Not all interviews are the same! But knowing what type of interview you are undergoing might help you frame your responses.
The Technical Interview (or, the technical portion of the interview)
The questions cover the practical knowledge of the position. They would focus on your technical expertise, skills and abilities.
- This might include being given a hypothetical situation or problem that you are asked to solve.
- This might also include written/computer- based assessments of certain skills.
- This could also include presentations or portfolio demonstrations of your skills.
How can you prepare for technical interview questions? KNOW YOUR STUFF. Review your skill set, practice computer skills that perhaps have gotten rusty, spend time reviewing your previous work history.
Questions are more “generic;” to get to know you, your background and your abilities. These might be more interpersonal in nature, focusing on your career path, your job history, your availability, etc.
- “Tell me about yourself.”
- “What did you like about your last job?”
How can you prepare for these traditional interview questions? PRACTICE. Work on your answers, role-play them with your interview coach (not a friend, they’re often not knowledgeable enough to critique you correctly), and then PRACTICE SOME MORE. Until it’s completely natural. If you sound like you’re quoting a script on these questions, that is a huge red flag to recruiters.
Questions are more complex and are crafted to explore specific past behavior and how that might determine your future behavior. They are looking for specific, detailed examples of your skills and decision-making/problem solving ability, and how you’ve done it before; because this is believed to be a clear indication to how you would function within their organization.
- “Tell me about a time you . . . “
- “Describe a situation when you . . .”
How can you prepare for behavioral interview questions? BE PREPARED. Write your SMART Stories. Examine the job description and analyze their needs so you can answer their con. If they are asking you tell a story about ___, then that is a behavioral interview.
So, which interview are you walking into? Well, you might have different interviewers that focus on each area. Or you might have one interview that mixes up all the different types in one session. But being able to distinguish between the types of interview questions means that you can focus on what their specific concerns are at that moment.