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Job Search : Different Interview Types for Different Resumes

                        Job Search: Different Interview Types for Different Resume Types



If you are a student or graduate just finishing school and you are about to enter the workplace for the first time, when you imagine sitting in a room and being interviewed for a position, you are most likely thinking of a structured interview. This is where the interviewer asks a prescribed set of questions and you give brief answers.


In an unstructured interview, the questions are more open-ended. The interviewer asks questions specifically designed to get you to reveal more about yourself than you would if you were asked the same old standard questions. The interviewer will try to find out more about you, your character, your skills, your background, and the interviewer may also let the interview proceedings to flow more freely than in a structured interview.


There are mainly two types of resumes; the chronological resume which reveals too much for the Hiring Manager.  A functional resume, on the other hand, pays more attention to your skills than length of employment.


Hiring Managers are trained to scan and spot the different types of resumes and to design questions based specifically on the information and type of resume that you have submitted. The questions will be designed to specifically address issues that could not be found from the resumes. For instance, in the case of a chronological resume the Hiring Manager may choose to use a more structured type of interview because the resume would have provided most of the answers to the Hiring Manager such as, last place of employment, tenure and reasons for leaving. The Hiring Manager will not waste his/her time asking questions around education and experience as these would have been provided already in the candidates resume. Therefore the most appropriate type of interview in this instance would be a structured interview. The Hiring Manager would want to get to the core of the position advertised and ask more job related questions.


Common job-related questions include the following:


With all the experiences you have acquired:  “Describe the contribution you will make to our company and how your contribution will benefit our organization”

Describe an improvement you personally initiated in your last employment.

What would you say is your most significant fault in your last employment?

Tell me about two or three aspects of your last job that you never want to repeat and why?

Why have you changed jobs so frequently? 


In the case of a functional resume, the Hiring Manager may choose to use an unstructured interview. In an unstructured interview, the questions are more open-ended. The Hiring Manager asks questions specifically designed to get you to reveal more about yourself than you would if you had submitted a chronological resume.


Hiring Managers do not necessarily limit themselves to one style. In fact, it is common practice for the hiring professional to start out with some basic objective questions and finish the interview with the more open-ended questions.


Common open-ended questions include the following:


Tell me something about yourself.

What skills have you acquired that make you ideal for this post?

Tell me about a time when you came up with a new idea to solve long-term problem.

Sell me this pen.

If you were to choose an animal, which animal would you like to be, and why?


As it can be seen from the two traditional interview formats interviewers can create and adopt their own interview composite aimed at eliciting solid evidence of a candidate’s abilities. The results can be quite telling. 




I have a Human Resource background and I am committed to long life learning.

Image taken on 2007-08-08 14:24:05. Image Source. (Used with permission)

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