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8.3 Different Methods of Interviewing and Different Interview Venues

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn the pros and cons of live versus phone interviews.
  2. Understand strategies that will allow you to maximize your impact during any type of interview.

Methods of Interviewing

One of four methods might be used to interview you:

  1. Live interviews (one-on-one and a panel type)
  2. Phone interviews (one-on-one and a panel type)
  3. Video or Skype interviews
  4. Taped interviews

Live (One-on-One and a Panel Type)

Live, or face-to-face, interviews, are the most common interview interaction. An increasing trend of recruiters is to pair up with another colleague and have two or more interviewers per interview candidate. Many candidates will end up interviewing before a panel of interviewers, so be prepared for that to happen as well.

You will need to employ all of the strategies outlined earlier in this chapter, in the section titled “Different Types of Interviews.” In addition, here are some specific strategies to employ when you are interviewing with one or more interviewers.

When you are interviewing with only one person, the focus is clear—it’s on one person. Ensure your nonverbal and verbal communication is focused, positive, and results oriented. The more you practice, troubleshoot, and improve, the more you will succeed.

If you are interviewing with two or more interviewers at the same time, focus and practice are just as important, but you can employ a few additional strategies:

  • Focus on the person asking the question to ensure you fully understand the question. When you answer, however, look at all interviewers in the room (even if they are not speaking). Use the lighthouse approach, and just as a lighthouse’s light scans from side to side, do the same with your eye contact and connect with everyone in the room.
  • Practice and helpful critiques for improvement cannot be emphasized enough. Conduct as many mock interviewsA practice interview. Practice interviews are not conducted by your desired employer, but by a person knowledgeable and familiar with the interview process. as possible because your skills will improve with each attempt. Practice also will help you strengthen your performance significantly, thus helping you succeed in either gaining a second-round interview or getting an offer.

Phone (One-on-One and a Panel Type)

Phone interviews are just as important, if not more so, than face-to-face interviews. In down economies, more companies choose to conduct interviews via the phone versus face-to-face to save time, money (if they have to pay your expense to come to their office), and effort. So preparation and practice are key to succeeding on the phone.

Prepare for a phone interview (similar to a regular interview) by taking seven important steps:

  1. Research the industry, the company, the competitors, and the interviewer (if possible).
  2. Match your strengths to the job description.
  3. Practice interview questions, focusing on the results of your projects and tasks.
  4. Ask a friend to interview you over the phone so you are used to the medium.
  5. Be proactive about discussing your strengths and have concrete examples of how you have used them.
  6. Prepare questions for the interviewer.
  7. Ask what the next steps will be.

Phone interviews have several advantages:

  • You can focus more on the actual questions because you have fewer distractions:

    • The surroundings
    • The interviewer
  • You can treat the interview like an open-book test and have several items at hand to help you:

    • A copy of your résumé
    • A list of your strengths and examples of each one
    • A list of your weaknesses and your plan to strengthen each

Since many companies save time and money by conducting phone interviews, spend the time now to master success strategies as it will benefit you in the long run!

Phone interviews have some disadvantages:

  • You lose your ability to make a first great impression visually.
  • You lose the ability to impress with body language such as eye contact, a good handshake, and so forth.
  • You cannot read the interviewer’s body language.
  • You might become confused if more than one person is asking questions, especially if a speakerphone is used.
  • You might be left in the awkward position of not knowing what to do next if the recruiter doesn’t value phone interviews as much as face-to-face interviews. They might reschedule or not call when they said they would.

Strategies for a successful phone interview include the following:

  • Ensure your office or interview space will be quiet and uninterrupted.

    • Put a note over your doorbell—“Do not ring from 2–3:00 p.m.”
    • Put a note on your door—“Do not disturb—interview in progress from 2–3:00 p.m.”
    • Ask someone to walk your dog for the hour you are on the phone, or put it in a fenced backyard. If you have a cat with a loud meow, put it in another room where it cannot be heard.
    • Stop call waiting—check with your carrier as to how to do this.
    • Shut off cell phones.
  • Dress up even though you don’t have to:

    • You will feel more professional.
    • You will take the interview more seriously.
  • Stand up during the interview:

    • Your voice sounds better.
    • Your focus will be keener.
  • Have a glass of water handy.
  • Have your important documents and whatever else you might need in front of you because the interviewer can hear you gather things during the interview.
  • Remember that body language is important:

    • Smile when you would normally smile in a live interview. Interviewers can hear a smile and smiles enhance the interview experience.
    • Use inflection in your voice because a monotone makes for a dull interview.

Videoconference or Skype Interview

When you are at a more senior level, interviews might take place with someone in a different city, state, or even overseas. In such a case, a videoconference or SkypeA software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls are free if both participants use Skype. Skype has also become popular for its additional features, including videoconferencing. interview may be used. You will be seated in front of a computer with a camera and your interview will be live via that camera.

