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The Definitive Guide to Interview Tips for 2024





The Definitive Guide to Interview Tips for 2024

Congratulations on successfully passing the selection process and being selected for an interview. Now, let's discuss the essential information you need to navigate through the interview process. Interviews offer the chance to both respond to and pose inquiries, as well as gain insight into the firm and acquire further knowledge about the specific position for which you have applied. The format and environment of the interview can differ from one interview to another. For instance, many large corporations conduct an initial screening procedure or a group assessment day, which includes a telephone or Ms Teams/Syke call or a group interview event.


This event typically takes place over a half day or full day in an assessment centre setting. The event will attract a larger pool of applications, allowing for a more rigorous selection process that will exclude any inappropriate candidates from the interview stage.


What is the significance of interviews?

The interview process is a bilateral recruitment method that allows both the company and the candidate to assess compatibility and suitability. It provides the employer with an opportunity to assess if you are suitable for the position, possess the appropriate mindset, and will integrate well into the organisation's established culture. It is also an ideal opportunity for you to see if the organisation is a suitable match for you and aligns with your professional aspirations.

These are the prevailing categories of interviews.


Various sorts of interviews may be conducted at different stages of the interview process. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of interviews have transitioned to video conferencing.


However, in 2023, there is a shift back towards more traditional interview formats. Interviews can be conducted through various mediums such as face-to-face interactions, phone calls, video conferencing, or group events. Given the multitude of interview formats that employers may employ, it is advisable to prepare for the specific type of interview you are expected to attend. It is always prudent to inquire about the company's interview process when you receive an invitation to ensure thorough preparation.


The telephone interview

The telephone interview is a rapid, effective, and economical method to evaluate candidates prior to extending an invitation for an in-person interview. It is frequently employed to discuss the content of your CV while evaluating your telephone etiquette, communication abilities, and presentation style during a brief 15 to 30-minute screening procedure. Typically, the setting will be casual, but it is still crucial to conduct thorough research. Ensure that you have your laptop readily available with the corporate website page displayed, and keep your CV nearby to address any inquiries. Additionally, it provides you with the chance to inquire about the position and the organisation before an in-person meeting, while also showcasing your eagerness and curiosity regarding the firm and the post you have sought.


Individual Interview

This form of interview primarily occurs at a mutually agreed location, typically the company's central office, and smaller organisations may choose to utilise this type of interview. Once again, it is crucial to conduct thorough research, ensure punctuality, and come prepared with a well-planned set of inquiries to pose to the interviewer regarding both the position and the organisation.



A panel interview

A panel interview is typically conducted for a mid to senior position that demands specialised abilities, extensive experience, qualifications, and training. This role may involve working across multiple areas.

Internal operations of a corporation. Due to the cross-functional nature of the business, they may need multiple interviewees to evaluate a candidate's fitness for the role they are hiring to fill. A panel interview consists of two or more interviewers. It is possible that you will be required to create a presentation for this particular interview. Prior to your interview, it is imperative that you conduct thorough research and ensure that you have diligently completed all necessary preparations. This includes having your presentation stored on a memory stick or sending them a copy in advance. Ensure that you consistently appear ahead of schedule for your interview, equipped with a meticulously organised portfolio. Creating hard copies of your slides to distribute to the panel, along with any relevant notes that will serve as a reminder of your qualifications, can be advantageous in showcasing your fit for the position.

Recorded interviews conducted via video.


Video Interview

A video interview is a virtual meeting conducted by video conferencing software, such as Skype or Microsoft Teams, where an applicant and an interviewer interact via video. It is predominantly utilised for remote working positions or as an initial evaluation method akin to the telephone screening process. The video interview often adheres to the same structure and format as an in-person interview. While the majority of video interviews are conducted in real-time, certain interviews necessitate the pre-recording of your responses, which must then be submitted to the employer within a specified timeframe.


Interviews may be conducted by one or more interviewers, and some companies may opt to record the interview for the purpose of reviewing and comparing candidates who have been shortlisted in the interview process. The duration of this type of interview may vary, but typically you will be notified via email or phone call on the particular instructions and intended length of the interview, as well as how to join the call. It is advisable to arrange your environment in a suitable manner. Find a tranquil space to prevent any possible disturbances. Attire yourself as if you were participating in an in-person meeting. Prioritise conducting thorough research, ensuring that you have a set of well-prepared questions to ask. Additionally, remember to bring a copy of your CV and a notepad for note-taking purposes. Prior to the planned conversation, it is imperative to conduct a thorough examination of your equipment, such as your webcam, internet connection, and sound quality, at least thirty minutes in advance. Additionally, it is crucial to maintain direct eye contact with the camera rather than the screen, be mindful of your posture, refrain from excessive hand gestures, and maintain a pleasant facial expression.

