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Interview Stages and What they Mean

The interview process over the years has grown and evolved. Gone are the days with many companies where you are interviewed once, maybe twice and then offered the role. It is not uncommon in many cases for there to be up to 6 stages within the interview process, where you will meet many managers’ employees and dependant on the size of the business managing directors.

Confused? Don’t worry, here is an overview of the different interview stages that you may encounter, what they mean and how you can get the best out of them each stage that will lead to that job offer:

Screening Interview:

Typically the first interview within the recruiting process, a screening interview involves a 5 – 10 minute face-to- face chat, with a brief review of your background, work history and your reasons for your interest within the advertised position. This process is normally used when the company are looking to create a shortlist of appropriate candidates who have the relevant qualifications to be able to undertake the requirements needed for the role. You are more than likely to be interviewed by the hiring managers at this stage and not the person that you will be working alongside.

Phone or Skype interviews are another way to conduct a screening interview, but can be a separate stage within the interviewing process. This process is useful for companies to chat to candidates whom maybe out of area and it is not easy for them to travel. These will normally be scheduled in advance, but sometimes can be arranged last minute so it is mindful to be prepared for not having much time.

How can you progress to the next stage?

Review the job description: this will reveal what the company is looking for within a candidate as their desired skills and qualifications will be laid out. It is also a good idea to conduct some research on the company to help set you apart from others.

Clear answers: As this is a brief interview, try to respond to each question with only the important information. Try and stick to achievements and skills that are relevant to aid your suitability for the role you are applying for.

Relax: remember to relax and let a little of your personality come through in the short time that you have.

If a telephone interview:

-Make sure it is you that answer the call and not a family member, – you can let the interviewer know that they have reached the correct person by stating your name at the beginning of the call.

-Keep your CV nearby to help jog your memory of anything that you think is relevant.

-Answer the question as best you can. If you need a few minutes to think about the answer that is ok, acknowledge to the interviewer that you are thinking as they wont’ be able to see you.

-Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and take yourself away from anything that could distract you whilst on the call.

First Interview:

The first stage interview is when you will be asked by the company to visit them for a face to face interview. This is normally a one-on-one interview, but it is not uncommon to have two people at this stage. Here the interviewer/s will ask you more in-depth questions about your experiences and skills within your working career, work history and will to find out more about you and your personality to see if you would be a fit within the company’s culture. This type of interview is normally 45 minutes to an hour and a half but can be longer.

How can you progress to the next stage?

Dress to impress; typically interviewers will know if they will be taking you through to the next stage of an interview within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. Your attire makes a statement about you before you have even sat down and said anything, so it is never more important to ensure you look the best you can.

Research: This is also an important factor when going for an interview. A popular question many interviewers will ask is what you know about the company. As well as looking at the company website it is also a good idea to research around the industry so you get a better understanding of what is involved.

Preparing your own questions: as you conduct your own research you may find there are some things that you are not sure about. Write these questions down and take them with you on the day as if you are still unclear towards the end of the interview, you can ask them to help you get a better understanding, and aid your decision if you wish to continue to the next stage if asked.

Second Interview:

A second interview normally means that a company is really interested in you and likes what they have seen so far. At this stage, you may experience a bigger interview panel than at your first interview, and you may meet with other employees and management during this time. Second interviews can be all day, depending on the company, and you may be required to conduct a presentation or a series of tasks and some shadowing. You will be informed of these before your interview date giving you plenty of time to prepare.

How can you impress at this stage:

Prepare: Once you know what the day will entail, ask for a full itinerary or description of the tasks in hand. Read it through carefully and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask and check.

Review interview questions: You may be asked some of the same questions that you were asked at your first interview, so now is a good time to review the answers that you gave and if there is anything that you wold add within your answer. Other questions you could be asked include the relevant experience that you have, the challenges you are looking for and you career goals.

Dress professionally: Unless mentioned, always dress for your interviews in business attire to give the best impression you can.

Ask questions: You know that the company are interested in you, making this is a great opportunity for you to prepare some questions for them to answer. These can be anything form the career development opportunities available to you or training programmes, right through to the type of culture that the business operates in or anything about the role that you would like to check. You want to make sure that the company is a good fit for you and these things can sometimes be the breaking point between accepting the job or not.

In some cases you may be given a job offer at the end of this interview stage. There are times when things seem perfect when you are there, but once you step away and have a few days to reflect, you may find things are not what they seemed at the time. Unless you are certain that this is the job for you, you can ask for a few days to think about it before you give your answer.

Third Interview:

If you should have to take part in a third interview, this typically involves a final meeting with the hiring manages and you may meet more of your prospective colleagues. A third interview implies that you are in the mix of applicants whom they would like to offer the role to, but potentially there could be a few candidates in which they are wanting to choose from. It can also mean that they are just being very thorough in making sure that they have chosen the right candidate for the role.

With this interview stage you are likely to be asked more in depth and involved questions involving hypothetical scenarios (i.e. a frustrating customer or work colleague or an unreasonable deadline) and how you would handle these situations.

Preparing for this interview:

Use previous interview notes: Check over your previous notes form your interviews and see what you have been asked before. Prepare your answers carefully.

Look up your interviewers: Check your interviewers on the company page of the website and check their job titles and their experience with the company.

Research: A final check of the company website will put you in good position and any recent press items that have been added will be useful to keep you at the top of the pile.

Final questions: This is a good time to ask those final questions that you would like to know about the company. If Salary’s and schemes have not been mentioned previously, now is a good time find out about them.

Final Interview:

This is where you will find out if you are going to be offered the role. This is your last chance to make a good impression. You may meet a small panel of the management team or depending on the size of the company the CEO may conduct this interview.

-Preparations required.

-Dress appropriately,

-Review all information about the company

-Answer any questions you are asked confidently

-Keep calm and professional but let your personality come through

After the interview:

It can take time for companies to reach a final decision and come up with an offer package. If this is the case then don’t worry.

We have matched many of our highly skilled candidates with many of the UK and Europes highly regarded companies within the healthcare industry. Whether you are just starting out, or you are looking to develop and progress within your career, our team have a wealth of knowledge and expertise within their chosen markets to offer you advice and support throughout the recruitment process, and can take the hassle out of your job search and liaise with our clients on your behalf.

If you would like to find out more about the job opportunities available within our medical, Scientific, pharmaceutical and dental markets, you can register your details, Send us a message or contact team on 01494 818 000.

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