What to Expect in Your First Job Interview

waiting for interview

When attending a job interview, a good preparation is in order. Since the interview is a crucial part of the selection process, your chances of you getting the job will depend on how much you prepare for the event in advance. Thus, when searching for a job it’s always good practice to get to know what to expect in order to ensure you are going to do well.

Since each interview is different it might be difficult to predict what you should expect to see when you go into that interview room. However, the majority of interviewers work along the same lines and in some cases you can easily predict what to expect. If you have never been invited in an interview before, this article lists some very useful information in terms of what you should be expecting from a job interview.

The Job Interview

Essentially there might be a few differences in the format of each interview depending on the way interviewers choose to conduct the session, the type of the job and the needs of the organisation. While, employers may give you an idea of what to expect on the day, it might be worthwhile to first have a look at the most common types of interviews to help you prepare accordingly:

#1 Individual Interview:

  • Standard one-to-one interview.
  • The most common type of interviews.
  • It is a two-way communication and involves a verbal and visual interaction between the interviewer – possibly the HR manager and the candidate.
  • The purpose is to match the candidate with the job.

#2 Panel Interview:

  • An interview where an interview committee of at least three members is responsible for interviewing candidates.
  • Each interviewer asks questions relevant to the position focusing on different aspects e.g. interests, technical knowledge and experience.

#3 Informal Interview:

  • It is an informal interview.
  • Used by the employer to offer candidate more information about the company.
  • Employers allow candidates to make questions in regards to the available position.
  • Since you may be invited in with other candidates you should prepare as you would for a formal interview.

#4 Group Interview:

  • You are being interviewed as part of a small group with other candidates.
  • The interview to be carried out as part of an assessment centre selection process and looks more like a discussion.
  • Interviewer gives out a topic and candidates are called to start a conversation while he or she watches the candidates to judge their behaviour and how they work within a group.

Common Interview Questions

question marks

Now to help you prepare to answer the interviewer’s questions so that you don’t get caught off guard, you should look at the interview from the employer’s perspective. Essentially, during the interview every employer is trying to determine:

  • Your interest in the job.
  • Your suitability for the job.
  • Your knowledge of the organisation.

This is done by asking a series of different types of questions such as situational and behavioural questions that aim to reveal certain characteristics about your personality and assess your problem solving skills. Here are the most common interview questions per category:

Questions on Qualifications and Experience:

  • Tell me a bit about yourself.
  • What are your key strengths?
  • What have you gained from work experience?
  • Why are you the most qualified for this position?

Situational Questions:

These questions vary according to the type of the job, but here are some examples:

  • ‘You are in customer service and you are being approached by a client who refuses to pay. What would you do?’
  • ‘Your manager blames you for not completing a task in front of your co-workers. How do you respond back?

Behavioural Questions:

  • How did you handle the most stressful situation you have ever found yourself in?
  • Describe a situation in which you showed your leadership skills.
  • Give me an example of a time when you use your persuasion to influence others.

Questions on Career Goals:

  • Why are you interested in the position?
  • What do you know about the company?
  • What can you bring to the company?
  • What are your long term career goals?
  • How are you preparing to achieve them?

Prior to the interview, look for clues from employers to help you understand what to expect and essentially get an idea of who you will be meeting on the day. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask them for more information in regards to the format of the interview.

Finally, make sure you become familiar with those questions that are relatively common within job interviews in advance to increase your chances of getting the job on offer!