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    Everything to know about interviewing

    Interviewing. The very word can strike fear into the heart of even the most experienced job seekers and recruiters. It’s a hurdle that must be overcome to achieve success in the modern workforce. One that requires the right blend of knowledge, expertise, and confidence to ace.

    Employers want to know that you understand the purpose of interviewing and how to prepare for it. Employees, on the other hand, want to feel confident that they can win over their potential employers by showing off their interviewing skills and ganing a job offer.

    Whether you’re a job seeker, recruiter, or journalist, mastering the art of interviewing is essential to succeed in the modern world. Here, we provide expert tips and techniques to help you understand effective interviewing strategies, question formulation, and more — so you can take your interviewing skills to the next level.

    What is called interviewing?

    Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let’s define what exactly is referred to as interviewing. Interviewing is a process of obtaining information from one or more sources through questioning and observation. It’s an exchange of ideas and knowledge between two or more people, and can be conducted in a range of settings — from face-to-face meetings to virtual video conferences.

    The candidate or source of information is typically expected to answer questions that are related to the topic or job at hand, while the interviewer will assess the responses and use them to determine if the candidate is suitable for the role.

    What is the main purpose of interviewing?

    The purpose of interviewing is twofold — it enables you to find out more about the candidate, and it provides the candidate with an opportunity to learn more about the job.

    For employers, interviewing is used as a tool to assess how suitable a candidate is for a particular role. They can use their time with the candidate to understand more about their skills and experience, as well as to determine how well the two parties would be able to work together.

    Conversely, the interview process can be advantageous to job seekers, who have the opportunity to learn more about their desired organization and consider what role they could play in it. This experience allows them to get a better understanding of how their abilities and expertise would help advance the company’s mission.

    Is a phone screen an interview? 

    Although often referred to as a phone interview, a phone screen is not an official interview. The phone screen phase of the recruitment process is usually used to assess a candidate’s suitability before they are invited for an in-person or virtual interview.

    The interviewer will typically ask questions about the applicant’s experience, skills, and qualifications in reference to the type of job on offer — all of which can be answered quickly over the phone. This can include questions such as “why are you interested in this job?” and “what experience do you have that ensures you are suitable for the role?”.

    A phone screen should not be considered an interview in itself — it is merely a first step towards an actual interview. While you are interviewing your candidate, you should still remain professional and courteous throughout the conversation. Likewise, the candidate should remember to keep their answers succinct and to the point.

    What are the 3 C’s of interviewing?

    In the world of job interviews, the 3 C’s are often cited as the key factors that employers consider when evaluating candidates. These 3 C’s are Competence, Character, and Chemistry

    Each of these factors plays an important role in the hiring process, and understanding them can help job seekers prepare for interviews and increase their odds of landing the job they want.


    Competence refers to the candidate’s technical skills and knowledge of the job. Employers need to know that the applicant is qualified for the position and can handle any challenges they may face. Therefore, job seekers should ensure that their resumes, portfolios, and cover letters accurately reflect their experience and qualifications.

    Demonstrating competence during the interview process can give candidates a significant advantage over their competition. It’s crucial for job seekers to be confident in their abilities and provide concrete examples of their past accomplishments that highlight their technical proficiency. Employers appreciate candidates who can showcase their skills and offer innovative solutions to complex problems.

    In addition to technical competence, soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability are also essential for success in any job. Candidates who can demonstrate a strong work ethic, an optimistic attitude, and a willingness to learn and grow are highly sought after in today’s job market.

    As part of the assessment, employers may also ask questions regarding the candidate’s prior work history or experience related to the job. This allows them to gauge how well they have managed similar scenarios in the past and if they are adequately prepared for any obstacles that could occur during their new role.


    Character refers to the candidate’s personal qualities, such as their values, work ethic, and attitude. Employers want to hire candidates who are trustworthy, dependable, and have a positive attitude. Their character says a lot about them, and it’s important to demonstrate during the job interview that they have the qualities employers are looking for.

    During the interview, employers may ask questions related to the candidate’s work style, problem-solving abilities, and decision-making processes to determine whether they align with the company’s values and culture. 

    When this happens, it’s important for candidates to be honest and authentic in their responses and to provide examples of how they have demonstrated these qualities in their previous work experiences.

