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Unemployed Clients - Teaching Job Seeking Skills
Unemployed Clients - Teaching Job Seeking Skills

Section 7
Types of Employment Interviews

Question 7 | Test | Table of Contents |
Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

In the last section, we discussed how your client can put their best foot forward with their contact information through email, telephone, mailing address, and web presence. We also discussed how your client can effectively use LinkedIn to network with potential employers.

In this section we will discuss different types of interviews that your unemployed client might experience and how to prepare for them. The four types of interviews we will discuss are telephone, in-person, follow-up, and panel interviews.

I shared with Laurie, who was discussed on the previous track, specifics for the following types of interviews to provide key principles regarding how to be successful at each type of interview.

Telephone Interview:
As you may be aware, telephone interviews are becoming more common with companies. I stated to Laurie, "It is possible that your first interview with an employer may be over the phone. This is one way a potential employer can screen who they want to bring in without wasting your or their time. It is still important to do your research about the company before the interview. This includes creating questions you may have for the interviewer. During this interview it is also important for the interviewer to figure out how your skills and personality fit with the company."

I helped Laurie practice participating in a natural two-way conversation on the phone during one of our sessions. I stated to Laurie, "It may be helpful to have a few notes written out in order to make sure you don’t forget key points you want to say." 

In-Person Interviews:
The key to an in-person interview is preparation. Here are four parts that I went over with Laurie that she should include in her preparation:

1. Brainstorm, research and ask your professional friends to come up with likely topics that will be covered. "With this step", I stated, "it is important to not come up with overly rehearsed answers to interview questions because your answers may not sound genuine."

2. During interview preparation it is important to brainstorm anecdotes, examples, results, and challenges from past experiences that would be helpful to mention. I stated to Laurie, "Think of specific details such as dates and numbers so they are clear in your head. Keep in mind what specific skills they illustrate to the interviewer." To practice this, I suggested that Laurie brainstorm her examples and say them allowed to me. That way she made sure she had the key details needed.

3. Laurie stated, "Gee, I feel so nervous my mouth is dry." I stated to Laurie, "To get over your nervousness, do you have a friend you can ask to hold a practice interview with you? By practicing your interview, what you want to say and the types of questions that will be asked will become more clear in your mind and sound more natural."
4. Do you have a Laurie who might benefit from practicing in front of a mirror? I stated, "By practicing in front of the mirror, you can check your body language. Some body language principles to pay attention to are leaning forward, keeping a positive expression on your face, and uncrossing your arms." 

What to Wear to the Interview…
Laurie was worried and told me, "Companies have such different dress codes it is difficult to know what to wear to a job interview. What do I do?" Use your common sense if your client is going in for an interview as a house keeper and they wear a suit,  they may give the message that they are too good for the job and don’t want to get their hands dirty. However, if they are interviewing for an executive position, jeans and t-shirts are an obvious no. So discuss the position with your client and various dress code options.

Follow-Up Interviews:
Your client may be asked back for a second interview if their first interview goes well. This happened for Laurie for one for which she had recently applied. She asked, "Should I approach this interview differently?"  I stated to Laurie, "With a follow-up interview, you will likely meet new people as you are interviewed by different interviewers, other people you may be working with, or working under at the company. Even though this will be your second or even third interview, it is important to not reduce your amount of preparation. Review what you have said in previous interviews so as to not repeat long anecdotes a second time. Focus on what you did not get a chance to say. The questions will probably be more personal so they can see if you would be a good fit regarding your personality and the work culture." It may be important to remind your client that it may be helpful to be prepared to discuss salaries and other terms during follow-up interviews. Sample questions you might discuss with your client are: What would you do in this situation? How do you handle conflict? What type of activities do you enjoy in your off-hours?

Panel Interviews:
Often companies conduct interviews with panels of managers or employers to save them time. I stated to Laurie, "If you are being interviewed by a panel, have a notebook to write down the names of the people and the order they are sitting. If it feels appropriate, ask for their job title if not given. However, use your gut level feeling, as this may be interpreted as being too assertive. During the interview, it is important to rotate your attention between each panelist. Begin each answer by addressing the person who asked the question."   
To finish our discussion about interviews, I stated to Laurie, "There are two interview musts that you need to conclude your interview with regardless of the type of interview it is. They are the following: 1. Let your interviewers know you want the job by stating directly and clearly that you want the position. 2. Always send a ‘thank you for your time’ email. You can call the business back and talk to the receptionist to request the interviewer’s email address."

Do you have a client looking for a job that could benefit from a discussion about different types of interviews?

In this section we discussed different types of interviews that your unemployed client might experience and how to prepare for them. These types of interviews are telephone, in-person, follow-up, and panel interviews. For a telephone interview it may be helpful for your client to have a few notes written out. For an in-person interview the four key parts that may help your client are nedd a list of likely topics that will be covered, brainstorm anecdotes, practice interview with friend, and practice anecdotes in front of the mirror. For follow up interviews I encourage clients to prepare responses for more personal questions such as ‘What would you do in this situation?’ ‘How do you handle conflict?’ and ‘What type of activities do you enjoy in your off-hours?’ Finally, for panel interviews it may be helpful to remind your client to rotate their attention between panelist and begin each question by addressing the person who asked the question.

Future tracks will contain more specific examples regarding interviewing skills.

Source: American Library Association 129-131 132-135.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Barrick, M. R., Swider, B. W., & Stewart, G. L. (2010). Initial evaluations in the interview: Relationships with subsequent interviewer evaluations and employment offers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(6), 1163–1172.

Ho, J. L., Powell, D. M., Barclay, P., & Gill, H. (2019). The influence of competition on motivation to fake in employment interviews. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 18(2), 95–105.

Podsakoff, N. P., Whiting, S. W., Podsakoff, P. M., & Mishra, P. (2011). Effects of organizational citizenship behaviors on selection decisions in employment interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(2), 310–326. 

What are the four key parts that you can go over with you unemployed client to help them prepare for their in-person interview?
To select and enter your answer go to Test.

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