Your Interviewer May Ask Questions in An Unstructured Way - But Did You Know This Could Be Unfair, Especially If You Didn't Get To Talk About Your Relevant Experience?
Did you know there's different types of interview question formats? And do you know which one you have to be careful of because its unfair to you?
When you get to an interview and you're meeting the recruiters and company staff members, at some point the formal "Question Asking" will begin, e.g., "so tell me about yourself? tell me about your experience using this computer program... etc."
The interviewer (whoever is asking the questions) is going to ask questions in one of two types of formats:
The unstructured interview may seem more appealing at first - in fact unstructured interviews tend to be preferred by recruiters themselves because it creates a more personable, friendly, and casual setting with you, the applicant. Perhaps this casual setting makes it easy to believe that the applicant (you) will act more relaxed and score better.
However, when interviewers use unstructured interviews, they risk putting you and everyone else applying at unfair playing fields.
What if the recruiter only asks the applicant after you to state specific examples of that program that is needed for the job, and not you or anyone else? By default, that lucky applicant is going to seem better suited for the job than you! All because him and the recruiter actually had the chance to talk about what was important for the job (because the recruiter remembered to bring it up).
The choice is obvious - structured interviews are better. They may make you more nervous because you see people looking down at a list of questions and ranking you accordingly to make sure they ask you the prescribed questions, but structured interviews give applicants a fairer playing field.
So what do you do if you don't feel the topic of the interview conversation isn't structured or isn't prompting you to talk about the skill sets and experience that make you suited for the job?
Don't be afraid to take the wheel and smoothly steer the conversation in the direction you want. Answer the prompts the interviewer asks you, but include transition words in your speech to cover topics that will showcase your skill set.
Never forget: in addition to asking about your experience with certain duties or skills, the interview is the company's way of assessing your personality: are you going to fit into the company? are you going to be a great employee? can you work well with others?
While we advise you on steering the conversation, be sure to find the specific "transition phrases" that will help you to do this in a polite, professional, and pleasing manner.
Here are some examples of how you can steer the conversation, starting with "transition phrases":
Always remember: it is your job to "Sell Yourself" to the employer - not the other way around! Don't expect the perfect prompts from the interviewer to pull out all the best information from you - steer the conversation and be sure to include information about your skill-sets, experience, and accomplishments that show you are a great applicant.
What If Its Too Late?
If this interview happened within the past 48 hours - you can mend this! If you haven't already, send a "thank you" email to the people that interviewed you. Somewhere within the body of the email, make sure to "restate" what makes you a great applicant.
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to let me meet with you and the rest of the XYZ marketing team. I had a great time getting to know everyone, and I appreciate the time you took to answer all my questions in depth and share details about the position and department.
After meeting with you and learning more about the Marketing Associate Position, I wanted to share about a particular relevant experience with ABC Company: During my time with ABC Company, I had the opportunity of proposing, planning, and leading a new Email Marketing Campaign that was sent out to over 26,000 people - after analyzing the data, I found that because of my vision and marketing materials, I was able to create a 80% return rate on the desired web page product and increased sales by 45% after deployment of the campaign. I am sure that my expertise in leading large-scale campaigns, in addition to my creative vision would be useful in me serving as the project lead for the new XYZ Edge Marketing Initiative.
Please let me know if you have any questions - I look forward to hearing back from you and hearing what the next steps are.
If this interview is long-gone - don't sweat it. The only way to get better is to learn and grow! We're glad you read this page and can take this knowledge with you for the next interview you're on. Of course, don't hesitate to check out any of our Interview Prep Packages to get personalized help!