Strategies to succeed during a videoconference interview include the following:

  • When answering questions, look into the camera instead of looking at the person on the screen. If you look at the camera, your eyes will meet the eyes of the person on the other end of the computer, making for a better connection. If you look at the person on the computer monitor when answering the question, you will appear to be looking down. It’s tempting to look at the person’s face versus the camera because you want to read their impression, but try to avoid this.
  • Practice this technique by speaking to a friend via Skype. It’s the exact same medium as a teleconferenced interview, and will give you the much-needed practice.
  • Posture is very important, as it is with all interviews, but especially in a videoconference because the interviewer will see you from the shoulders up.

Taped Interviews

Taped interviews are so rarely used that you probably will not encounter them. They are primarily used to hire a large number of people for the same exact position, for example, sales positions. If a company has a goal to hire one hundred or five hundred salespeople, a taped interview saves them time in reviewing candidate answers, since all the questions might be the same. Taped interviews are also helpful when hiring salespeople in different parts of the country because taped interviews save the enormous expense of flying interviewers from city to city to find the best possible candidates.

Companies that use taped interviews may direct you to a satellite officeRegional offices that are not the headquarters of a company. where the taping takes place. You would be seated opposite a computer or computer kiosk, and you would be given an overview of the process. Taped interviews could involve timed responses, so the pressure could be high. Remember these types of interviews are rare, but it is good to know they exist and how they are formatted.

Strategies to succeed in taped interviews include the following:

  • Practice taping yourself before a taped interview using a Flip VideoA product that easily allows you to take a video yourself or others. Different types of Flip Videos are available and costs range from $100 to $230. or ask a friend to tape you. This can give you much-needed practice that other candidates might not have.
  • Review the instructions carefully before proceeding because taped interviews are often timed.
  • Focus intently on the question because you will not be able to clarify it.

Interview Venues

Knowing the four different types of interview venues will help ensure your success:

  1. On campus
  2. Off campus
  3. In a corporate office or conference room
  4. During a meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner)

On Campus

If your interview takes place on campus, you will probably receive instructions from your career services office regarding the date and time of the interview. Check with the office to ensure you know how you will be notified. Most career services offices have a general check-in area, a waiting area, and very small interview rooms. It’s best to practice in these rooms ahead of time, so you know exactly what to expect. Some rooms are literally five feet by five feet.

Off Campus

If your interview takes place off campus, the company with which you are interviewing will send instructions regarding where to report and when. Ensure you know exactly how to get there, and arrive early if at all possible because you probably will need to go through security. Bring the interview schedule with you; it should include the name(s) of the individuals with whom you will interview and their contact information.

If you need to travel via train or plane to an interview, dress professionally on the way there. Wearing yoga pants and flip-flops doesn’t make a good impression, and there is always a chance you will bump into company representatives during your trip.

In a Corporate Office or Conference Room

Most often, candidates will be interviewed in the interviewer’s office, but there are times when you will be interviewed in a conference room. Some conference rooms are glass-enclosed areas, and it can be distracting to interview as individuals look in and walk by. Regardless of the setting, maintain your focus on the questions asked and the interview at hand.

During a Meal

Mealtime interviews can be tricky situations because food and drink are involved. Strike a healthy balance of not being ravenous but not leaving your plate untouched either. Focus your full attention on the conversation and interview at hand. It is wise to stay away from messy marinara sauces and long strings of pasta because they can easily stain your clothing. Forgo alcohol at all costs and certainly if you are not of legal age to consume alcohol. If you are not comfortable with dining etiquette, familiarize yourself with it to increase your comfort level. Know which fork is correct to use for salad versus dinner. Research this so you are prepared in advance. Interviews that take place during a meal can heighten nerves and cause you to spill a glass of water, which doesn’t bode well for your confidence level. Practice can only help, so try to attend a dining etiquette class or study proper techniques to ensure a good impression.

No matter what the venue, dress well and take extra copies of your résumé, a portfolio with paper and a pen that works, a list of questions you will ask, and perhaps a bottle of water just in case you need it.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing the different types of interviews is important to succeeding at each. Knowing the pros and cons to live and phone interviews can ensure you get a second interview or perhaps the job offer.
  • Having a one-on-one interview is very different from having to interview before a panel of people. Researching the individuals who will interview you can decrease your stress and help you perform optimally.
  • Some interviewers may merge aspects of behavioral and case interviewing into one interview session. Knowing how to succeed at each is a wise strategy.
  • Your interview venue affects the interview dynamics, so preparing in advance can only help.

Exercises

  1. Participate in any mock interview sessions held by your school’s career services office.
  2. Find a peer at your school with whom to practice, if workshops aren’t available in career services. Interview your classmate and then critique their responses. Also have your peer interview you and critique your responses.
  3. Practice a phone interview with a friend and vice versa. It’s great practice before a live phone interview.
  4. Practice interviewing on campus in the career services office so you can be comfortable with the venue.
  5. Ask someone in career services to interview you in their office so you can be comfortable with that particular setting.
  6. Practice a mealtime interview with your interview buddy during breakfast or lunch.