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What is an Interview: Definition, Types, Formats, Examples and Interview Feedback

Let’s be real – when we hear “interview,” it can make us a bit nervous, right? But hey, don’t worry too much! This post is here to help you feel more confident about your next interview. We’ll cover everything from introducing yourself to your interview invitation email. We’ve got tips on different interview styles, examples, questions, and answers to make you feel ready.

We’ll even talk about group discussions and do a little SWOT analysis for your interview skills. When you walk out of that interview room, you’ll feel strong and not stressed. So, say bye-bye to those interview jitters and dive into all the details about interviews and feedback!

What is a job Interview?

Wondering, ‘What is interview?’ An interview is quite simply a formal conversation between a candidate (that’s you!) and an employer to evaluate whether you have the right skills, qualities, and potential to succeed in an open position. Interviews allow the employer to assess your qualifications, experience, personality, and organizational fit.

For candidates, interviews are crucial to presenting one’s credentials and making a strong case on why they should be selected. They also allow the interviewee to evaluate the company and role to determine if it aligns with their career goals and preferences. Moreover, effective communication of interview feedback strengthens the employer-candidate relationship and enhances the overall recruitment experience.

Types of Interviews

Organizations use different types of interview at various stages of the recruitment process to screen and evaluate applicants based on specific needs and priorities.

1. Screening Interview

Screening interviews provide a brief preliminary interview information to determine basic fit. These are often conducted by recruiters via a phone call early in the hiring process. The best way to introduce yourself in an interview is to concisely highlight your professional background, skills, and enthusiasm for the role.

Typical screening interview questions aim to verify candidate information and ensure they meet fundamental job requirements:

  • Can you describe your past experience in X role?
  • Are you willing to travel occasionally if required?
  • What salary expectations do you have for this position?

2. Phone & Video Interviews

Remote interviews via phone or video conferencing tools like Skype or Zoom are commonly used to narrow down the candidate pool and vet qualifications before bringing applicants in person. Crafting a compelling self introduction in an interview involves succinctly summarizing your background, expertise, and why you’re the ideal candidate for the position. This format allows for increased flexibility and convenience. 

Here are some tips for succeeding in phone and video interviews:

  • Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid rambling.
  • Smile and make eye contact with the camera for video interviews.
  • Have a neutral background and professional attire.
  • Make sure your phone or internet connection is strong.

3. Panel Interviews

In a panel interview, the candidate is interviewed simultaneously by multiple people — commonly 3-5 interviewers. A panel often includes the direct manager, HR representative, team members at the same level, and cross-functional partners.

Benefits of panel interviews include:

  • Interviewers can gain multiple perspectives to thoroughly evaluate candidates.
  • Allows assessing cross-functional skills like collaboration and communication.
  • Reduces individual interviewer bias.

Here are some sample panel interview questions:

  • Each panelist states: “Describe a time you successfully persuaded team members to do things your way.”
  • “How would you handle receiving conflicting directions from different department heads?”

4. Behavioral Interviews

Behavioral interviews focus on experiences and behaviors in past roles to predict future performance. Questions are aimed at understanding a candidate’s competencies and problem-solving abilities.

To succeed in behavioral interviews, use the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, and Result – to provide complete answers:

S – Describe the situation you were facing.

T – Explain the tasks or objectives required.

A – Detail the actions you personally took.

R – Share the results and outcomes achieved.

5. Technical Interviews

Technical interviews are designed to assess a candidate’s hard skills and abilities to perform specialized job duties. They are most common for roles like software engineers, IT professionals, architects, scientists, accountants, etc.

To prepare, research the skills needed for the job and practice responding to likely technical questions you may be asked. Consider asking clarifying questions if you don’t understand something initially.

Interview Formats & Structures

Beyond the type of interview, the overall format and flow can vary as well. To properly understand the interview meaning, let’s see some of the key differences in interview structures –

1. Confirming Your Interview

Once you receive an interview invitation via email, promptly respond to confirm your availability and appreciation of the opportunity. In your interview confirmation email, double-check logistics – date, time, interviewers expected, location/dial-in, etc.

