The Interview You Are Not Ready For

 In Interviewing Strategies

The Interview You Are Not Ready ForAll interviews are not equal.  You may practice your answers to commonly asked questions but still end up being caught off guard by the structure of the interview.  Some people feel more comfortable with one type of interview as opposed to another.

Here are some quick tips for handling different types of interviews:

The Phone Interview

The primary purpose of the phone interview is usually for screening.  Normally it is someone from HR who conducts the phone interview, and this HR professional is trying to determine whether or not to pass you on to the next level.  When the phone interview is done by HR, that person typically is not intimately familiar with what you do.  The person will try to verify your experience and credentials.  Often the HR person will also try to determine whether or not you will be comfortable with the salary range that the organization plans to offer.  It is rather common for the HR professional to ask you what your salary expectations are in the phone interview.

To prepare appropriately for the phone interview, you should review your background against the vacancy announcement so that you can speak directly to the company’s needs to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job.  Also, you should research salary information so that if the interviewer presses you for an answer to the salary question over the phone, you can give an appropriate range.  Lastly, you should practice and actually record yourself so that you have an accurate idea of how you come across as far as your phone skills are concerned.  Hearing yourself will allow you to make any necessary adjustments to your speaking skills.

The Panel Interview

The panel interview strikes fear in the hearts of many a job seeker.  Many people become nervous at the thought of an interview with one person.  Having an interview with multiple interviewers simultaneously can cause panic.

In order to succeed at the panel interview, you need to remember that you have to impress at least the majority of the interviewers in order to land the position.  After all, every one of the interviewers has a say in who is chosen.  You also need to make eye contact with all of the interviewers.  It is too easy to focus your attention on the one person who smiles and seems friendly, but all of the interviewers are important.  Just remember that the same you need to multiply whatever you would do for a single interviewer by the number of interviewers that will be in the panel interview.

The Video Interview

In an era of cutbacks, many companies are now saving money that they would ordinarily spend on flying candidates out for a first interview by interviewing them via video chat.  Skype is the most popular video chat service for such interviews.

Here are a few tips for preparing for the video interview.  Practice, practice, practice.  As they say, practice makes perfect.  It’s a different experience to try to build rapport and demonstrate to an interviewer that you are a great fit when you don’t have direct eye-to-eye contact.  Before the real interview you should conduct a practice interview with a friend.  You can also record the interview so that you will have an accurate idea of how you come across on video.

Make sure that your environment looks and sounds professional.  You will probably be doing the video interview from home, so make sure that wherever you choose to do the interview looks appropriate.  You may think that the interviewer can only see your face, but the reality is that they can also see whatever fits in the camera lens that surrounds you.  The room that you are in should look neat and attractive and not be visually distracting.  You also need to avoid any auditory distractions such as a barking dog or a crying child.  It is also best to turn off the ringer for any phones (landline or mobile) that are in the room.

The Day-Long Interview

All day interviews are usually reserved for executive candidates.  They start in the morning and end in the afternoon.  They include lunch, so you have to mind your manners.  Employers invest the time it takes for an all day interview to get a more well-rounded picture of the candidate.  After all, it’s hard to keep your mask on for that length of time.  If you are not a good fit for the position, it’s likely that interviewers will be able to determine that after watching you all day.

The biggest thing to remember is that you are always on as long as you are on the premises of the company.  You cannot afford to let your guard down as you eat or as you are being transported from one office to the next.  You are constantly being assessed, and in order to ace this interview, you need to be poised and polished at all times.

Cheryl Palmer is a career expert who has regularly been quoted in The Ladders, the Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, and CNN Money.  She is a career coach, resume writer, and LinkedIn expert.  Download 5 Master Strategies to Land a Job Through Social Media at


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