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A candidate’s guide to the most common type of interviews

​No matter how or where you are in your current career, the time will come when you’ll want to try something new or different. And then, whether you like it or not, you’ll inevitably have to face some kind of interview and/or test to get that new job you are dreaming about.

During their career, most people have their fair share of good and bad interviews. I can certainly name one or two of my own - I was once offered a sandwich midway through an interview by my interviewer who had his feet over the desk!

Interviews can come in many forms – panel interviews, one to one interviews, group interviews etc. However, experience has taught me that most candidates are usually facing the following type of interviews:

  • Competency/Behavioural

  • Conversational

  • Test/Psychometric


Behavioral based interviewing is based on discovering how the interviewee acts in specific employment-related situations. During this type of interview a candidate’s achievements, strategic thinking, leading and teamwork skills will be assessed. Also, the interviewer might want to find out how certain situations were handled, if the candidate is able to cope with pressure or how good they are at helping other members of the team.

Behavioral interview questions are more specific than traditional interview questions: ’Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.’ Therefore, it might be difficult to give a quick and straightforward answer to this type of questions but it’s important to keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. The interviewer is simply trying to understand how the candidate behaved in a given situation.

My advice is to listen carefully, be clear and detailed when you respond and to try to stick to the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) when answering questions. Don’t forget you’re answering structured questions so give examples in a structured way. With a little practice you will be able to use some strong examples for a number of competencies through moulding your answers to fit the competency required. The interviewers are likely to only ask 2/3 per competency they want to test.


These type of interviews are great! They were designed to let candidates relax, drop their guard and perhaps show their real personality. Interviewers who regularly use this type of interview know that the more free-flowing the conversation can be, the better!

Here are a couple of questions your interviewer might ask you during a conversational interview: ‘Here’s a situation that comes up all the time around here. What’s your take?’ Or, ‘Tell me about the best manager you’ve had so far, and why it was such a good fit.’

The best way to answer these questions is to use real life examples. Relate your CV back to the questions keeping your answers as concise as you can. These questions can become a real problem if you’re nervous and some people may start to over talk. So, try to remember that it’s better to give a full answer of substance than getting lost in the answer itself.


Simply put, these are a series of tests/questions the interviewer is using to work out how much a candidate scores against a set of pre-determined criteria. Psychometric testing results provide employers with a behavioural profile of the candidates – their level of aptitudes as well as their personality characteristics. The profile will indicate whether they can solve problems, are team players or whether they prefer to work individually. These tests are almost like an IQ test.

Even though these interviews are mostly used in technical industries and in the senior permanent market as opposed to interim roles, more and more companies are starting to see them as the best judging method when hiring people in the modern market.

You’ll definitely have to thoroughly practice and prepare in advance of this interview. There are a number of resources and practice tests online that will give you an insight into this however, you should also call the recruiter to find out what attributes the right applicant has.

Click here to read a few more general interview useful tips.

Happy interviewing everyone!

If you’d like to get in touch with Ash, please contact him on