The Interview Process: All You Need to Know 

Sophie Hudson

In order to get yourself a job, you’re going to have to attend an interview (or two) along the way. The thought of having someone scrutinise and examine what you say, how you say it, your mannerisms, and your appearance can be the most daunting part of the whole job hunting process.

It’s worth reminding yourself that it’s an achievement in itself to get to interview stage. Only a small proportion of candidates get invited to interview, so you’ve done well to get here! And the more job interviews you attend, the better you’ll be able to refine your interview technique and the easier the interviews will get. Everybody has to start somewhere.

Phone and Skype Interviews

As well as the face-to-face interview, both phone and Skype interviews are now becoming a common part of the interview process - usually as the first stage. They provide employers with a quick and easy way of briefly assessing a candidate before inviting them to interview. Although they are generally a lot shorter and slightly less formal than a face-to-face interview, they should be taken just as seriously. It would be a shame to get rejected so early on in the recruitment process.

What are interviews really for?

It’s pretty clear that the main purpose of a face-to-face job interview is to check that you do indeed meet the requirements for the role. It’s important that the person who's sitting in front of the interviewer matches the person described in the CV they received. The interviewer will be focussing on testing your knowledge of the company, your understanding of the sector, your motivations, how well you express yourself etc.

Part of the interview process is to help you decide on your career path, so don’t forget that the interview is also your chance to make sure that the company and the role are right for you - are they offering what you want? Do you like the people and the office? What about their culture? It’s really important to be yourself during the interview and to be honest with yourself after the interview - if you put on a false act just to get through the interview, then it’s questionable whether this really is the right job for you.

Treat them all the same?

Each company will have their own recruitment process in place, however, on the whole for interviews at start-ups or SMEs you should expect to have one phone interview, one face-to-face interview and maybe a task to complete. For larger companies the process will be slightly lengthier and often include an additional face-to-face interview and in some cases you may be asked to attend an assessment centre. The same golden rule applies to both - preparation is absolutely key. It is not possible to over prepare for a job interview.