The Interview Scale

After attending quite a few interviews, I’ve come to believe that there is an “interview scale”. I wouldn’t say this scale goes from easy to hard, because difficulty is relative…but let’s say it’s a scale that goes from informal to formal. Your experience at your interview is going to be very different depending on what kind of interview you have.


Let’s start with a formal interview, because this is probably the one you’re expecting. This is the interview where you’re wearing business-casual attire. I’ve only had a couple of these so far, but I personally found them a little bit more bearable just because I knew what to expect. The interviewer will ask you to introduce yourself, probably will ask for your CV (even though you’ve probably already e-mailed it to them, so just make sure you have a hard copy anyways) and then ask you some generic questions about your past experience. The questions will seem as though they should be obvious from your CV, but they’re actually looking for you to elaborate They’ll also likely ask you some questions about yourself (the infamous “what is your biggest weakness” question that I don’t think I will ever know what is the right answer to) and then ask you if you have any questions for them. Tips to succeeding in these interviews? First and foremost, appear confident. This means having a strong handshake, never using the word “um”, and having full-sentence solid answers. Also, have questions for them! Make sure you’ve researched about their organization beforehand so you can somehow plug in your knowledge, and give them excellent and relevant questions.


Next we go to the middle of the scale. The difference between this and the formal interview is that, in the formal interview, the interviewer is likely interviewing a group of people and trying to determine who is the best candidate for the position. In contrast, this middle-scale interview occurs when the interviewer is probably only interviewing you (or maybe a very small amount of people) and ensuring that you aren’t the worst candidate for the position. So, you’re not trying to prove yourself the best of the best of the best – you’re just trying to demonstrate that you are capable and the interviewer has no reason NOT to hire you. Tips to succeeding in these interviews? Pretend it’s a formal interview, but just quiet down on the arrogance. You don’t need to talk about yourself in an extravagant way, you don’t need to show off that you’ve researched the organization too much…just make sure you’re pretending that you don’t know it’s a middle-scale interview.


Finally, the informal interview. This is the kind of interview where you pretty much already have the job, but it’s just for formalities before you formally start working. For me, I had an informal interview when my friend recommended me for a job where she was working. Though slightly unfair, the harsh reality of the real world is that you can get many opportunities via contacts…and because I got this one through my friend who was already an employee there, I was pretty much guaranteed the job as long as I actually had the experience she had already told them and wasn’t a horrible person. You know this is an informal interview when they start treating you as though you already have the job, such as talking about “what you’re going to be doing here” or “are you free on Thursdays at 4pm”. Tips to succeeding in these interviews? Just be friendly. They’re most likely looking to make sure you’re a good person that has the experience (if any) that they’re looking for, so show them that.


And that’s my perception of the interview scale! The unfortunate part of the scale is that you sometimes don’t know what type of interview you’re walking into until you’re actually in it. Which means you have to prepare for all. For all of those out there going through interviews right now, good luck!

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