Different interviews, different challenges
The interview today is less of an event, and much more of a process. It’s highly unlikely to consist of just one interview, more likely a series of screening interviews, followed by first and second interviews. Let’s see what some of the different interview types are.
Some graduate recruiters do their initial screening through telephone interviews, but according to gradireland research, this has been replaced in large part by a video call or video interview. Our data shows that 83% of recruiters used this method in 2020/2021, and these can either be in-person or automated. You should prepare for these as seriously as for a face-to-face interview, remember in some cases the entire recruitment process could be done virtually.
The in-person video interview can be used as either a screening interview or as part of the first or second interview phase. As a screening interview, it’s used to determine initially if you might be a potential fit, how your personality comes across and how you can talk about yourself, your experience, potential and skills. If your video interview is in-person you have likely got plenty of experience over the past year. Relax, try and chat naturally and make sure you’re in a quiet, well-lit location.
Automated video interviews
These are increasingly popular amongst large graduate recruiters, but quite unpopular with graduates and students. In fact, the automated video interview is the stage most likely to see a candidate cancel their application. The reason for this is the format, in which you will provide video answers to a screen showing a series of questions. The format may seem highly impersonal, but there is no reason for this to be as daunting as it sounds. There are plenty of practise sites to hone your responses and make sure you take plenty of time to practise.
Second interviews are generally face to face and are likely to be more detailed than the first interview. But, as stated earlier, the entire process could be remote these days. Second-stage selection can last from a couple of hours to over a day, and may also involve assessment centres.
There may be some tests either before or after the formal interview (you’ll normally be warned in advance if this is the case). You may also be shown round the offices by the interviewer or another member of staff.
Tips for second interviews
These will go into more depth than the first interview, so be prepared.
Try to treat this as a business meeting, not an interrogation.
You will create a good impression if you ask questions as well.
In a panel interview, there will be two or more people asking the questions: probably a mixture of personnel specialists, technical and line managers. Panel interviews are often easier than the one-to-one interviews and can be fairer as they don’t depend on one person’s opinion. In some panel interviews each panel member may ask questions around a particular theme (generally their own area of interest/expertise).
Tips for panel interviews
Give your attention to whoever is speaking at the time. When answering a question, give most of the answer to the person who asked the question with brief glances to the others. Don’t be thrown if one of the interviewers starts scribbling notes or looks bored. Panel members who are not from the HR department may not be experienced interviewers.
A technical interview is designed to test your specialist knowledge. If you are applying for a technical job, an interviewer might show you a device and ask you to explain how it works, or show you a wiring diagram or a line of computer code and expect a swift analysis to identify any flaws.
Tips for technical interviews
Many final-year students forget what they studied in previous years. If you have listed your course details on your application form, you’ll need to be able to talk convincingly about any aspect, for example second-year projects.
If you have project work or vacation experience that is particularly relevant, produce a short digest of the information and take it with you to the interview. You can use it to illustrate your answers or you can leave it with the interviewer when you finish.