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Guide to help you prepare for the most common types of interviews

Back – » 1. Screening » 2. Just the two of us » 3. Employer Team

4. Group attack

The basic idea behind this mode is that several employees will interview you simultaneously and then collectively make a decision following the interview.  These individuals might be part of the same team or different departments depending on the type of job you are interviewing for.   In this type of interview, the interviewers are looking at how well you can manage stress and accommodate different lines of questioning.

Success Keys: Keep in mind that this type of interview allows those who favor you to outvote those who do not, and vice-versa. Therefore, you must attempt to win over everyone. In most cases, one individual will dominate the questioning, but you should still respond to everyone. Remember to make direct eye contact with everyone present. It will also serve you well to memorize names and job titles of all present so that you can target your questions directly to the person your question applies to.

5. Group Interview: Survival for the fittest

Another interesting twist on team interviewing is where one interviewer or a team of interviewers will interview several candidates simultaneously. Questions are posed to the entire group and every one is given a few minutes to respond.

Success Keys: In most cases, companies applying this mode are looking for an employee who is a take-charge leader and one who is also able to work with a team. A leader will always communicate in a manner that includes others and brings out the best in everyone they interact with. During this type of interview your goal is to actively participate with your own ideas and integrate the ideas of others in the group as well.

During your research: During your research, determine the company’s culture and how the company uses teams, and emulate that model during the interview.

Why you should worry: If you are a timid, all-people-pleaser type of person then you might have a challenging time at this type of interview. Most employers chose this type of format because it might imitate the actual job. Remember that if you are not the dominant responder and the smartest one in the group, then someone else is and they will certainly exploit your self-imposed submission. Just ask this engineer.

6. The Real World

This is a popular interview method used by Fortune 500 firms on their MBA-types interviewees.  During the interview, you are given a real-world case-a set of circumstances surrounding a particular work problem and asked to analyze it. For example, in an engineering interview you might be provided with details of a project’s constraints and asked to discuss how you would address such constraints. You may be given anywhere from just a few minutes to overnight to prepare your response. After you respond, the interviewer will usually ask you questions to assess your ability to quickly comprehend relevant materials and communicate them effectively.

Success Keys: The real-world type of questions are meant to be complex and difficult to penetrate, therefore, you are not required to know every answer to a problem. The interviewer is simply attempting to assess whether you can quickly process information and apply some of the concepts you have learned during your education to the workplace. Always cite relevant sources and standards from your past classes, jobs or extracurricular experiences.

7. Presentation: Power Points

This type of interviewing is not popular for engineering jobs but it is still used by some companies nonetheless. In this interviewing style, you are typically requested to prepare a 10-20 minute presentation and deliver it to a team of interviewers. A company will usually ask you to give this talk based on one of three scenarios:

  1. in the first scenario you are assigned an issue to discuss;
  2. the second scenario you are allowed to choose your own topic; or
  3. the third scenario is one which requires you to discuss your job qualifications-in effect, to market yourself.

Whichever the scenario, your approach should be creative and informative clearly highlighting your potential worth to the company.

Success Keys: If a topic is assigned ahead of time, you will have an opportunity to research and prepare. Make sure your presentation has plenty of concrete points and back them up with examples based on your research.

If you are simply asked to present your job qualifications, try to summarize your education, relevant work experience and match your background and future goals with the company and the position.

If you’re assigned a topic on the spot, the focus will usually be something general. Always use a standard presentation format which includes; an introduction, two or three key points and a conclusion. Keep in mind that the company might judge your presentation skills partly by how well you manage the related technology. Make sure you can use an overhead, computer software and computer hardware competently. For a presentation assigned ahead of time, remember to come prepared with backup transparencies just in case a computer hardware problem occurs.

Next – » 8. Behavioral » 9. Situational » 10. Multiple Levels

Posted by on Dec 21st, 2009 and filed under Career. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

3 Responses for “Guide to help you prepare for the most common types of interviews”

  1. Joseph says:

    It is all about team work :D

  2. [...] it is much easier to anticipate the general type of engineering questions that you might encounter during an engineering interview, it is not quite the same when it comes [...]

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