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Interview Formats By Different Job Positions

Beginners, Professionals & Executives


Who are beginners?

Beginners are those who are stepping into a new job for which they don’t have “work experience”. However they may have related experience which can be seen as a “transferable skill”.

As an example, Linda was a stay-at-home mom who stepped out to look for work when her kids started going to school. While she hadn’t worked in corporations, she had acquired event organization skills as a result of arranging her own parties; she was also found suitable for other jobs as a result of her school diplomas, internships and volunteer work experience.

A few examples of beginners are:

  1. Junior Positions – admin assistants, receptionist
  2. Skilled Jobs – mechanics, data entry operators
  3. Fresh out of college – entry level positions in companies

What are common interview formats for beginners?

  • A written skills test , competency interview.

  • A final interview which would also have elements of behavioral interview to judge integrity, initiative and intelligence.

What are some common elements of beginner interviews?

  1. School or college degrees, diploma & certifications

  2. Energy and Personality – are you a fast learner with a positive attitude?

  3. Any experience from past life which can be seen as a transferable hard skill.


Who are professionals?

Professionals are those who have work experience in corporations or through their own businesses. Typically professional are individual contributors who are looking to advance in their existing company or looking for a job in another company.

A few examples of professionals are:

Technical leads, consultants, architects, lawyers, financial analysts and others.

What are common interview formats for professionals?

  • A skills test and competency interview may be required if you are applying for a technical job. However instead of a “usual” test, you may be given a mini project to complete in a limited timeframe after which you could be asked to present a case study.

  • Scenario based interviews (case interviews) to judge analytical thinking, behavioral interviews to judge intergrity, aptitude, motivation and goals in life would certainly be woven in the interview process.

  • You may also be asked to make a presentation before a panel on a specific topic.

What are some common elements of professional interviews?

  1. Profesional certifications like PMP, Togaff etc

  2. Enthusiasm and Attitude – are you willing to take on new challenges and integrate with new teams?

  3. Hard skills which you have gained through work experience. You would need to explain how these would be relevant for your new job.


Who are executives?

Executives are those who are typically in “people management” roles. They are have the freedom within their company to decide how they will achieve the goals set by the owners of the company for their organizational unit, department or division.

Executives have their own budget and team, the ability to hire and restructure their team. Depending on their seniority they may have more responsibilities.

A few examples of executives are:

  • Managers, Directors, VPs, C-Levels etc

  • Senior level individual contributors in certain companies may also be termed as executives.

What are common interview formats for executives?

  • A possible process could be an initial interview over lunch/coffee followed by .several behavioral interviews with other senior executives in your future company.

  • Storytelling is key. Your “executive presence”, storytelling ability, pragmatism, accomplishments in the past life and your relationships with people in your industry are key factors .which would determine the outcome of the interview process.

  • You need to have a vision for the future and be able to communicate some of the things you would do to improve the department or company you would lead.

What are some common elements of executive interviews?

  • Key attributes you would be quizzed about would be how you have dealt with challenges in the past, your industry insight and observations about the trends in your industry, whom you have mentored and your strategies for talent management and your decision making abilities.

  • Your confidence in your abilities, the ability to tell stories and a vision for the future are key in an executive interview.