A Tasting Platter of Interviews – Different Interview Styles and how to Prep for Them

The world of job interviews advances apace with the rest of the world. With video conferencing technology, we have Skype interviews. As job roles expand and more people get involved, we have group interviews where a panel interviews a single applicant. And articles about “weird interview questions” often pop up on our dash to give us a bit of a laugh.

The following guide tackles some different kinds of interviews a jobseeker may face, and what to take note of outside the one-on-one setting.

1. Group Interviews

Formerly, the Singapore Airlines Flight Steward interview was famous for its difficult ‘discussion round’, where applicants are placed in groups of four or five, whether virtually or live, and engage in friendly debate about current affairs. This is a test of how well people think on their feet, how they present themselves and their views, and how they get along with others; all vital skills for the face of one of the most prestigious airlines worldwide.

Other group interviews may have the same purpose, or may simply be conducted because there are too many applicants. It can be very shocking to walk into a room and see many other hopefuls there. Many an interviewee has become nervous and discombobulated, resulting in stuttered responses and nervous ticks.

To succeed, steady yourself and settle down to network a little. It is important to approach the interview with confidence and composure. Be sure to address people with appropriate responses and make eye contact. If questions are being put to the group, remember to participate, but do not interrupt others or try to “stand out”.

2. Video Interviews

For these interviews, our greatest distraction is, surprisingly, ourselves. It is easy to be distracted by the sound of your phone, your family moving about the room, or even your own reflection in the interview screen.

Rehearse the interview a few times to prepare for it, and check all your connections and apps are working smoothly. Also, make sure to eliminate distractions during the interview itself. Keep your phone away, lock yourself in your room, and let your family know not to talk to you about their plans at least 10 minutes before the interview.

Without distractions, the video interview is no different from a face-to-face one, so present yourself with confidence and composure!

3. Tests and Assessments

These come in two types: Personality Tests and Cognitive/Aptitude Tests. The first are to determine your personality, working style and how you conduct yourself in a team – and form some conclusion about how you would fit in the organisation. The second measure logic, communication, mathematical, technical and soft skills and ultimately check your potential as an employee.

These can be very different from previous interviews, involving role plays, simulation exercises or asking for candidates to prepare presentations or speeches.

We advise you to keep calm and focus on the main issue, “how can I show I’m what the company is looking for?” Be genuine about yourself and make sure to showcase your strengths and advantages.

4. Oddball Questions

For years, Google would ask its applicants strange questions, like “How many ping pong balls would fit inside a 747?” or “How many aeroplanes are in the sky right now?” (They have since stopped this practice.)

These and other quirky questions are designed to uncover how a potential hire thinks, and also how they respond to something off the cuff. Interviewers are also trying to eliminate “canned answers”, the ones that applicants have practiced and refined with the aid of recruitment advice columns like ours.

Since the aim of these questions is an honest answer, answer honestly! Just go with the flow and come up with something suitable. In fact, a light-hearted or humourous answer is appropriate for these questions.

Keep in mind, however, that this is still a job interview. Make sure your answer is relevant to your application, and the value you bring to the job. For example, if you are interviewing for a non-profit organisation and asked, “What would you do if you strike 4D?” you may wish to detail the donations you would make, or what charitable programmes you would want to start.

At the end of the day, a job interview is a check on how suitable you are for a particular position. No matter how different the interview may seem, keep yourself focused on your aim and steer yourself through successfully.

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