Someone asks you lots of questions and you answer them – easy, right? Well, it would be if all job interviews were the same; unfortunately, they are not. Interviews vary and you should make sure you’re prepared for the one you’re actually attending…

We outline the three most common interview types and explain how you should tackle them.

One-to-one interviews

You are more likely to get a one-to-one interview with a smaller company. It’s slightly less formal than panel interviews (see below) but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down! After all, a one-to-one interview means you are more likely to be directly questioned by the boss – or at least the person in charge of deciding whether ‘You’re hired’ or ‘You’re fired’ (Alan Sugar would be proud).

The bonus to this type of interview is you only have to impress one person. After all, people buy people – if they LIKE you as a person then you’re in with a better shot than if they just think you might be good at the job but won’t fit in with the team…

Panel interviews

These are popular with larger companies and involve a group of interviewers taking turns to ask you their questions. This can be a scary experience, especially if you haven’t done one before, and it’s vital that you really prepare for your interview in advance.

The trick is to treat all of the people on the panel with equal respect as you may not know who is really in charge, and they will all have an opinion about you and can decide whether or not you get the job. When answering difficult interview questions focus on the person questioning you at the time, involving the other panel members by making eye contact with everyone in turn.

Competency-based interviews

Competency interviews are increasingly popular and usually follow a strict set of questions, so the opportunity for ice-breaking chatter is reduced. This type of interview focuses on your work-related skills and abilities rather than questions about your personality, and they can be trickier to answer as you have to use examples to demonstrate your answers…

Prepare by reading the job ad carefully as the core skills mentioned usually make up the questions asked.

Telephone interviews

Instead of inviting a large army of candidates to battle it out in the interview room, many employers use a telephone interviewas a quick and cost-effective way to whittle down candidates in the first round.

This type of interview can be good as it cuts out the need to brush up on interview body language and interview dress code; however, it does test your social and telephone skills – if you struggle to express yourself, it may be time to read up on the basics of telephone technique.

Video interviews

These are growing in popularity with the growth of Skype. You may be invited to an office or asked to connect at home using your own computer. Sometimes video interviews are done by agencies, using questions set by the company (managers can then see each candidate answering the same questions and can compare responses).

There are a lot of things to think about in a video interview, above the usual interview advice and it’s important that you are fully prepared as it’s easy to get flustered if you’re not used to communicating via a web cam or similar.

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