In addition, certain interviews may incorporate assessments such as tests and quizzes, such as proofreading activities, to evaluate your practical skills.


Group Interviews

A day or half day is usually dedicated to group interviews or assessment centres

What will be the nature of the tasks or activities? Typically, these exams encompass a range of group interview questions, activities, and evaluations that gauge your aptitude for teamwork, effective communication, and problem-solving. Various activities simulate scenarios, or you may be requested to engage in role plays, case studies, group collaboration, problem-solving exercises, psychometric assessments, presentations, and hands-on assignments. Additionally, brief individual interviews may potentially take place on the same day. The duration of a group interview is contingent upon the format, organisation, and number of participants. The In-house Recruiter typically provides an estimate of the duration, which normally ranges from 5 hours to one day. This timeframe is common due to the recruiter's need to fill multiple positions within the company.

Instructions for preparation:


  1. Conduct thorough research on the company's website and familiarise yourself with the role by use LinkedIn, job descriptions, and person specifications.

  2. Anticipate the icebreaker question often presented at the beginning of the session.

  3. Rehearse your responses by either using a mirror or practicing with another individual.

  4. Acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to promote inclusivity.

  5. Think about your attire, considering the possibility of an extended duration at the event. Opt for comfortable clothing.

  6. How to distinguish yourself: Remember that you are constantly being evaluated, consider and accept criticism, and acknowledge and commend others' ideas.

  7. Activities and tasks conducted during a group interview


Guidelines for conducting a group interview effectively and avoiding common mistakes

Interviews focused on assessing a candidate's technical skills and knowledge.


The technical interview

Is a distinct kind of interview that is specifically tailored for IT, engineering, and other technical positions. Technical interviews typically consist of responding to a sequence of technology-specific inquiries, such as those related to software development applications or data analysis. Additionally, these interviews often involve solving mathematical or intricate technical problems, resembling an examination. The interviewer often conducts these interviews on a one-on-one basis with the interviewee, and they may contain situational interview questions that are relevant to the particular job.


The primary factors to consider in the format of a technical interview are:

  1. Interview questions tailored to specific roles, such as software product design, automation testing, or programming language coding.

  2. Mathematical and numerical reasoning difficulties, such as solving equations and doing calculations using algebraic formulae.

  3. Precise inquiries that elicit candidates' explanations of their analytical reasoning, enabling employers to comprehend their methodologies.


Before attending this interview, ensure that you conduct thorough research on the company, job description, and person specification. Additionally, evaluate how your problem-solving skills may contribute to the organisation. In addition, utilise online resources to enhance your proficiency in solving mathematical and numerical reasoning interview problems, and persist in advancing your technical abilities such as coding and programming languages.

Iterative


Multi-round interviews

Multiple-round or stages of interviews sometimes involve doing four or more individual interviews to thoroughly assess a candidate's suitability for a position. Usually, a multi-stage interview structure entails the participation of numerous employees in the recruitment procedure, where each employee assesses the suitability of a candidate through individual one-on-one interviews. These interviews are often conducted for intermediate to senior-level staff members. Companies in industries such as Software, Internet, and eCommerce commonly employ this interview structure as part of their recruitment strategy. This approach enables interviewers to assess a candidate's personal and professional characteristics, including:

  1. Their compatibility with the business culture and work environment

  2. Their aptitude for engaging and cooperating with individuals of various personalities inside the team and organisation.

  3. Proficiency in collaborative work, effective communication, and adeptness in resolving conflicts. Achieving success in a multi-round interview entails utilising your interpersonal and communication abilities to accommodate the conversation style of each interviewer and responding to questions that showcase your strengths and capabilities.


Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  1. What was the reason for your departure from your previous employment?

  2. What are your areas of vulnerability?'

  3. 'If you were to be classified as a variety of fruit, which specific fruit would you identify as, and what would be your rationale for this selection?''

  4. Certain interview questions can be more manageable if you employ the STAR method or approach to address them. However, it is impossible to accurately anticipate the specific questions you will be asked during the interview, especially considering the added factor of nervousness, which can disrupt your composure. Unless, of course, you have made prior preparations.


