College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Career Corner
Three Tricky Interview Styles -- And How To Ace Them

Heather Eagar -- The need for different interview styles has evolved with the increasing complexities of jobs and work environments, as a scientific means to testing candidates.

In this day and age, as job competition has increased, interviewing techniques have also gotten tougher. Larger corporations often adopt multi-layered interview techniques from initial screening until the job offer stage.

Interview Styles and How to Handle Them Confidently

The need for different interview styles has evolved with the increasing complexities of jobs and work environments, as a scientific means to testing candidates.

Behavioral Interview

This style of interview uses the premise that past behavioral and performance history reveals enough indicators for a prediction of future performance. This type of interview can begin with concealed questions, such as asking you to narrate a tricky situation you have handled in the past.

For example, "Please let us know your best accomplishment and how you were able to accomplish it." However, the questions will not necessarily be limited to your past. Look at this one: "If you had to purchase accounting software, how would you choose it?" This question aims at bringing out your software knowledge, as well as the decision making process that you may use.

Case Study

A slightly refined technique within the behavioral interview is the case study style. Expect to encounter a real-life situation here. Something like "evaluate different accounting software as a precursor to purchase and implementation" should not surprise you.

If you take this question with an open mind, you will be able to produce the best answer without getting flustered. You will recollect different variants of software that you are acquainted with through years of usage. From your current knowledge, you will make the right choice by analyzing various aspects like robustness, customizability, user-friendliness, and cost effectiveness. You may even brainstorm with your team of users.

But what does all this signify to the interviewer? Simple -- it speaks of your:

-- Experience
-- Confidence
-- Willingness to engage people
-- Team spirit
-- Composed and robust decision making style
-- Problem solving ability
-- Perseverance

Stress Test

You will probably face questions like "why are there so many job changes in your career?" or "why weren't you promoted in your last job despite being there long-term?"

These are clever questions, designed to make your squirm in your seat. They will make unprepared candidates go speechless. But the interviewer is watching you closely and observing changes in your face, behavior, and body language.

Quite naturally, these are hard questions that require time to remember exact scenarios and find ways to simplify and shorten your answers. Give precise answers, including specifics about the question. Since there are no wrong answers in the stress interview, what they are really looking for is how you respond to unexpected stressors.

These are three prevalent types of interview styles. However, in actual practice, you may come across a blend of one or all three. Use the information above to be successful, and you will be able to give the interviewer exactly what they are looking for.

Heather Eagar is a former professional résumé writer who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end. If you want interview tips to help you land that perfect job, go to

© 2006 Heather Eagar

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.