Other sections in Students :
The Careers Portal has learning pathways / resources to help you practice your interview technique:
Commonly used by large organisations as a screening process, there's more to telephone interview etiquette than you might expect. Follow our advice and secure a face-to-face interview
A telephone interview is a pre-scheduled job interview, typically lasting half an hour. Popular with recruiters as they save time and help to keep interview costs down, they also eliminate travel costs for the interviewee. However, telephone interviews do have a downside. In most cases you'll be answering questions under a strict time limit and this can increase nerves. Not being able to see the interviewer also presents its own difficulties, as you're unable to gauge their response.
A confident phone manner doesn't come naturally to all and some candidates may feel uncomfortable talking over the phone, but with the appropriate preparation this shouldn't affect your performance.
Just like in any other interview situation you need to research the industry, organisation and job. Visit the company website, competitor sites and read relevant journals and news articles. Do this in advance. Avoid surfing the web for information once you've answered the interviewers call.
You can also plan your responses to frequently asked questions by preparing a list of examples of when and how you've demonstrated each skill or quality listed in the person specification.
To increase your confidence when talking over the phone ask family or friends to call you for a mock interview. Use your research and planned responses to answer their questions and treat this practise as the real thing. Try recording yourself and listening back to get a feel for how you come across over the phone.
A member of the HR team usually conducts telephone interviews and you should expect the same questions as in a face-to-face interview.
When answering the call you need to be professional and upbeat. If you've pre-arranged an interview time don't be caught off guard when the phone rings. Remember that this is not an informal chat with a friend. Answer with 'Good morning/good afternoon, (your name) speaking.' Avoid using slang or informal language and maintain this professional tone throughout the interview.
When answering questions be aware of the pace of your speech. Time is limited but don’t rush or mumble, despite your nerves. Be succinct and to the point. Your responses need to demonstrate your knowledge of, and enthusiasm for the role.
One of the downsides to telephone interviews is that without visual clues from the interviewer it can be hard to gauge how you're doing. In a face-to-face interview you're able to take direction from the employer's body language and visual responses but this is not possible over the phone. When you're being interviewed in person you're also able to smile and nod to show the interviewer that you're engaged.
During the interview use interjections such as 'Ok', 'I see' and 'I understand' to let the interviewer know you're listening. However, be careful not to interrupt them when they're talking.
Video interviews are an increasingly popular way of assessing candidates across all job sectors - this advice should help ensure you're ready to take on the challenge
Often used in the early stages of the interview process to filter out large numbers of candidates, video interviews can vary in style and length. You may be asked to answer pre-recorded questions with an allotted time given for each response. Or the interview may be live, in a similar format to a traditional interview and carried out on a platform such as FaceTime or Skype.
Talking on camera doesn't come naturally to some people so it's important to do some test runs to help you get used to it. Record yourself and watch it back to see how you look and sound. This is also a good opportunity to review your body language and make sure the background and lighting are okay.
Plan well in advance where you're going to do the interview. Use a quiet location, where you won't be disturbed by noises and people. Make sure the room you choose is tidy and use a clean and simple background so that the recruiter focuses on you. Close any software on your computer that might play notification sounds, and switch your phone to silent, to guarantee you won't be distracted. Also, let everyone in the house know you're about to start the interview so they don't interrupt.
You may be at home but it's still a job interview and this is your opportunity to give a professional first impression - this means dressing appropriately. You should wear the same outfit you would have chosen for a face-to-face meeting with the employer. Although you should think about how your clothes will look on screen and avoid busy patterns and stripes for example. For advice on what to wear take a look at how to prepare for an interview.
You should avoid slouching, moving too much or touching your face. Instead employers will be looking for you to make good eye contact, smile, listen and take an interest in what they're saying. To help you do this your camera should be at eye level and you should look into it rather than at the screen.
You also need to think about the lighting as it won't be a great interview if you can't be properly seen. To ensure you don't get a shadow either use natural light from a window or put a lamp in front of the camera and adjust the distance to get the best result.
A few days before the interview you should test the computer, camera and any software that you've been asked to use. Make sure the picture is clear and the sound quality is good. It's also worth checking your internet connection and ensuring that nothing on the day will affect it.
One of the most common interview methods, competency-based interviews are popular with recruiters as they enable employers to compare candidate's life-for-like. Find out how to prepare for this type of interview
Competency-based interviews (also known as structured, behavioural or situational interviews) are designed to test one or more skills or competencies. The interviewer has a list of set questions (each focusing on a specific skill), and your answers will be compared to pre-determined criteria and marked accordingly.
Competency interviews work on the principle that past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance. They can be used by employers across all sectors but are particularly favoured by large graduate recruiters, who may use them as part of an assessment centre.
They differ to normal or unstructured interviews, which tend to be more informal. In unstructured interviews recruiters often ask a set of random, open-ended questions relevant to the job, such as 'what can you do for the company?' to get an overall impression of who you are. A competency-based interview is more systematic and each question targets a skill needed for the job.
Key competencies regularly sought after by employers include:
A number of large organisations already use strength-based interviewing as part of their graduate recruitment process. Find out what questions to expect and how to prepare for this type of interview
A strength-based interview focuses on what you enjoy doing, rather than what you can do like in a competency-based interview. But don't be fooled, while you're talking about what you like and dislike the employer is learning about what you’re good at, and not so good at. Strength-based interviewing has its foundations in positive psychology. The theory is that by identifying your strengths and matching them to the role you'll be happier in your work, perform better, learn quicker and stay with the company for longer.
Unlike their competency counterparts, strengths interviews are more personal and allow recruiters to gain a genuine insight into the personalities of candidates and to see if they’d be a good 'fit' for the company. They also allow you, as the interviewee, to be selected on the basis of your natural abilities.
Competency-based may be the most common type of interview, but strength-based interviews are gaining in popularity as an increasing number of organisations recognise the benefits of such a method, of which there are many.
The strength-based approach is particularly useful when recruiting individuals who don't have a lot of work experience and companies such as Aviva, BAE Systems, Barclays, Cisco, EY, Nestle, Royal Mail and Unilever all use strength interviews as part of their graduate recruitment process.
Another reason that employers are beginning to favour strength interviews is that candidates have less opportunity to prepare and rehearse their answers, meaning that interview questions are more likely to bring out the genuine interest, motivation and aptitude of interviewees.
An added benefit is that most people come across best when they're talking about things they enjoy so strength-based interviewing makes for a more pleasurable interview experience all round, for both the interviewer and interviewee.
Book a Mock Interview