While our recent article on landing your first internship covers the basics of the interviewing process, some of our readers have requested additional help with in-person interviews specifically. If you're wondering how to impress your future employer, read on to learn how to ace the four most common types of in-person interviews.
The most typical type of interview, the one-on-one interview, follows a set path led by a single interviewer. An applicant will often take part in several interview sessions, either on the same day or multiple days, based upon his or her performance. For example, after meeting with a company's HR director, the applicant will move on to a one-on-one interview with his or her potential direct supervisor, and may progress beyond that to a one-on-one interview with a company executive.
Before you take part in this type of traditional interview, be sure you've done your research on the company, its executives, and the industry. Keep the interview flowing by making it more of a conversation than a one-way interrogation. In addition to carefully answering the interviewer's questions, ask your own questions about the company. For ideas on what to ask, check out these links:
- Forbes’ “4 Essential Questions To Ask At The End Of A Job Interview”
- Monster.com’s “Six Must-Ask Interview Questions”
- U.S. News’ “The 10 Best Interview Questions to Ask”
A behavioral interview will help an interviewer learn more about how you handled situations in the past so that they can predict how you would handle similar issues in the available position. Before you enter a behavioral interview, review your experiences and come up with some examples for questions like the following:
- Have you ever encountered a difficult situation with a coworker? How did you overcome it?
- Have you ever overbooked your time? How did you set priorities and finish all of your work?
- Explain a goal you have set and how you reached it.
Check out this link for more examples of behavioral interview questions.
When answering a behavioral interview question, remember to use the STAR method.
- Name a specific situation
- List the tasks that needed to be completed to solve the issue
- Explain the actual action that was taken
- Describe the results of the action
In a panel interview, you'll be questioned by multiple team members at once. This type of interview is commonly used to see how well an applicant can communicate in a group setting. Prior to the interview, find out as much as possible about who will be in attendance – the more you know about each interviewer's role in the company, the easier it will be to answer his or her questions. Be sure to introduce yourself to each before the interview begins.
When responding to panel interview questions, commonly either traditional or behavioral, be sure to address the interviewer asking the question at first, but keep your gaze moving around the room to acknowledge each interviewer as you are answering. While it may be easy to primarily address the most receptive interviewer, make sure that you attempt to win over those who may not be sold from the get-go.
Teamwork is an important part of the workplace. If you are interviewed along with a group of applicants, be sure that you not only show your leadership, but also your ability to work with others. Be assertive, but not overly so, pay attention to your interviewer at all times, and show your fellow interviewees the utmost respect. In a group interview, it's especially important to set yourself apart from the group in a positive manner and make a strong, memorable impression on your interviewers.