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Types of interview

If you are successful in applying you will be offered an interview. There are a couple of different types of interview and each require different skills, be sure to know what type of interview you will be attending so that you can prepare accordingly. You will normally be invited to interview by phone but employers may email you, or send you an invitation in the post. Be sure to check the time and location for face to face interviews, plan your route and give yourself extra time, you don’t want your first impression to be as arriving late!

Phone interviews:

Often a phone interview is used by employers to determine who is invited to a formal interview and although they may seem advantageous, there are a number of key things to be aware of.

  • Make sure you know what time they are calling, set a time when you know you have time to talk.
  • Be prepared, ensure you are somewhere with good signal, which is quiet and that your phone is fully charged.
  • Know your stuff, be sure to have some background knowledge on the organisation you are interviewing for and the role you have applied for. It may also be handy to have a copy of your CV or application to hand for you to refer back to.
  • Be sure to get feedback. It is difficult to determine how the interviewer feels about your answer without seeing them in person. Questions such as ‘Is that what you needed to know?’ or ‘Do you want me to go into more detail?’ will allow the interviewer to identify any areas in which you need to expand or develop.
  • Be enthusiastic. Sitting upright in your chair and smiling whilst you’re on the phone may seem silly but it will help you to come across as alert and confident.
  • Other things to think about. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you’re unsure or if the question is specific. Asking them to repeat it will give you time to think about an answer and will allow you to interpret the question correctly and give a relevant and intelligent answer. Don’t start to panic if there are short silences from the interviewer, they are probably taking notes, which is often a positive indication of how you’re doing.
  • End it well. Thank the interviewer for their time; ask any relevant questions such as when they’ll be letting people know if they have been successful. You can also ask for the interviewers email address so you can send them an email thanking them for their time and reaffirming your interest in the role.


Face to Face/ One on One interview:


  • Research – Making sure you are prepared can help drastically reduce your nerves. You’ll go into the interview feeling confident you know about the company and the industry they’re in. You will be able to answer the interview questions more confidently and in turn be able to ask intelligent questions of the interviewer. Good documents to look for are the company’s strategy or their annual report. Their strategy will outline their ambitions for at least the next 12 months and will allow you to tailor your answers to make it clear that you would be a great fit for the organisation moving forward. With sites such as Linked In or the organisations website you can research the employees who are interviewing you and asked them tailored questions, for example ‘John, I noticed you’ve been here for a year, how did you find your transition into the organisation?’ or ‘Sarah, I know you’ve worked at a number of different companies in this sector, what is it that you think sets this one apart?’
  • Prepare your stories – By this we mean study the job description and person specification and develop some anecdotes or examples of times when you have demonstrated the behaviour or the skills the employer is looking for. You stories should illustrate your value to your previous employers and demonstrate your ability to bring value and success to the new role, they’ll also allow you to provide evidence that you meet their requirements. Many employers will ask directly for examples but if they don’t, try working them into conversation naturally.
  • Dress for success – The general rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want. If you are interviewing for a position which would normally have casual dress or a uniform be smart anyway. Dressing smartly will never look bad but dressing casually could come across as insulting to an organisation. Check your appearance just before you go in, there’s nothing worse than turning up with your lunch down your front and not realising!
  • Be on time – Make sure you are on time, not too early and never late. Be sure you research where you’re going and if you have the time, do a trial run of your journey. The general advice is to turn up 5-10 minutes early so you look prepared but not too desperate! If you are very early, take a few minutes to calm your nerves or re-read the job description. Sometimes despite all your best intentions you may be running late. Have the number of the office or a personal contact number if you were provided with one and be sure to call, let them know and apologise.
  • Smile and sit straight – The interviewers will be looking to assess how you are as a person and will be analysing things such as your body language and eye contact to decide on your suitability for the job. Projecting a positive and confident demeanour is especially important in a face to face interview and little techniques can make a big impact. The interviewer is assessing how you will fit into the team and they’re more likely to want to hire a smiley, personable and friendly individual who they can imagine would be a pleasure to work with.
  • Clarify the next steps – Be sure to clarify what to expect next from the employer – when you will be finding out if you were successful? By ascertaining when you would be expecting a follow up, you’ll know when to expect their call and will be able to follow up after this date if they haven’t been in contact. Be sure to thank them for the time and make it clear you are looking forward to hearing from them, that way they’ll be left with a positive impression of you.

Related Help & Support Articles

Find helpful articles on finding your next home with Halton Housing, and how to apply for a home here.

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