    Some good examples of character-related questions an employer can ask include:

    • How do you handle stress and difficult situations?

    • What have been your biggest challenges at work, and how did you overcome them?

    • Describe a moment when you had to make an unpopular decision.

    Correspondingly, good responses from the candidate may look a little something like this: 

    • I am able to remain calm under pressure and think clearly in difficult situations. For example, last year, when our company was facing a tight deadline, I was able to stay focused and coordinate with my team to ensure that the project was delivered on time.

    • One of my biggest professional challenges has been learning how to delegate tasks effectively. To help me develop this skill, I took a course in leadership and management, which gave me the tools I needed to build successful teams.

    • When I had to make an unpopular decision, my priority was always to ensure it was in the company’s best interest. In one situation, I had to let go of a team member who was not meeting expectations, even though I knew it would be a difficult conversation.


    Chemistry refers to the candidate’s rapport and compatibility with the interviewer and the team. Employers want to hire candidates who will work well with others and who will contribute positively to the workplace.

    Having good chemistry with a team can be just as important as having the technical skills to perform the job. Employers understand that hiring someone who doesn’t fit in with the team can create a negative work environment and ultimately impact productivity.

    During the interview process, job seekers should pay close attention to the company culture and the people they interact with. Being respectful, professional, and approachable is essential, as this can help build rapport with the interviewer and demonstrate the ability to work well with others.

    Beyond the interview, chemistry can continue to play a significant role in the workplace. Collaboration and teamwork are critical components of most jobs, and having positive chemistry with colleagues can lead to more effective communication, greater trust, and improved productivity.

    At the same time, it’s essential to recognize that not everyone will have perfect chemistry with every person they work with. Different personalities, backgrounds, and communication styles can create challenges in any workplace. However, being aware of these differences and making an effort to work through them can help build stronger relationships and contribute to a more positive work environment.

    What are 5 keys to interviewing? | Tips for interviewers 

    The 3 C’s may be a solid framework for conducting successful interviews, but those looking for top-of-the-line candidates know that it takes more than just the basics. Here are 5 keys to interviewing that will yield the perfect candidate for your organization.

    1. Prepare like a pro

    A successful interview starts with thorough preparation. Before the interview, take time to review the candidate’s application materials, including their resume and cover letter. 

    Research their background and experience, and identify specific questions to ask that will help you assess their qualifications for the position. The more you know about the candidate, the more informed your decisions will be.

    2. Create a comfortable atmosphere

    Interviews can be nerve-wracking for candidates, so it’s important to create a comfortable atmosphere. Start by greeting the candidate warmly and engaging in small talk to help them feel at ease.

    Ask them about their journey to the interview, and make sure that they have access to snacks and drinks if needed. During the interview, keep a positive attitude and remember that your goal is to learn more about the candidate and their skillset, not necessarily to weed people out.

    By creating a relaxed and welcoming environment, you can help the candidate showcase their true abilities. That’s really what interviewing is all about.

    3. Ask open-ended questions

    When it comes to interviewing, asking the right questions is key. Focus on open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to share their experiences and insights. This will help you better assess their abilities and determine if they’re a good fit for the position.

    Dodge closed-ended questions that can be responded to with a simple “yes” or “no,” as these won’t provide the depth of information you need. Instead, you can use probing questions and hypotheticals to draw out the candidate’s knowledge and capabilities.

    Here are a set of questions to get you started:

    • How do you keep track of new trends and advancements in your industry?

    • What attribute do you believe sets you apart from the crowd, and how have you leveraged it in prior positions?

    • Can you walk me through a project you managed from start to finish, and how you approached any obstacles that arose?

    • How do you prioritize your workload when faced with multiple competing deadlines?

    • Describe a situation where you had to work with an uncooperative stakeholder or colleague, and how did you manage it?

    • What motivates you to do your best work?

    • How do you handle constructive criticism or feedback?

    • Tell me about a difficult decision you had to make and what process did you go through in order to come up with the right choice?

    • What skills or expertise do you bring to this position that sets you apart from other candidates?

    As the candidate answers your questions, focus on their body language and listen intently. It’s important to pay attention to more than just the words they say — their attitude, demeanor, and nonverbal cues can give you insight into their aptitude for the job.

