How To Prepare For Different Interview Formats

The Telephone Interview

Although often considered to be a box-ticking exercise for the employer, you can use it to “stand out”:

  • Try and turn it into a conversation by asking the interviewer questions: When did you start with company? How is the team structured? Etc.
  • Anticipate likely questions and provide examples of your aptitude:

For example, for a role describing research as a key task; ‘my English degree has taught me the importance of initially laying out a research plan; for example, in my Jane Austin assignment, I…’

  • Take notes and follow up your interview with a “thank you” note:

Whilst demonstrating your professionalism and manners, it also enables you to provide them with a reminder of your application and providing further information that you failed to mention in your interview.


Group Interview:

Whilst it is purposely difficult to prepare for an unseen group task, two common examples are;

  1. Pick an item out of a bag and sell it to the Group.
  2. If you were on a deserted island, what five items would you take.

However, these interviews are not designed to solely prioritise your answers, but watch how the methods you use to approach challenges and how you work with others.

As a result, we would recommend not preparing for group roles outside of researching the company and the position in-depth. Be yourself! It is very easy to become competitive in such an environment, but a skilled interviewer will provide a chance for you to shine. Let the others benefit you, by arguing and allowing you the time to think of your best response!

Demonstrate your ability to operate in a team by inviting quiet members to have the chance to speak, not interrupting them whilst they speak but taking the time to think how you can build upon any suitable ideas raised.


In Person Interview:

Prepare thoroughly by research the company beyond their homepage and reference their clients, competitors and targets when answering questions.

Bring your own questions; what is the office culture like (eg do you typically celebrate birthdays with after-work drinks or a cake), what challenges has the current employee found in the role, what is the next stage in my progression likely to be etc.

  • Be prompt and presentable; check the location and take contact details.
  • Research the company; their activities, development, corporate ethos and competitors.
  • Questioning yourself on your characteristics and attributes; what makes you special and how can you convey this to the prospective employers.
  • Finally, be positive; carry out your research and head to it in a confident mood.
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