How to prepare for different types of interviews

When you’re preparing for an interview you should bear in mind that interviews can be conducted in different ways. Here are five of the most common types and our tips on how to best prepare for them:

  • The competency based interview – probably the most common type of interview you’ll face. A competency based interview is where the interviewer asks you a series of questions where you are asked to provide specific examples relating to your experience – for example, “give me an example of a time when you had to solve a complex problem at work”. The best way to prepare is to re-read the job description and look at the “experienced/skills required” section to see what competencies are listed i..e things like, attention to detail, organisation skills, communication, people management etc. and then think of what examples you might be able to cite that best demonstrate your skills in these areas. Remember to think about what you specifically did vs what others did.
  • The conversational interview – this can be a tricky interview as the interviewer approaches it in quite an informal style, however don’t be fooled! If someone says to you that the interview will be quite informal, remember that you still need to impress! Prepare as you would for a formal interview and remember you need to highlight your skills and experience, so think about your key achievements and what the key three or four things are that you want to get across in the interview.
  • The “ask me questions” interview – an unusual one but it is a technique that some people use. Whilst you may not be aware it will be this type of interview in advance, it is worth doing a bit of prep in case. Think of more than just the usual standard two or three questions – think of a few additional questions you can ask that will keep the interviewer talking for a while!
  • The “grilling” interview – some interviewers like to “grill” i.e. fire questions at you in a challenging way. This is a tough interview but the most important thing to focus on is keeping your cool. If you know you’re going to have quite a tough interview (or even if you don’t) then prepare yourself mentally for it and focus on staying calm and collected. Remind yourself that it is perfectly reasonable to say to the interviewer that you want to take a moment to think of the best example/response before answering.
  • The panel interview – this one is quite common. The best way to prepare is to firstly do your research on who will be in the interview – their roles and backgrounds in terms of experience. Then, prepare as you would for a competency based interview but remember to have eye contact and engage with each interviewer. Prepare at least one question for each interviewer that is tailored to their experience or role.