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Interviewing Styles: Tips for Interview Approaches

Behavioral Interviews and More

By Nita Wilmott

There are several types of behavioral interviews.

  • Structured interview with layered questions: skilled interviewers commonly use this. They ask a series of behavioral questions and non-behavioral questions. The questions often overlap and are designed to gather information about each of the major employer concerns.
  • Informal interview: This type is casual and relaxed. It is intended to get the candidate talking and too friendly. The candidate may reveal more information than they might otherwise. As you know, too much information, too soon, can eliminate you from the candidate pool.
  • Reverse Role interview: In this type of interview, the interviewer is unprepared, short on time, hurried, distracted, or very simply, unskilled at interviewing. As an end result, the interviewer does not ask the appropriate questions to determine if a candidate can perform successfully in the position.
  • Assessment Instruments/Testing: Various types of tests are used to determine if a candidate is a good fit for the company. These types of testing may be used. Personality inventories assess personality types. Aptitude inventories assess aptitudes in certain skill areas. Interest inventories assess interests in various occupational categories. Combination instruments can be a combination of any of these.
  • Combination interview: This type of interview combines two or more types of interviews. This could occur within the same interview, on subsequent interviews or both.

Informational Interview

The informational interview is underutilized by job seekers. Job seekers secure informational meetings in order to seek the advice of someone in their current or desired field. They also want to gain further references to other people who can advise them. Employers, who like to stay on top of a list of available talent, even when they do not have any job openings, are often open to these types of interviews. The job seeker and employer exchange information and get to know each other better without reference to a job opening.

I pursued this type of interview when I was researching the possibility of opening my own property management company. This gave me an idea about what my competition expected out of an employee. It gave me insight about what prospective employees would be expecting out of me as an employer.

Directive or Structured Style Interview

In a directive or structured interview, the interviewer has a clear agenda and follows it unflinchingly. Companies use this rigid format to ensure parity between interviews. Interviewers ask each candidate the same series of questions so that they can compare the results. Candidates sometimes feel that they are being steamrolled.

Tag-Team Interview

The tag-team interview is often attractive to companies that rely heavily on team cooperation. A candidate may be expecting to meet one-on-one with an interviewer, but find themselves in a room with several other people. Employers want to gain the insights of various people when interviewing candidates. They want to know if a candidate's skills balance the needs of the company and whether or not the candidate can get along with other workers.

Candidates should use this opportunity to gain as much information about the company as they can. Each interviewer has a different function in the company and have their own perspective about the company.

Meandering Style Interview

The meandering style interview is, unfortunately, often used by inexperienced interviewers. The interviewer relies on the candidate to lead the discussion. The interviewer might begin with a statement such as,"Tell me about yourself." Candidates can use this to their advantage. This type of interview style allows a candidate to guide the interview in the way that best serves the candidate. But a candidate must remember to remain respectful of the interviewer and not dominate the interview.

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