Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Typical Interviewing Techniques and Tips

There are four phases to a typical interview:
  1. Introduction.  During this first phase of the interview, both the candidate and employer are establishing first impressions, making personal introductions, and establishing rapport.
  2. Background and Probe Stage. The prospective employer will ask the candidate about educational background and work experience. The employer will discuss skills and abilities in more detail, relative to the employer's needs. This is the questioning period.
  3. Matching Stage / Turn the Tables.  This is the candidate's chance to highlight personal qualifications and strengths to show a good match between position and candidate. Be prepared to ask questions.
  4. Final Questions and Close. The end of the interview is usually accentuated with philosophical or long range questions. Then the interviewer begins the standard 'close' that brings the whole process to an end.

Types of Interviews

Job interviews generally last from one half hour to all day with any number of interviewers.

Be prepared. It will help you manage and control the interview.

There are two types of interviews:
  1. Screening -- This interview (typically 30 minutes or less) decides whether the applicant should receive further consideration. Either you're "in or out."
  2. Selection -- This interview is used to decide which of several candidates should be hired.

The Screening Interview

A search firm representative or a Human Resources person usually conducts this type of interview. Screening interviews may be conducted over the telephone or in perswon. The purpose of this interview is to decide whether or not the candidate has the skills necessary to perform the open position -- it is not used to determine who is the best candidate.

The interviewer has specific questions to ask. These questions are designed to collect facts to report back to the hiring manager. Attempt to identify what information the interviewer is looking for. Candidates must provide clear and concise answers. Always try to be positive -- negative answers tend to produce greater probing and doubts in the mind of the interviewer. Don't offer additional information unless you are sure it will help.

The Selection Interview

This interview is usually conducted by the hiring manager or someone with the authority to hire. Since the person is often not a trained interviewer, unexpected questions may be asked in any sequence.

Most bosses are interested in:

  • Are you able to do the tasks required for this position?
  • Are you willing and motivated to solve the employer's problems?
  • Are you going to fit in? Are they comfortable in seeing you every day?

While this is an interview, it is also a selling situation. Be attentive and observe. Choose words/phrases the interviewer will respond to positively. Don't overwhelm the recruiter by reciting your skills and accomplishments. Find out exactly what needs to be done or what problems need to be solved, and choose accomplishments that fit the situation.

Information used by permission from Indiana University-Southeast.