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All Interviews Were Not Created Equal: Part 3 of 3
By Diana Ramirez   View more articles by this author
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November 09

5. The Stress Interview


It’s just as it sounds: an interview designed to stress you out. The point? To see how you cope. The interviewer will try to intimidate you by asking off-the-wall questions (like, “if you were an animal, which would you be?”). Or perhaps a panel of interviewers will greet you, firing questions at you in quick succession. They might make you wait for an hour before seeing you, give you the silent treatment, or respond to your answers with rudeness and/or mockery. If you’re really unlucky, they’ll use a combination of the aforementioned techniques.

It’s all part of a game to see just how much abuse you can withstand before you crack.


Although these types of interviews tend to be frowned upon by the experts, who claim they are not useful or fair, they continue to be used from time to time.


How to Be Successful At It

 

  • Stress interviews may be unfair, unrealistic or downright cruel. Unfortunately, they’re here to stay. And while you’re unlikely to experience the whole sadistic shebang, you may, at the very least, endure a few isolated stress questions.
  • The key to surviving this nightmare is to stay calm. And the first step to doing so is to recognize that you are in the midst of a stress interview. Instead of taking their ill-treatment personally, learn the rules of the game and play it well. Be firm about your main message so that if you are asked a stress question, you’ll be less flustered and can quickly adapt an appropriate answer.
  • One way to prepare is to ask for an agenda beforehand. They can tell you how many people you’re going to meet on the day. They may even tell you what type of interview you’re going to experience.


6. The Group Interview


Interviewing simultaneously with other candidates can be disconcerting, but it provides the company with a sense of your leadership potential and style. The group interview helps the company get a glimpse of how you interact with peers--are you timid or bossy, are you attentive or do you seek attention, do others turn to you instinctively, or do you compete for authority? The interviewer also wants to view what your tools of persuasion are: do you use argumentation and careful reasoning to gain support or do you divide and conquer? The interviewer might call on you to discuss an issue with the other candidates, solve a problem collectively, or discuss your unique qualifications in front of the other candidates.

How to Be Successful At It

 

  • Observe to determine the dynamics the interviewer establishes and try to discern the rules of the game. If you are unsure of what is expected from you, ask for clarification from the interviewer.
  • Treat others with respect while exerting influence over others.
  • Avoid overt power conflicts, which will make you look uncooperative and immature.
  • Keep an eye on the interviewer throughout the process so that you do not miss important cues.


7. The Tag-Team Interview


Expecting to meet with Ms. Scott, you might find yourself in a room with four other people: Ms. Scott, two of her staff, and the Sales Director or Human Resources. Companies often want to gain the insights of various people when interviewing candidates. This method of interviewing is often attractive for companies that rely heavily on team cooperation. Not only does the company want to know whether your skills balance that of the company, but also whether you can get along with the other workers. In some companies, multiple people will interview you simultaneously. In other companies, you will proceed through a series of one-on-one interviews.

How to Be Successful At It

 

  • Treat each person as an important individual. Gain each person's business card at the beginning of the meeting, if possible, and refer to each person by name. If there are several people in the room at once, you might wish to scribble down their names on a sheet of paper according to where each is sitting. Make eye contact with each person and speak directly to the person asking each question.
  • Use the opportunity to gain as much information about the company as you can. Just as each interviewer has a different function in the company, they each have a unique perspective. When asking questions, be sensitive not to place anyone in a position that invites him to compromise confidentiality or loyalty.
  • Prepare psychologically to expend more energy and be more alert than you would in a one-on-one interview. Stay focused and adjustable.

 

Past Articles:

Part 1 of 3

1. The Phone Interview

2. The Traditional Interview

 

Part 2 of 3
3. The Behavioral Interview
4. The Case Interview

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Comment by gkk
19 Feb 2010 07:45 AM
Your Article is good
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