    4. Listen more than you talk

    Active listening is a crucial skill for everyone in the modern workspace, but it’s especially important when interviewing. As the interviewer, it’s your responsibility to allow the candidate to provide answers in full without interruption.

    Focus on their words and ask follow-up questions if needed, but don’t take over the conversation or dominate the room. Instead, encourage them to speak freely about their experiences, and gauge their enthusiasm for the position.

    The more you listen, the more information you’ll gain about their skills and qualifications, which will help you make a better decision in the end. Take notes during the interview to help you remember important details and to show the candidate that you’re engaged in the conversation.

    By actively listening, you can make more informed hiring decisions, ultimately leading to a successful and fulfilling partnership between your organization and the candidate.

    5. Follow up promptly

    After the interview, it’s essential to follow up with the candidate promptly. Let them know what to expect next in the hiring process, and provide a timeline for when they can hope to hear back from you.

    If you decide not to move forward with the candidate, let them know as soon as possible. Providing timely feedback shows respect for the candidate’s time and helps build a positive reputation for your organization.

    What are 5 keys to interviewing? | Tips for interviewees 

    Interviewers may have their own set of rules, but there are also a few key tips that job seekers should keep in mind when preparing for an interview. Here are 5 keys to interviewing that applicants should consider.

    1. Research thoroughly

    If you want to nail your interview, you need to do your homework. This means researching the company, the position you’re interviewing for, and the person or people you’ll be speaking with. 

    Start by combing through the company’s website and social media accounts, paying close attention to their mission statement, values, and recent projects. Check out the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers, and look for commonalities between their backgrounds and your own.

    The more you know about the company and your interviewers, the better you’ll be able to tailor your responses and questions to their needs and interests. This can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your enthusiasm and dedication to the job. 

    Plus, it shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile to prepare for an interview, which is always impressive to hiring managers. So don’t skimp on the research - it could be the key to scoring your dream job.

    2. Practice your responses

    The second key to acing your interview is practicing your responses to common interview questions. Doing so lets you prepare thoughtful and concise answers highlighting your strengths and experiences.

    It’s crucial to take time to reflect on your previous experiences and accomplishments, and think about how they relate to the job you’re interviewing for. You can use this information to craft specific examples showcasing your skills and demonstrating why you’re the right candidate.

    Once you’ve identified potential interview questions, try practicing your responses out loud or with a friend. This will not only help you become more comfortable with your answers, but it will also give you a chance to receive feedback and make adjustments as needed.

    Remember, the goal is not to memorize your responses word for word, but rather to feel confident and prepared when answering questions during the actual interview. By practicing ahead of time, you’ll be able to articulate your thoughts clearly and effectively, leaving a lasting impression on your interviewer.

    3. Demonstrate enthusiasm

    Demonstrating enthusiasm is a critical aspect of any successful interview. Enthusiasm shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the position and eager to contribute to the company.

    One way to show enthusiasm is to research the company and the role thoroughly, and express excitement about specific aspects of the job or the company’s mission. 

    You can also demonstrate enthusiasm through your body language, tone of voice, and level of engagement during the interview. Make sure to maintain good eye contact, smile, and nod along when appropriate to show that you are actively listening and engaged in the conversation.

    Additionally, asking thoughtful questions about the company and the role can demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest. Some suggestions for questions to ask include:

    • How would you define success in this role?

    • What is the team culture like?

    • What challenges has the company faced recently, and how have they responded?

    • Do you have any reservations about my credentials?

    By asking these types of questions, you can demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge about the company, while also showing that you are willing to go above and beyond to learn more about the role and the company culture, which can help you stand out from other candidates.

    4. Show professionalism

    While enthusiasm is important, it’s also crucial to maintain a professional demeanor during your interview. This means dressing appropriately, arriving on time, and being courteous and respectful to everyone you encounter, from the receptionist to the hiring manager.

    It’s also important to be aware of your language and tone during the interview. Avoid using slang or overly casual language, and instead, speak clearly and professionally. This will show the interviewer that you take the opportunity seriously and are capable of representing the company in a professional manner.

