Typical interview structure

Don't just think of an interview as an opportunity for the employer to find out as much as they can about you, but also for you to find out as much as you can about the company and the position- it is a two way street!

When you find out you have an interview with an employer ask what the structure will be if you are able to (normally this is possible when you are working with a Recruitment Consultant) as they know this information from their client.

Throughout the interview the interviewer is trying to find out as much about your personality, skills and experience so as to gauge how you would fit into the organisation. Fit is very important these days and thankfully more and more employers are understanding that you can have all of the skills and experience in the world but if you do not 'fit' within the existing team then there is a good chance you will not enjoy the role.

Typically an interviewer will break the ice by asking: 'Tell me about yourself'. This is to help you feel more at ease (if possible) and for your personality to start to show through.

If faced with such an open question, ask 'where would you like me to start?' in order to get a more definite starting point.

Don't answer questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Always use examples wherever possible and distinguish clearly what part you played versus the collective 'we'.

The interviewer may then talk you through their plan for the interview so you understand the flow. If not, then just go with the flow but be prepared for a variety of questions and possible testing (depending on the role).

There are no two styles of interviews that are the same but one of the most important things to be mindful of is the qualities you bring to the interview.

Interviewers value qualities such as:

Honesty (never lie)
The ability to build rapport
Clear and polite communication including the ability to listen to others

The interviewer will go through your CV and will want to gain an understanding of your work experience to date, skills, career achievements and how you have added value to your previous employer. They want to see that you have the potential to add value to their organisation also.

Following the discussion on your CV they would ask you generic interview questions such as strengths and weaknesses and then some behavioral and situational interview questions to gain an understanding of how you have reacted to a variety of situations in the past.

This gives them a good understanding of how your personality and attitude would fit within the business.

At the end of the interview they would ask you if you have any questions. This is where we highly recommend for you to have a list of pertinent questions to ask. This will show that you have prepared, done your homework including perusing their website and are interested in the opportunity. You would be surprised how many people do not prepare for an interview these days.

They may also explain to you the process going forward and the expected time frame for doing this. If they do not explain this to you then ask- you have every right to.

In some instances they may ask you to complete testing (this really is role dependent) so if this is common in your type of role then be prepared for this eg data entry roles to see the data entry speed and accuracy. Just remember that preparation is everything- the more time you spend preparing the better you will feel and the more it will show to the interviewer!

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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