4 Different Types of Job Interviews and How to Crush Them

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Before you go to an interview, ask who you’ll be meeting with and what the structure of the interview will be. Will you be given any skill assessments, or will you need to prepare a presentation? While you can’t know every detail, arming yourself with knowledge will help you prepare mentally for what’s coming and give you some peace of mind.

There are various interviewing methods and they differ greatly between industries and even companies. Most interviews contain a combination of questions from different styles so it’s good to be familiar with them all. The best thing you can do to prepare is to understand each kind and its intention.

Three of the most commonly asked standard interview questions are:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you here today?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Understandably, these are not well-liked questions because they are broad. We tend to think we must come up with the answer the interviewer is looking for, but that’s not the case. Use these types of questions as an opportunity to allow them to get to know you better. Well thought out, concise answers to questions like these will also show that you have strong communication and presentation skills.

Behavioral Job interview Questions

Behavioral questions focus on things you’ve done and give employers insight into potential future behavior. For example:

  • Describe a time when you didn’t get along with a colleague.
  • Tell me about your biggest professional failure.

Choose one example. Briefly describe the situation, how you handled it, and what you learned from it. Your attitude is important here. Make a good impression by ending each answer on a positive note, such as a lesson learned or the impact of what you did.

Situational interview Questions

Unlike behavioral interview questions, situational questions concentrate on future rather than past performance. The interviewer will give you a problem and ask how you would deal with it. For example:

  • Your boss is on a whirlwind business trip. He assigned you a report to write for a client while he is gone, and he expects a first draft in two days. You thought everything was clear, but when you look back through your meeting notes and emails, there are outstanding questions that will make it difficult to complete the report. What do you do?

Employers want to know how you would solve a problem. Be specific. Repeat the problem aloud to acknowledge your understanding of it (bonus: this shows listening skills), and describe your solution and the action you would take.

Analytical and Case Job Interview Questions

Analytical and case questions are intended to get at how you think; that is, how do you break down a problem to derive an answer? For example:

  • An online bank is growing well, but it’s not reaching profitability targets. What could be wrong?
  • How many gallons of ketchup do New York City McDonald’s restaurants use each day?

Talk out loud as you break down the problem to get to an estimated answer. The interviewer is looking for insight into your thought process and wants to have a conversation rather than an exact answer. Explain your suppositions and issues that may have a substantial effect on your estimate. This is a skill you should practice in advance.

Presentation Skills in a job interview

You may be presented with a business issue and asked to present solutions within a strict time frame. First, outline the problem on paper and all solutions that come to mind. Drawing diagrams or pictures may help. Don’t worry about being perfect. The logic and contents of your thought process are most important.

Be aware that there are many types of interviews where you may be asked questions like those above or a combination of them all. You may be in a speed interviewing session where you meet with a new interviewer every five minutes. You may be given written or behavioral assessments. In every case, be prepared as much as you can and be yourself. If you provide a false impression you may end up unhappy in a job that’s not a good fit for you or the company.

Marcelle Yeager helps people land jobs that get them to the next level of their career. Through her company Career Valet, she works with mid- to senior-level professionals on their branding strategy and job search materials to secure new roles. She co-founded a second business in 2015 called ServingTalent, where she finds jobs for talented military and Foreign Service spouses. Marcelle has spent over six years living and working abroad. She can be reached at myeager@careervalet.com.

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