    Remember, the interview is your chance to make a great first impression, so take it seriously and show the interviewer that you are a capable and professional candidate. You don’t have to be overly formal, but it’s important to demonstrate that you are experienced and ready to take on the role.

    5. Follow up

    After a successful interview, be sure to express your gratitude with a heartfelt thank-you note or email. This is the perfect opportunity to reinforce your enthusiastic interest and show appreciation for being considered.

    In your message, make sure to reference specific aspects of the interview that you found particularly interesting or valuable. This shows the interviewer that you were actively engaged in the conversation and took the opportunity seriously.

    Following up can also give you an opportunity to address any concerns or questions that may have come up during the interview. For example, if the interviewer expressed reservations about your qualifications, you can use the follow-up email to provide additional information or clarify any misunderstandings.

    Similarly, if the interviewer suggested that you take on certain tasks or research more information about the company, mention this in your thank-you note and be sure to follow through with what was requested.

    Interviewing skills to master

    Now that you know the various interview tips and keys, it’s time to develop your interviewing skillsIn conjunction with the 3 C’s and the above tips, additional skills to master include:


    As you have probably already noticed, research is key in any interview, whether you are a job seeker or a recruiter. Learn as much as possible about the company’s history and culture, their products and services, their competitors, and other relevant information. If you’re a recruiter, research the candidate’s background, skills, and experience.

    Question formulation

    It’s not enough to just ask questions; you need to be able to craft questions that will elicit meaningful responses from your interviewee. Consider the types of questions you want to ask and how they relate to the goal of the interview.

    For the job seeker, you want to ask questions that will demonstrate your qualifications, while a recruiter wants to ask questions that will identify the best fit for their organization.

    Active listening

    Interviews are a two-way conversation; it’s important to not just listen but actively listen to what is said and draw meaningful conclusions from the responses. Listen carefully to the answers and follow up with probing questions. Good listening skills are essential in any interview setting.

    Engaging the interviewee

    The best interviews are those that engage both parties. Ask questions that make the interviewee feel comfortable and provide an opportunity to share their experiences. Ensure you give them enough time to answer and encourage them to elaborate on their responses, if necessary.

    What are some common interviewing styles?

    Since preparation is key when it comes to interviews, one of the best ways you can get ready for your upcoming one is by understanding what type of interview to expect. 

    With various interviewing styles used by employers nowadays, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the various types and the best ways to prepare for each.

    The most common styles of interviewing include: 

    The Traditional Interview 

    The traditional interview style is usually conducted in person or over the phone and consists of a series of questions asked by the interviewer. This type of interview is generally very structured and focuses on the candidate’s background and experience.

    The Video Interview

    With the increasing prevalence of remote work, video interviews have become more popular. They allow employers to conduct interviews with candidates who are not local or cannot attend an in-person interview. Video interviews can be conducted live or pre-recorded, and can range from one-on-one interviews to panel interviews.

    The Behavioral Interview 

    The behavioral interview style focuses on the candidate’s past behavior in order to get an understanding of how they might act in the future. This type of interview typically involves open-ended behavioral interview questions that require the candidate to give specific examples of how they handled certain situations in the past.

    The Panel Interview 

    The panel interview is conducted with a group of two or more people, typically from the company. This type of interview allows the employer to get multiple perspectives on the candidates in order to make an informed decision. The panelist may ask similar questions in order to compare responses, or they may focus on different topics.

    The Group Interview

    Group interviews involve multiple candidates being interviewed at the same time. This type of interview is often used in retail or hospitality industries, where teamwork and communication are essential. Group interviews allow employers to assess how candidates interact with others and work in a team setting.

    Taking advantage of interviewing resources will ensure success 

    With the world of interviewing constantly evolving, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques is critical. Automation is making it easier to source and hire the right candidates on their job search, while technological advances are allowing for interviews to be conducted anywhere, at any time.

    Workstream is just one of the many resources available to help you make the most of your interviewing process. Our integrated platform provides everything you need for a successful interview, from automating paperwork collection to connecting with HR systems and more.

    We don’t just make interviews easier; we make them better. With Workstream on your side, you can source and screen candidates faster and with less effort, making it easier for managers to support their teams and serve customers.

    Get 4x more qualified applicants and see what all the buzz is about. Schedule a demo or email us at info@workstream.is today!

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