Here is a compilation of frequent interview questions and the most effective ways to respond to them, which will be covered in the rest of this portion of the interview tips guide:

  1. Provide me with an overview of your background and personal information.

  2. This question is commonly asked at the beginning of interviews since it allows the interviewers to gain insight into your true character and observe how you handle stressful situations, such as interviews, which are typically anxiety-inducing for most candidates.

  3. The candidate is granted a certain level of independence in addressing this question and should strive to provide pertinent and precise details without getting caught up in recounting their entire life-story.

  4. Please provide a concise response and avoid digressing from the main subject.


Your response should have a duration of two to four minutes and provide a concise overview of your education, pertinent skills, training, and experience.


During an interview, it is advisable to refrain from initiating a discussion about salary. However, it is important to conduct thorough study and preparation beforehand, and have a general range in mind for your income expectations. If you have submitted an application for a position on a speculative basis, it is possible that you are not aware of the specific pay and benefits package information. Conduct research on websites such as Reed, Indeed, Glassdoor, or other job boards for additional information.


The Reed website provides a pay checker online that serves as an excellent resource for determining average salaries. Additionally, conduct research on comparable remuneration packages for professionals in the same field or business through job listings, as they often include the option to search by salary. It is not advisable to discuss compensation or engage in negotiations regarding salary during the initial phases of the interview process, such as telephone, video, assessment centre, or first-round interviews. However, if the potential employer or interviewer initiates the discussion, it may be appropriate to address the topic. Please provide your wage range. Provide a comprehensive yet realistic response, such as "I am seeking a starting salary within the range of £25,000 to £30,000."

Incorrect response: 'I am uncertain.' What is your current status or condition?


What is your vision for your future in five years?

This evaluation question is a typical interview inquiry, aiming to measure your level of contemplation regarding your desired career path. The interviewer seeks to evaluate your excitement, curiosity, and ambition in order to gauge your suitability for the role. Additionally, they desire to confirm your commitment to remain for the whole period of the contract and ensure that they will not need to seek another candidate to fill your position before the contract concludes, in the event that you are not suitable for the task. If you are applying for a higher-level position, please elaborate on your strategies for advancing the organisation. Prior to the interview, familiarise yourself with their business strategy or corporate objectives and articulate how your assistance can contribute to their achievement.


Correct response: Develop a strong enthusiasm for the field. Align your professional aspirations with the organisation's objectives, showcase your ambition, and effectively promote your abilities.

Incorrect response: 'Across from this desk'


What was the reason for your departure from your previous position?

This is a commonly asked interview question that is frequently used when you have transitioned to a new job and are exploring potential chances for various reasons that led to your departure. The interviewer aims to explore beyond the information provided in your application form or discussed in your CV. It is crucial that you maintain honesty. If you truly do not have a well-defined growth strategy, stating professional progression is a valid justification to utilise in this situation. It is advisable to refrain from criticising your past employment and former employers as a good practice to adopt during an interview.


Final thoughts for effectively responding to interview questions

  1. Refrain from succumbing to the temptation of improvising or providing an answer.

  2. Conduct thorough research about your interviewer or interview team. Explore LinkedIn.

  3. Conduct thorough research on the company's website, including its company culture, and engage in conversations with employees of the organisation.

  4. Utilise Glassdoor, Reed, Indeed, and any other online platforms dedicated to job searching.

  5. Avoid being excessively scripted in your response, but do practise and ready your answers with a companion or relative.

  6. Recall the reasons for desiring the job and be aware of your skills and shortcomings.

  7. Your personality holds equal significance to your CV once you reach the interview stage. Therefore, endeavour to actively participate in the process by providing concise and truthful responses to queries, while maintaining consistent eye contact and occasionally smiling.

  8. Emulate the behaviour of the interviewer or interview panel, including their use of humour, and make sure to assess the atmosphere in order to determine the appropriate etiquette to adopt during the interview.

  9. It is advisable to inquire at the conclusion of the interview if there are any more details they require on your qualifications or background. "You may inquire, 'Do you believe that, based on our meeting today, I possess the necessary skills and experience to fulfil this job?' This will allow you to obtain feedback before departing from this room." An additional inquiry worth considering is whether they perceive any unexplored limitations in your abilities. This is an additional effective method of endeavouring to obtain or protect something.




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