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New Types of Interviews

Category: Tips and Advice

New Types of Interviews In today’s busy world, job interviews are just as likely to be carried outside the regular office meeting room as they are inside. This can be quite a daunting thought if you’ve never been interviewed this way before, but there are many ways you can prepare for this and showcase the best ‘you’.

Candidates should be prepared to face an interview at any time and in any place. Use whatever the opportunity is to establish a strong relationship with your interviewer and allow your personality to shine and this way, you can demonstrate your best skills. Although we are conditioned to expect an interview to take place in a very formal setting, this is no longer considered the ‘norm’ and the question remains ‘does it matter if you’re sat in a bar or in a boardroom?’

What types of interview?

‘Outside of the norm’ interviews are becoming more and more common due to time and cost constraints. It’s best to always be prepared to meet a potential employer in a coffee shop, on the phone, via video chat using Skype or Facetime and more recently, videoing yourself answering questions posed by the employer. You may be invited to a one-way or two-way virtual interview.

Virtual Interview (Skype, Facetime, Video recording platforms)
This is one of the most efficient processes used in recruitment today. There are basically two types of virtual interview and these are one-way or two-way.

One-Way Virtual Interview

The new style of interviews that are becoming more common shakes up all we hold dear about what an interview is supposed to entail. We have come to expect the interview where the employer asks the questions and the candidate responds. Now we have something different on the horizon – the 1 way video interview.
This interview happens at the beginning of a recruitment process and is often a replacement for, or supplements the phone interview which has been a typical first screening.

In the one-way virtual interview, the employer would send a script of the questions in the form of a CV or email. The candidate would be given a URL plus login details to use video recording software to record their answers and send back to the employer for assessment.

If you know this is how the employer interviews, you could start practising by setting up video on your phone and speaking directly to camera. This may seem an alien concept at first, but it allows you to perfect some minor flaws you may have e.g. forgetting to smile but not too much that it looks forced, or using lots of emmmms or other little nuances we all have.

In the one-way video interview, the interviewer can see the candidate but the candidate cannot see the interviewer.

What can you do to ensure you give the best version of you?

1. Meet the Deadline
The employer will set a date by which the interview should be completed. If possible, beat the deadline by hours or even days. Avoid cramming this in a last minute thing as you may come across as rushed and you don’t want to do that.

2. Keep the Login Safe
You should receive a URL to login and participate in the interview. You may also receive additional information such as the employer or interviewer’s name, an identifier for the interview and possibly a password. Be sure to have all of this ready.

3. Which Device Should You Use?
If at all possible, use your computer if it has a microphone and speaker as this will make more of an impression than using your smartphone. An IPad is also good as the image will be larger and clearer. For clarity of voice, it is best if you wear a headset and small earbuds are great, but only if they have the built in microphone. Test your connection and sound so it’s not intermittent.

4. Research and research some more
Highlight areas of the job description where you meet or exceed the requirements and have your evidence based examples polished off. Use the CAR (Challenge, Action, Results) model in all your responses as this will ensure you stay focussed. Remember this is about YOU and not the team so you should highlight YOUR involvement in each situation.

Find out everything you can about the company, its competitors, its products and what its vision is. Use company websites, LinkedIn Company Pages, Facebook Business Pages, YouTube Channel, Instagram Business Page etc. How are you aligned with their vision? What have you done in the past using the skills the employer is looking for?

5. Have your interview answers ready
If you receive the questions in advance, this is perfect and gives you the ideal opportunity to showcase how much of a solution you are to that employer’s problem. If you don’t, and this is more likely, practise answering more common interview questions. You will know from the job description what the competences for the role are, so try and come up with 2-3 different examples of when you’ve used those.

6. Keep practicing
You want to avoid coming across robotically and there are some tips to help you with this. Nerves are good as they increase adrenalin and when an employer sees some nerves, they know you really care about this job. Practise answering the questions to a mirror or into your phone as this interview format is likely to be quite alien to you. You receive no endorsements, such as the employer smiling or nodding, you are literally on your own. Practise makes perfect and you can never do enough of that if you’re given the opportunity by knowing the questions in advance. When practising, speak out loud. Park your car up somewhere and do some practise in there.

