Types Of Interviews
and advice on each type
Traditional interviews focused on questions that were hypothetical, leading, open-ended and resume-based:
- What would you do if you worked on a team and there was conflict among the team members?
- You are okay with working overtime, aren't you?
- Do you have customer service experience?
For better or for worse, this sometimes led to the hiring of poor employees who could talk a slick story.
Behavioral interviews, on the other hand, require that you talk about prior experiences, based on the criteria the interviewer specifies:
- Tell me of a time when you worked as part of a team where there was conflict between the team members.
- Describe to me a time when you had to put in extra hours to complete a project or assignment.
- Summarize your customer service experience for me.
- Want more examples? Check out High-Impact Interview Questions: 701 Behavior-Based Questions.
In preparing for behavioral interview questions, follow these steps:
- Read the job description carefully (consider, in particular, any special job requirements being sought, such as bilingual skills or licensure requirements).
- Identify what you think are the key competencies that the company is seeking. Some of these competencies may be particular skills, while others may be personal characteristics.
- Drawing on the "catalog of successes" you've created, summarize your previous experiences that demonstrate those competencies. (What, you didn't create a catalog of successes?! Then click here.)
- Remember dates, names, quantities or measurements of success and other details that will convey the situation to the interviewer.
Steps in answering behavioral interview questions:
- Give a complete story of an event first. What were the key points? What were the results?
- Be specific about what YOU: Did / Said / Felt / Thought.
- Separate your actions from the actions of others.
- Use "I" examples more than "We" examples.
- Ask for clarification if you're unsure of the question.
- Watch and listen for interviewer cues.
- Don't make vague proclamations of your skills. Small but telling actions and behaviors are more important than grandiose but unsubstantiated claims of job success.
Negatively phrased questions:
Many interviewers will ask negatively phrased questions to get you to reveal your weaknesses as well as your strengths: "Tell me about a time when you were unable to complete a project on time," or "Tell me about a time when you made a bad decision." You should answer these questions just as you would answer the question, "Tell me about your weaknesses as an employee." That is, answer the question to indicate that:
- You have the insight and maturity to understand your own weaknesses, and
- You have overcome those weaknesses, or you have reached the point where those weaknesses are no longer a liability in the work place.
Read more about techniques in the article, Tricky Questions Reign in Behavioral Interviews.
Case interviews are used by consulting companies and other firms interested in assessing a potential employees problem-solving abilities.
Case interview resources on the Web
- Vault Guide to the Case Interview and Vault Case Interview Practice Guide 2: More Case Interviews from Career Insider by The Vault
- Deloitte Case Interview Tips
- Cracking the Consulting Case Interview Webinar Recording by Marc Cosentino
Case interview resources at the Career Resource Library
- The Fast Track: The Insider's Guide to Winning Jobs in Management Consulting, Investment Banking, and Securities Trading
- Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation
- Ace Your Case! Consulting Interviews
Often the second or third round of interviews is held at the company offices, after a campus or phone interview.
- Telephone Interview Tips
- Phone Interview Etiquette Can Propel You to the Next Step in the Hiring Process