You can also use this chance to ask for any material to help prepare, like a job description or overview of areas that will be discussed. In conclusion, expressing your enthusiasm makes a great impression even before the interview!

2. Structured vs Unstructured Formats

A structured interview follows a clear outline and set of standardized questions developed in advance by the hiring manager and HR. Unstructured interviews have no predetermined script, and questions may vary based on interviewer(s) preferences.

Structured interviews allow for more objective candidate comparisons, but conversations can feel stilted. Unstructured formats feel more conversational but have a higher likelihood of bias.

3. Opening with Strong Introductions

The first few minutes make an outsized impression. Greet your interviewers promptly and begin with a strong yet natural self-introduction, covering:

  • Your background (education, years of experience)
  • Past company and role descriptions
  • Key achievements or awards
  • Strengths you will bring to the open position
  • Why you are interested in the company/role

Keep it succinct yet impactful. The strongest introductions take practice!

4. Questions to Ask the Interviewers

Always prepare several questions to ask hiring managers when given the opportunity.

Interview Feedback

Interview feedback is invaluable for your growth, whether you get the job or not.

If you receive an offer, politely ask for any constructive interview feedback on areas of potential improvement to succeed in the new role.

If you are rejected, consider sending a polite email to request interview feedback that can help your candidacy for future roles. While you may not always receive a response, showing this initiative and desire to continually improve can leave a positive last impression. Timely interview feedback ensures candidates receive actionable insights to refine their skills and approach.

Interview feedback sample:

  • Were there any concerns about my work experience alignment?
  • Could you advise on areas of my interview performance I can improve?
  • Would you have any advice to make my experience answers more compelling next time?

Specifying areas directly related to the role requirements shows genuine interest despite the rejection.

5. Asking Your Own Questions

Towards the close of most interviews, you have an opportunity to change perspectives and ask the interviewers or panel questions.

Though you will naturally have queries about the open job, this is also a chance to demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the company or team by asking:

  • What initial challenges could I help the team overcome if brought on board?
  • What gets you most excited about working for this company?
  • How would you describe the culture of the department and organizational values?

Keep questions succinct yet thoughtful. Jot these down beforehand rather than expecting them to come to you immediately!

Examples & Sample Responses

Let’s go through examples of the common types of interview questions across the various formats we discussed and provide sample responses.

1. Screening Interview Question:

Can you describe your past experience in marketing coordinator roles?

Sample Response:

Yes, I have served in marketing coordinator roles for over 3 years now across different industries. My responsibilities have included managing social media calendars, developing marketing collateral like brochures, supporting email campaigns, and tracking campaign performance data. The focus has typically been on digital marketing initiatives.

2. Video/Phone Interview Question: 

Tell me about a time you successfully managed multiple competing priorities. How did you handle the stress?

Sample Response: 

Last year, our marketing team was rolling out three campaigns simultaneously with deadlines close together. I was overseeing email and social initiatives for all three. To manage everything, I created detailed project plans to track key milestones and assigned owners across the team based on bandwidth and strengths. I also had daily stand-up meetings and sent regular updates to stakeholders. There were definitely some long days, but keeping the bigger-picture goals in mind helped relieve the stress. In the end, all three launches were successful.

3. Panel Interview Question: 

Each panelist states: “Describe a time you had to push back on or disagree with a supervisor. How did you handle this delicate situation?”

Sample Response: 

Back when I was starting my career, my boss asked me to work with a design vendor I knew wouldn’t meet our standards. We were gearing up for a big product launch, so I had to speak up. I went to my boss and shared my worries. I suggested three other vendors I’d worked well with before, showing her their past work. Luckily, she listened and considered other options. This taught me that it’s okay to disagree, but it’s even better when you have solutions and not just complaints.

4. Behavioral Interview Question: 

Tell me about a time you failed. What was the situation and actions taken following the failure?

