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Developer Careers Guide 14: Interview Guide. The different types of interview

What can you expect when you are invited to an interview?

There are many different formats and styles that interviews can take. This post will help you understand what is most likely to happen when you are called for an interview.

Often employers will screen their candidates with a preliminary interview over the telephone before deciding which to invite to an actual meeting.

Telephone interviews.  

If a telephone interview is arranged we would recommend finding a time when you know you will have no other distractions and can guarantee a quiet place. Print a copy of your CV and make sure you have it in front of you. You can be sure that the interviewer will have a copy, so having a copy yourself will help you to get dates and details right and make it easier to have a worthwhile discussion.

The recruiting company will most likely be controlling the interview and will probably have some set questions that they will go through. The general aim here is to give them no reason not to want to meet you. Your main focus should be to come over as professional and keen. At the end of the interview it is a good idea to ask what the process is moving forward, so you are clear about the next steps. Asking this question can sometimes encourage the client to suggest a time that you would be around for a meeting, although we would not recommend that you push for a meeting at this point.


Once you have successfully arranged a meeting it will most likely be one, or a combination, of the following three types. We would recommend that you find out which interview type it will be from your recruiter, so you can prepare accordingly.

Technical interview. This will be a conversation with one or more members of technical staff, generally including a line manager. As it is a technical interview it is important to do your research on what technologies will be part of the job. You can do this by asking the recruiter and studying the job spec. See how it matches up against your CV to remind yourself which of the skills on your CV are required in the job. These are the most likely things to come up. Many candidates fail interviews because they could not back up the technical knowledge on their CV. Refresh your memory and do your homework to make sure you are fully able to discuss any part of your CV and relevant work history.

Human resources interview. This will generally be a meeting with a member of the HR or Personnel team and will most likely be either a CV review or a competency-based interview. They may ask your career goals, your reason for leaving companies and get you to explain any gaps in your career. If it is a competency based interview then the interviewer will ask questions such as: “Give me an example of strong team work,” or “Can you tell me an example of a situation where things haven’t gone your way?”  To prepare well for these interviews you must review your CV and recall projects and events that display the best of your skills.

Team interviews. These are a chance for you to meet some of the people that you will be working with. If you do meet the team then treat them with respect and ask questions about their role within the company. Try to refer to them by name and you will make a good impression. The best questions to ask in team interviews are: “What is the company like to work for?” and “How did you get into the company?”

Our subsequent posts will give you more details on how to prepare for an interview, and what you can do to manage the interview to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

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