There are many types of interviews that are designed to serve many different purposes, but you should always keep the basic Interview Formula in mind:
Establish Rapport → Exchange Information→ Close the Interview
When establishing rapport, a couple of things happen. The tone of the interview is set and first impressions are made. It’s not always possible to change these things, so do whatever you can to not start the interview off wrong.
Regardless of your current title or the opportunity that you are interviewing for, a good leader must first be a great follower. So always follow the Interview’s lead. If they are super formal, you want to be super formal.
However, if they are informal, be careful. Interviewers sometimes make small talk in order to put interviewees at ease. It’s okay to relax a little, but never break your professional demeanor. I like to call it, “formally casual.”
Remember not to reveal too much personal information or answer any illegal questions while establishing rapport in a formally casual environment.
This part of the formula is probably the simplest to explain, yet the most difficult for candidates to maneuver. The Exchanging Information stage is your opportunity to sell your skills and let the interviewer know what you have to offer the organization. It is also your chance to determine if the organization is a great fit for you.
Believe it or not, some organizations appear to be great when doing research via material printed by them. That’s why this stage is so important. You, the candidate, get to compare what’s written to a personal experience.
Closing the interview
At the close of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions or anything else to add. Of course you do! If not, it’s probably safe to assume that you are no longer interested in the opportunity.
The Closing stage is a great time to get clarification on any unanswered questions or unclear thoughts.
Interview formula tips
- Maintain confidence throughout the interview by smiling and making eye contact
- Participate in small talk if casual conversation arises. Keep your answers short, positive and professional. (Please don’t tell your life history or your family’s life history)
- Don’t play with your jewelry, pen, buttons, etc during the interview. It’s distracting.
- Show your interest by asking questions and getting clarification on some of the things that you may have researched about the company.
- Thank the Interviewer and shake their hand at the end of the interview
- Ask about the next steps in the Interview Process
- Offer to leave a sample of your work or portfolio, if applicable