Understanding the Steps in the Interview Process

Stacie Garlieb, Sucessful Impressions
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Key Takeaways

Steps to take in understanding the interview process and how to be best prepared for each stage.

Every company has a formal process for searching for and hiring candidates.  These steps can vary from year to year and from department to department, depending on the trends in the company’s industry and evaluation of how the process worked the previous hiring period.  As soon as you enter an interview process, it’s important to understand how each stage works in order to confidently move through to the final candidate selection.
Phone Screen Interview
Companies use phone screens to reduce the number of candidates that they meet with in person for the next stage.  Phone interviews are fairly brief and consist of questions that are big picture about your interest in the position and why you are a fit for the job.  This is your first impression to the company’s hiring personnel, so be prepared with research about the organization and answers that make an impact to separate you from the competition.
In-person Interview (one-on-one) at Career Services
Typically after a campus career fair companies will have recruiters meet with qualified students in the next week or two at Career Services.  At this point, the interview will be about 30-45 minutes long.  Questions will refer to your past experiences that utilized the behaviors needed in the job they are hiring for.  Preparing questions to ask the interviewer is important at this stage to show your interest in the company and understanding of what the company is looking for in candidates.
In-person Interview (one-on-one) at company office
This could be the next stage after Career Services interviews, or companies may bring you into the office and skip campus interviewing.  Use this opportunity to see the office culture and meet as many people in the organization as you can.  If this is the third interview, questions will become more directed to the position and how you would succeed in the job.  Try not to ask the same questions as you did at the campus interview and tailor the questions to the interviewer based on what their role is in the company.
Group Interview or Panel Interview
Not every company conducts these type of interviews, but they are common for retail and consumer products companies.  Sometimes these will occur as part of a travel interview where the company has flown you to their national or regional offices.  The most important thing to remember when there is more than one person interviewing you is to not neglect eye contact and acknowledgement of every member of the hiring team.  Even if someone appears to just be taking notes, make sure they realize you are paying attention to every person in the room.  Try to find out exactly who you will be meeting with in advance so you can research them on LinkedIn® and know a little about their background in the company.
Video Interview
With tight budgets some companies are opting for video interviews to save flight and travel costs for the HR team.  Prepare exactly as if you were meeting on campus or at the company office, but make sure that you are in a space that is appropriate for an interview with a non-distracting background for the interviewer.  Double check your technology in advance so there are not any last minute issues. 

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Stacie Garlieb, Sucessful Impressions
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