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Interviews Based On The Stage

The types of interviews can also be classified on the basis of the stage on which the interview process is on. It may be your initial interview, an interview at some intermediate stage or the final decisive interview. In most of the cases, your first interview is the screening interview, and the next level in most cases is the decisive interview. For the purpose of differentiation between a screening interview and other stages of interviews, we are explaining here two types of interviews—“screening interview” which defines your selection from a lot of candidates, and “second interview” which defines your election from the chosen few. The purpose, situations, advantages and disadvantages of both these types of interviews are detailed for you to understand the process distinctively.

Screening or the First Interview

Screening or first-round interviews are typical short and quick interviews aimed at fact-checking, information-gathering and profile-matching that a company wants to carry out from a bunch of applications/résumés received by its HR department. These interviews are generally taken by middle level HR executives of the company and their idea is to screen out potential candidates for the next level. Often a company will have these interviews conducted on the telephone for outstation candidates. However, personal screening interviews are conducted for 30–40 candidates with the aim of being able to reduce this number to four or five. Such interviews usually take between 10–15 minutes to be over and generally a follow-up date and appointment is given to the successful candidates.
Most of the questions asked during the screening interviews are mundane questions and you are expected to answer these confidently to cross over to the second round. The four types of questions which you will encounter in this round are:
Informative: These questions are based on what you have mentioned in your résumé. For example, “I see that you are pursuing a NIIT Software Development course, along with your ICFAI Financial Management degree. Tell me why?”
Technical or Task-based: Such questions are thrown at you to measure your technical know-how and functional/project related aspects of the potential position. For example, “Why do you think crude oil prices have nosedived recently despite supply disruptions from the middle-east region?” or “What should be in your opinion the best configuration of the server in an office where you have more than 150 users connected at peak-load scenario?”
Brainteasers or Hypothetical: These questions are asked to check how a candidate can take decisions in a particular situation and respond by exhibiting his/her specific skill(s). For example: “Can you make an analogy of products being manufactured by our company with those of the companies you have earlier worked with?” or “How many tennis balls would be equal in weight of a cricket ball?”
Behavioural: Here the interviewer wants the candidate to describe about a particular situation (generally in a project on which the candidate has already worked in his/her previous assignments.) The interviewer wants to know in detail what was done in that situation and what extra could have been possible or, in the candidate’s opinion, how a particular outcome could have been avoided. For example, “Tell me about an incident, if it ever happened, when a student in your class complained to you of fever. What were the steps taken by you as a teacher of the class?”
Some of the mundane questions you may find yourself facing in a first-round interview include:
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What is the meaning of your name?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • How do/would your friends describe you?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • How would you be important in this department?
  • What do you know about our products/brands/company?
  • Do you have what it takes to deliver in this ­position/company?
  • In your opinion what is your greatest strength?
  • In your opinion what is your weakness?
  • Any particular reason for attending so many schools in the first year of your schooling?
  • Why did you choose to be away from home when you had a professional college in your city?
  • How good a leader/administrator/manager you are and why?
  • How do you see yourself in the next five years?
  • What are your salary expectations for this position? What
  • is/was your CTC (cost-to-company) in your present/last job?
  • Do you want to ask any specific question related to our company, the position we are offering, our recruitment ­­process, etc.?

The Second Interview

A favourable outcome in your first interview leads you to the next level, which is a decisive level. We call it the second interview. However, a second interview may or may not be a decisive round but around 90 per cent on an average, it is. Keeping it in mind that second interview is your next-round decisive interview, let us introspect what led you to this level. Clearly, you did something right the first time around to be invited back. You must be thinking whether this is because of your concise answers to the interviewers’ questions, or proper explanation on how you could apply your skills to the position, or because you were well-mannered, well-dressed, and well-prepared. In fact, all of these contributed to this favourable outcome. Then by all means, in the second interview, you have to repeat the performance to get a favourable outcome again. Just keep in mind that you will be meeting with more people, probably at corporate headquarters, perhaps over the course of a day.
A series of individual interviews is the most common format for the second job interview. In this scenario, the people conducting the interviews—your to-be-colleagues and seniors—mostly are interested to know how well you will be contributing to the team to achieve the company’s goal. Here you are to prove that you can meet their expectations with your competence and compatibility. You will be able to work on the training/guidelines given by the team and make full use of your work-related experiences to achieve the targets drawn for your profile.




Candidates invited for a second interview by Punjab Tractors Ltd., a tractor major from Chandigarh, may have to meet individually or collectively, with as many as 10 people, including partners, managers and other staff members, according to Mr Ashudeep Saddi, the recruiting officer of the company. Mr Saddi views the full-day interview schedule as an effective way to evaluate the job and interpersonal skills of prospective employees under close scrutiny. “We want to have enough confidence in a candidate’s ability that we would consider scheduling him or her to meet with clients on the first day of the job,” he says.

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