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Mastering Interviews

There are many types of interview styles, and you should be aware of each before putting yourself out there. Before ending the conversation with the interview scheduler (whether by phone or email), try to gather information about the interview itself.

Interviewing methods differ greatly depending on the industry to which you’re applying, the company and even the position within the company. The interviewers may focus on one style or engage you in a combination of several interview types. The best thing you can do to prepare is to understand each kind and its intention from the interviewer's perspective.

At Staffio, we constantly connect with our candidates for De-brief sessions, which will help them analyze, understand and embrace vital interview pointers.

The Traditional / Standard Interview

This is the scenario you'll face most often: You sit down with a solo interviewer and answer a series of questions designed to help her figure out if you're a great candidate for the job.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why are you here today?
The interviewer may also ask you to tell him or her about yourself. Come up with well-thought-out, specific and truthful answers to each of these classic questions before interview day. That way, you will have a concise response ready to go. 

Behavioral / Situational

Behavioral interviews focus on the past so employers can attempt to predict future behavior. For example, they may say:
  • What has been the most stressful situation you have ever found yourself in at work? How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through? Was the recommendation accepted? If not, why?
  • Give an example of a time you went well out of your way to ensure a customer received the best possible service from you and organisation. What was their reaction?
  • When have you had to present to a group of people with little or no preparation? What obstacles did you face? How did you handle them?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision. What obstacles did you face?
  • Give me an example of an important career goal which you set yourself and tell me how you reached it. What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome the obstacles?
  • Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do? What was the result? What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently?
  • Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How/why was this person difficult? How did you handle it? How did the relationship progress?
  • What has been your greatest leadership achievement in a professional environment? Talk through the steps you took to reach it.
  • Tell me about a particular work-related setback you have faced. How did you deal with it?
Choose one example, and briefly describe the situation, how you handled it and what you learned from it. People often confuse behavioral and situational interviews, which are described next. Questions may seem similar, because an employer is assessing your behavior in a particular situation.
Typically, situational questions concentrate on future performance rather than past performance, which is the focus of behavioral interviews. The interviewer will give you a problem and ask how you would deal with it.
  • A co-worker tells you in confidence that she plans to call in sick while actually taking a week's vacation. What would you do and why?
  • Describe how you would handle the situation if you met resistance when introducing a new idea or policy to a team or work group.
  • How would you handle it if you believed strongly in a recommendation you made in a meeting, but most of your co-workers shot it down?
  • List the steps that you would take to make an important decision on the job.
  • How would you deal with a colleague at work with whom you seem to be unable to build a successful working relationship?
  • You disagree with the way your supervisor says to handle a problem. What would you do?     
Employers want to know how you would likely solve a problem, and in some cases, they want to measure your expertise. Always be honest and specific. Address the problem, and describe your solution and the action you would take. If it’s a question that probes at your expertise in an area, include something applicable in your answer to show you know your stuff.

Stress Job Interviews

The stress interviewing technique is typically used only for positions in which the job-seeker will be facing stress on the job and the interviewer wants to see how well he or she can handle the pressure. The key to surviving stress interviews is to remain calm keep a sense of humor and avoid getting angry or defensive.

The interviewer may try to stress you in one of several ways such as asking four or five questions in a row acting rude or sarcastic disagreeing with you or simply keeping you waiting for a long period.
Don't take any of these actions personally. Simply stick to your agenda and showcase your skills and accomplishments calmly. Better try taking back control of the interview by ignoring the stress.
  • Painful or Aggressive Questions
  • Aggressive Interview Attitude or Behavior
  • Unexpected Interview Behaviors
  • Brainteasers or Puzzle Interviews
  • Case Interviews
Aggressive interviewers can smell fear. But be aware that the person who asks brutally tough questions might turn out to be warmhearted and easygoing -- after you’re hired, of course.

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