Interviews come in a variety of different forms, so it can be challenging to know what to expect. Although Revision Resume can't predict what you will face when interviewing for your new role, we can share a few common interview practices that will help you prepare.
The ways in which a hiring manager initially contacts you can vary. In most cases, they reach out via email. Revision Resume recommends checking your junk/spam folder regularly if your email tends to be sensitive to addresses that haven't contacted you directly in the past.
Many times, the email a hiring manager sends will ask you to provide a few dates and times that you would be available for a phone interview. Although some companies will go straight to an in-person interview, many choose to do a 15-30 minute phone interview prior to spending time meeting with you in person. Often they are trying to verify with certainty that you are a viable candidate for the role. They may ask some simple questions to ensure that you are eligible to work for their company, such as inquiring if you are a U.S. citizen, or if you are a non-citizen, that you hold the proper paperwork to be hired in the U.S. They may also seek to understand when you would be available to start. In some cases, hiring managers will go into more detail to make sure you have the appropriate credentials, such as the correct degree or certification for the role.
Some hiring managers opt to have you answer a few questions via email before engaging you in a phone or in-person interview. These questions tend to be specific to the role you are applying for. So, for example, an engineer might be asked a question relating to how they handled a past engineering issue. When answering questions via email, keep the following in mind:
Take your time to think through how to properly answer the question. Don't rush. After you have drafted up a response, spend time proofreading before you submit. You want to ensure your response is error-free.
A hiring manager is likely looking for both the actual answer to the question as well as a demonstration of some of your soft skills, such as your ability to communicate. Keep that in mind as your craft your response. If you can highlight soft skills within the response, do so. Teamwork, time management, customer service and other skills are often important to a company, so it might be nice to incorporate your strengths in these areas within your answer.
Attempt to send your response within a couple of days of receiving the request. If you are delayed for some reason, address that within the reply. You could say something like "Sorry for the delay in responding. I was on vacation and not able to monitor my emails in a timely manner like I usually do."
In some cases you may be asked to conduct a recorded interview. You will receive questions and directions to record and submit your responses. A few tips to help you with this type of interview include:
Before you start, evaluate your background scene. Make sure it is professional and uncluttered, as it will be part of the impression you provide.
Ensure you will not be interrupted during the recording by moving pets to a different room. Let family members know you will be recording an interview and need to be provided a quiet space.
Thoroughly read the questions and the directions. Make sure you understand what you are being asked and how you are supposed to respond. Before you start recording, take time to think through your answer.
Phone Interview with Manager
The next step may be a phone interview with the person that will be your manager, should you be hired. This person will know the specifics of the job, so it is advised that you prepare questions in advance to learn what your day-to-day responsibilities would be. They will likely ask questions that address both your ability to handle the role, as well as your soft skills to ensure you will fit in with the team. Answer questions thoughtfully and succinctly.
In-Person or Zoom Interview
Once you have gotten through the preliminary interview steps, you will be asked to either interview in person or via Zoom. Many companies switched to virtual interviews during the pandemic and have decided to stick with that approach. Others have returned to in-person interviews.
In either case, you may find yourself interviewing with just one person at a time or in a group setting. Often, job seekers that interview one person at a time will meet with multiple different people throughout the day. They will have an interview with someone from human resources, the hiring manager, a co-worker and even someone that might become a direct report. All of these people will be looking at the candidate from different views, but at the end of the day will come together to discuss if the candidate would be a good fit for the role. Therefore, it is important to behave professionally throughout the day, no matter who you are meeting with.
In a group interview, you are likely to encounter all of those people at once. They may take turns asking questions, but all will be gauging your response to each question asked.
For some roles, you may be asked to do a skills demonstration as a final interview. One example is for the teaching profession. Frequently, candidates are asked to present a lesson during the final interview step. This allows the people making the hiring decision to see if the candidate would be effective in the actual role.
Since this type of interview is anxiety-provoking, preparation is key. Be sure you practice whatever you will be demonstrating in advance a few times. Enlist friends or family members to assist you and to provide feedback so you can anticipate any issues and correct them. When you are conducting the skills demonstration, try to stay calm, even if it doesn't go exactly as you planned. Recognize that they may not be seeking perfection, but looking for how you handle a stressful situation and adapt to challenges you encounter.
Interviewing for a job is challenging. You may face numerous different style interviews; phone, email questions, in person, virtual, 1:1, group and skills demonstration. Preparing for all scenarios will help you be successful. Revision Resume provides numerous blogs with helpful interview tips. To read blogs about interview skills click here. Looking for one page packed with helpful information? Click here.
After the interview, sending a value proposition letter can help you stand out compared to other candidates. Check out our checklist that will help you ensure your letter is top-notch. Or, reach out to Revision Resume by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.