7. Where are you going to record?
You want to find a very quiet spot, distraction free from both noise and background. You want yourself to be the only thing visible to the employer. Have a clear wall behind you so the focus is solely on you. Ensure your laptop or IPad or Phone has enough power to see you through and your Wi-Fi connection is strong.

8. What should I wear?
You want to be well-groomed and well-dressed just as you would if you were going to a regular office based interview. You don’t want to be wearing anything too loud or distracting as you want the focus to be on you and your answers.

9. No second chance to make a first impression
Make sure you have a comfortable seat and test your camera to see how you image looks. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward to the camera, keep great eye contact, smile and allow your personality to come through. Don’t whisper, mumble or fidget. Your endless practices will help you not do this and especially if you’ve recorded yourself previously.

10. Timekeeping
Normally, these interviews are time limited so always have a clock where you can easily see it. In your rehearsals, you should know how much time you can devote to each question. Not so simple when you don’t know what the questions may be. Using the CAR model to respond however, will ensure you don’t go off down any rabbit holes and lose focus on the question.

Two-Way Virtual Interview

This type of interview is conducted online in real-time by using Skype, Facetime or other Video Conferencing Software. The employer will let you know what they will be using so be prepared to download the software onto your PC, laptop, IPad or phone.

Hosting video interviews on platforms such as Skype or Facetime have become very popular with more and more employers opting for this.

Preparation for this type of interview is everything. Make sure you set the scene and get off to the best possible start by ensuring you are in a place that is private and quiet and has tidy surroundings. If you are doing this from your bedroom, ensure all of the area that would be visual to the employer is distraction free. By that, nothing controversial on the walls, be mindful if you have books on display that they will assess you on your reading material, if you have video games or DVDs, then this too could be used as part of their assessment. It’s always advisable to have clear surroundings so the main focus is on you.

It is best if the lighting is natural and you can always run a test beforehand by using your preview screen. Test your microphone and a good idea is to Skype or Facetime a friend beforehand to check the quality of your sound and also to receive feedback on how you are presenting yourself.

Although the interviewer may only see you from the waist up, it is still important to dress smartly as this will make you feel more serious about the interview and will help your performance. It is quite difficult to portray body language in this type of interview, so practise beforehand instead and focus on your tone of voice and how positive and enthusiastic you sound.

Always maintain good eye contact with the employer, even if they don’t as this will show how serious you are and your passion for the role.

All of the tips highlighted above for the one-way interview are equally applicable and effective in the two-way also.

Coffee Shop

Your immediate thought may be that as this is a casual environment, then dress too should be casual. You should treat it like any formal interview and dress appropriately. You may not like hot drinks and panic as to what you should do. Why not opt for a glass of water? It’s important to be more aware of your surroundings than you may normally be. Employers may choose this type of interview to assess aspects of your personality. They may observe how you speak with the waiting staff, or when you’re at the counter placing an order. One employer, for example, chose to hold interviews at a gay café in London to see how candidates responded in this type of setting and what their views were on gay people. It presents an opportunity for the employer to assess the personality of a candidate whilst simultaneously assessing their skills and experience. Another reason could be if the position is in a large, open plan office and they want to see how you focus and what, if anything distracts you.

Telephone Interview

This type of interview is normally part of a screening process before receiving, or not, an invitation to the next phase of the recruitment process.

A time should be agreed beforehand, and your immediate thought may be ‘that’s great and I don’t need to dress up’ and I can have the TV on to focus on. Your presentation won’t be noticed by the employer; however what you are wearing can impact on how you perform during this important initial stage. If you’re not long out of bed, and not yet dressed, the chances of you feeling unprepared and rushed are heightened. There is a lot to be said for being well groomed as it will make you feel positive and energised. The benefit to you of this type of interview is you can quickly look up something the employer mentions such as a definition or another company. It is always helpful to have your CV or Application Form in front of you during the call.

Ensure you are taking the call in a quiet area where you’ll have no disruptions or distractions; you have a good signal on your phone and your battery is well charged. It’s a good idea also to keep a glass of water handy as you will be doing lots of talking.

When asked a question, stay calm and take a couple of moments to collect your thoughts; you don’t need to answer right away, it’s acceptable to take your time. Listening is just as important as talking during a phone interview.

Regardless of what type of interview, or where the interview is taking place, preparation (rehearsal and research) is your biggest key to success. Not only will it boost your confidence but it will also help you remain calm and professional in a challenging situation such as these types of interview can be.