How Well Do You Know the Interview Process? Interview Basics

By: Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

How Well Do You Know the Interview Process? Interview Basics

Last week we wrote a lot about how and why to write a compelling cover letter. This week we're going to focus on the interview process. After all, writing a great resume and cover letter only gets you partly through the hiring process. Understanding how companies are currently interviewing can help you succeed at that stage of the game as well.

1.Different Types of Interviews Ten years ago, hiring wasn't that complicated. You submitted an application to the hiring manager (more often than not, the person who would eventually be your supervisor), and that person would then schedule a face-to-face interview with you. And after the interview, you would either get the job or not.

Today, a tremendous business has grown up around recruiting, screening, and hiring qualified candidates. With so many more people involved in the hiring process, there are now many different types of interviews that a candidate may go through prior to receiving a job offer. Here are some examples:

Basic background screening Some companies outsource their background screening to other companies that do nothing but background checks. An employee for one of these companies may call you to confirm information such as your education history, legal name, and most recent place of employment. These screening calls are typically very short-five minutes at most.

Preliminary phone or online interview After you've applied for a job, you may receive a phone call from a recruiter or human resources staff person at the company where you applied. During these types of calls, you will be asked questions about why you applied for a particular position and what you believe your strengths to be. The caller will sometimes mention salary in this type of call to be sure the position pays in the range you were expecting. You may be contacted by e-mail rather than telephone, either asking you to respond to specific questions, or to take a personality or skills screening test somewhere online.

Full-blown phone interview Full telephone interviews usually take at least 30 minutes-and can sometimes take an hour or more-depending on the complexity of the position. Full phone interviews are typically conducted by the person who would be supervising you in your new position. These interviews are fairly in-depth and are often used by employers conducting national or regional searches to fill their positions. Although telephone interviews can be extensive, almost all employers use an in-person interview prior to actually making a job offer.

In-person interviews Personal interviews are generally the most anxiety provoking for job seekers, as they require you to worry about getting to the office on time and looking professional. Personal interviews typically take between 30 and 60 minutes. Depending on the complexity of the position and the structure of the company, you may have already cleared some of the hurdles listed above before ever having secured a personal interview. In contrast, some companies conduct a series of personal interviews utilizing different levels of management until the right candidate has been winnowed out. Some companies use both techniques: preliminarily creening candidates and subjecting them to multiple rounds of personal interviews.

No matter how a potential employer structures its interview process, everyone involved-right from the start-should be willing to explain the process, as well as how often you should expect to hear from them. Telephone interviews are a huge part of the hiring process today, so treat each one as seriously as you would an in-person interview!

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