The course of a job interview

Even though each job interview, of course, is different, most job interviews progress through the same stages. This article describes the most common course of events during a job interview, so that you know what to expect.

The opening stage of the job interview

A job interview generally begins with the opening stage. At this stage, there may be some informal questions to put the interviewee at ease, coffee or tea may be offered, and they may explain how the job interview will progress.

Stage two: information about the organisation and the position

Once the meeting is officially opened, the job interview really starts. The following stage in the job interview is usually that the person in charge of the meeting tells you something about the organisation and the position for which you are applying. They may tell you what the company does, what the company stands for, how many employees it has, and what the position will entail precisely. Usually you already have this information, but it is still a set component of the job interview.

Stage three: answering questions

After giving the general information about the organisation and the position, your interviewer will start asking you questions. Often they will ask you some general questions about your personality, then some questions about your career and any projects you have done. This part of the job interview is the most important one of course, this is when you have to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. The length of this part of the interview varies per company. Sometimes it is only half an hour, sometimes up to 90 minutes.

Stage four: asking questions

Once they have obtained sufficient information from you, you will be given the opportunity to ask your own questions. Some people might at this point say they have no questions and skip this part of the interview, but it is better to have a question to ask. This makes a prepared, enthusiastic and serious impression, and also gives your conversational partners a chance to ask some more questions. It is wise to think of a few questions prior to the interview, so that you always have at least one question to ask. This question may relate to the role of the position, or employment conditions, or other affairs related to the job or the company.

The conclusion

When you have asked one or more questions and these have been answered by your interviewers, the job interview is concluded. At this point the leader of the interview often indicates how the interview went in their opinion, and what the next step is in the job application procedure. The job interview is officially over when you have shaken everyone’s hand, thanked them for the interview and said goodbye.

An alternative course of events

Although most job interviews progress as described above, some companies do things differently. Certain stages may be added, or they may occur in a different sequence, or even skipped. Always be prepared for the job interview to maybe progress slightly differently, so that you are unfazed if this happens. 

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