Sample Response: 

As the person in charge of the project last year, I managed the development process for a fresh marketing automation system designed to help with better-focused promotional efforts. Our Chief Marketing Officer set a strict deadline, so it was essential for me to clearly define all the features we needed from the beginning together with our development team. As we approached the launch, it became apparent that there was a significant problem. Our platform was unable to work together with the CRM system we use. This integration is important for collecting information about potential customers and evaluating how well our campaigns perform.

To fix this problem, I had a quick meeting with the development team to talk about what we needed for integration, look at different choices, and figure out how much more time it would take. After that, I spoke openly with the Chief Marketing Officer. There, I admitted my error about the requirements needed before. Also, I explained the issue we found with integration work and got her agreement on our new timeline plan. By taking action to solve the problem instead of focusing on my mistake of not collecting all the requirements, we managed to continue without significantly affecting the overall success of the launch.

5. Technical Interview Question: 

If you were designing a cloud-based mobile app for making purchases and tracking expenses, how would you handle user authentication and security of financial data?

Sample Response: 

To keep things super safe, when users sign up, they’d need to give an email and a special password. I’d make sure those passwords are kept safe by turning them into secret codes (hashing) before saving them. For an extra layer of security, users could also use an effective thing called two-factor authentication through Google Authenticator.

Now, when it comes to money stuff, I’d make sure every bit of data about transactions is turned into secret codes, too, using super strong encryption (AES-256). The keys to decode these secrets would be kept super safe on the server. Also, if users log in with other apps, I’d use OAuth 2.0 to make sure it’s all secure, with time limits and restricted access.

And here’s the technical part: I’d use TLS 1.2+ to create safe, encrypted connections whenever financial data is sent or received. Plus, I’d regularly check for any weak spots through penetration testing.

Conclusion 

Interviews might seem scary, but they’re super important for getting a new job. Knowing the different types of interviews, common questions, and some tips can really help you get ready and feel more confident.

Getting prepared and practicing properly can make you feel strong and ready to tell employers all about yourself. Think of interviews like a friendly chat, not about someone judging you. And remember, even if things don’t go perfectly, you can learn from them instead of feeling like you failed. Keep going! 

FAQs 

Q1. What are some good group discussion topics to prepare for interviews?

Ans: When you’re preparing for a job, it’s good to check out a few things about the company. Look into what industry they’re in, any recent news about them, and how they handle social responsibility. Check out the tech trends they might be into. See what kind of work style they have (like if they’re into remote work or not). Knowing about these things makes you look really good when you’re talking to them. Keep it in mind!

Q2. How can I conduct a SWOT analysis for interview ?

Ans: Before your interview, think about what you’re really good at that matches the job. Also, consider what might not be your strongest suit (like where you might need more experience), how you can showcase your skills, and be ready for any tough questions. This is what it’s like doing a SWOT analysis for your interview. It helps you get ready and feel confident. So, know your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and be ready for anything. You got this!

Q3. What does an interview feedback sample look like?

Ans: After an interview, it’s great to send a thank-you email. Say thanks to the interviewer. Talk about what you learned and ask for advice on how to do better for future jobs. You can also let them know you’d love to interview again if there’s a chance. But here’s a tip: try not to make excuses or say anything negative about the process. Keep it positive and classy.

Q4. How to acknowledge interview email?

Ans: When you get an interview invitation, reply fast and say you’re excited and available. Check all the details, like when it is and how you’ll connect. Know who you’ll be talking to. It’s good to ask for anything that might help you get ready and remind them of why you’re a great fit. Keep it friendly and organized!

Q5. How to start introduction in interview?

Ans: When you start an interview, it’s awesome to have a little speech ready about yourself. Share a bit about your background, highlight experiences that match the job, talk about nice things you’ve achieved, and why you’re super pumped about the company and the job. Keep it short and sweet, like 1-2 minutes tops. You got this!

Q6. What types of interview feedback should I request?

Ans: When you’re giving feedback after an interview, stick to things that really matter for the job. Ask about how well your experience fits, if your way of talking suits the role, and if your answers were detailed enough. Try not to ask for vague or too negative feedback.

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