your belonging when you get back from vacation.  We are begging at the door of a corrupt and immoral system that no longer deserves to be served.  We expect to be treated fairly by people who have lost their moral bearings.  My desire is to be self-employed so that I don't have to be part of supporting this system any longer.  I hope that more of you at least attempt to do this as well.  Go ahead and get another job, but work on your own business on the side.  If you don't, you may find out when you are older, getting paid well, that you may lose your job and find it very, very, hard to get up again, especially making the same salary and benefits you had.  I pray that each and every one of you find a great job and are able to work for a great employer that will treat you well.  If that does happen, consider it a blessing for the short term, and work at establishing your own business on the side.  I hope that you take this to heart and that you will at least consider this post.
  • Louis W.
    Louis W.
    I have been involved in many interviews, but I agree with LYNN the worst is the Psychological and companies who solely rely on them for interviewing. It is offensive, far too invading and comes across exactly as it's meant to be; DEMEANING. One thing I learned, the minute they whip out that Psycho test, I get up and leave. I will NOT work for anyone who is that inempt that they must rely on a set of hurtful demeaning questions to determine weather a person is worthy of hiring. Once, did I remain in an interview, after taking said test and I still shudder to think about how ugly it turned into. They went on to ask me my religious background, what race I was (I found out later they thought I might have some Black in me), what race my wife is, what part of America I was from (they would not hire certain groups) and assorted other rude unconstitutional questions. All these questions had absolutely nothing to do with my skilled trade but had EVERYTHING to do with their personal hatred, bias believes, open prejudice, racism and ignorance. Throughout this interview they felt judified in asking one rude question after another. Needless to say, I would never accept a position with this company, also my skin melotonin was to dark for them.
  • Stanley Morganstein
    Stanley Morganstein
    An interview that was stressful involved a group of people of the same nationality (i.e., foreign) who obviously preferred to hire from the same group. I answered all the technical questions correctly. However, when complete the manager who was from this country ask if I noticed a "red flag".
  • geneva jackson
    geneva jackson
    WHY do interviewers ask:  "What are your weaknesses?" and how should this question be answered.
  • Mary Phillips
    Mary Phillips
    In one interview, I was asked why they should hire me and I had already decided I didn't want the job. So I answered, "because I'm cute."  It caught a few people off-guard (they actually laughed and it was a very unfunny place to work). Then I explained all the good things I could say about myself so to name just one was too limiting.  Then in another job interview (where I blew their typing test because of nerves and it was on ancient equipment), I told them to give me 30 days to prove I could do the job. If they weren't satisfied with me, I would leave with no hard feelings.  I got the job and my former boss is still a close friend to this day (he reminded me of the story last week).
  • Alba Guerra
    Alba Guerra
    Dear Heather you report is very interesting and educational.  I have one request, to the interview questions that might be made can you give specific answers to the questions?  Thank you very much
  • EPHRAIM BASALIRWA
    EPHRAIM BASALIRWA
    THANK YOU FOR THE ADVICE ON MY CAREER. IT HAS REALLY HELPED ME TO GET MORE INFORMATION FROM YOU. I USED THESE STYLES AND THEY HELPED ME LAND A PART TIME JOB. I AM VERY HAPPY AND WANT TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP. THANK YOU.
  • Victoria Drake
    Victoria Drake
    Helpful tips about the interviewing process. I have another question. What is the best way to handle this situation. I inquired about a company one year ago, sent my resume just in case a position became available. The human resource person responded and said she would keep my resume on file as they were not hiring at that time. I then noticed (one year later) that the company was looking to hire and the position was posted on Monster. I quickly wrote back to the person instead of going through Monster since we had corresponded at least twice before. She immediately set up a telephone interview for last Friday. She never gave a time of day so I waited the entire day and when she never called, I emailed her saying, she must have had a heavy work load since I didn't hear from her. (there were two other positions posted) She responded (never apologized), only said she was working on last minute deadlines. She wrote what about having the phone interview "over the weekend" (again, never stating which day, Saturday, or Sunday or the time). I again, responded, which day and what time? I never heard back. Was that a tactic to test me for perserverance-or to hope I would give up!
  • Lynn Hughes
    Lynn Hughes
    I'VE BEEN SELF-EMPLOYED FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS.  I RECENTLY WENT ON AN INTERVIEW, AND WAS TOTALLY CAUGHT OFF GUARD.  I WASN'T EXPECTING A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS.  QUESTIONS SUCH AS OF ALL THE BOSSES YOU'VE HAD, WHICH ONE DID YOU DISLIKE THE MOST?TRICKY, TRYING TO SEE IF YOU ARE A NEGATIVE PERSON.BEST ANSWER:  NONE.WHICH ONE OF YOUR PARENTS DO YOU FEEL YOU TAKE AFTER?  ONCE AGAIN, PSYCHOLOGICAL.  WHAT MAKES THEM QUALIFIED TO ASK THESE QUESTIONS?WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?  BE PREPARED, THEY WILL FRY YOU ON THE GRILL.  I CAME REAL CLOSE TO ASKING THEM IF THIS WAS AN "INTERVIEW" OR A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION, AND WHAT DID ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE JOB POSITION.  NORMALLY I WOULD, BUT I WAS SENT BY A FRIEND WHO PREVIOUSLY WORKED THERE.ALL I CAN SAY IS GOOD LUCK.  IT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS AND HUMILIATING THING I EVER EXPERIENCED.  NEEDLESS TO SAY I DIDN'T GET THE JOB.  I DECIDED I DIDN'T WANT TO WORK FOR THEM BECAUSE OF THE AWKWARDNESS OF THE INTERVIEW ITSELF.LH
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