What Is the Interview Process? 8 Steps on What to Expect
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 19 January 2023
Published 1 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
After you submit an application for a job and an employer reviews your qualifications, they may select you to go through the interview process. Some organisations have simple systems for hiring and interviews, while others have more extensive interview procedures with several steps. Knowing what to expect in the interview process can help you prepare for a variety of interviewing systems and ensure that you increase your chances of impressing potential employers. In this article, we explain the basics of the interview process and what to expect from each step.
What is the interview process?
To understand what is the interview process, it refers to all the steps involved with planning and reviewing meetings to determine if someone is the best candidate for a job. During the interview process, hiring managers at a company determine which individuals they want to meet with, schedule meetings to discuss their qualifications, and reflect on the interview to select a candidate. Some interview procedures include additional steps that enable hiring managers to learn more about the skills and experience that candidates can provide in the position.
During interviews, candidates can also learn about potential employers and determine if an organisation is a place they can see themselves working in the future. Candidates can evaluate their potential employer by talking to the interviewer and asking them questions about the company culture and expectations of the role. As you proceed through each aspect of a company's interview procedures, you learn more information about the role to decide about your career.
8 steps of the interview process
When an organisation has a job opening, managers and human resources professionals review applications and begin the interviewing process. Each company has its own method for evaluating candidates, so some hiring managers may only have a few steps in the interview process, while others may add extra elements for a more thorough system. Here are common steps in interviewing candidates for a job:
At the beginning of the interview process, hiring managers select which candidates they want to consider for interviews. They review resumes and other application materials as the initial way to review candidates and select the top individuals to interview. During the selection process, the hiring manager or a group of key individuals in the department often starts by sorting applications into different categories. They determine the minimum requirements to interview for the position, then classify candidates based on whether they qualify for an interview.
Some hiring managers may decide to select a specific number of candidates for the next step in the screening process. For example, if they only have time to officially interview 10 people for a position, they may decide to choose 20 resumes for the initial phone screening. During the resume review process, they may rank candidates based on their qualifications to choose the top 20 individuals for the job.
2. Phone screening
Many employers use phone screening early in the interview process to confirm the qualifications on a candidate's resume. A phone screen is a brief interview that takes place through a phone call and can last 15 to 30 minutes. During the phone screening interview, recruiters and hiring managers confirm basic information on your resume and ask questions about your interest in the position.
The purpose of a phone screening is to determine if the information on your resume is accurate and confirm that interviewing you is worthwhile for both you and the organisation. They may inquire about your availability, how soon you can begin working, and your salary expectations. Interviewers may also ask basic questions about your skills to verify that you have the experience and knowledge for the position.
3. Written assessment
Some employers incorporate behavioural and skills assessments into the interview process. If you complete a phone screen interview and the hiring manager is still interested in your application, they may ask you to complete a brief test to learn more about your personality or aptitude in specific areas. Skill tests allow them to gather data about your performance and develop benchmarks regarding your knowledge level in certain role-related competencies. For example, you might complete a grammar and spelling assessment when applying for an editing position.
Behavioural assessments are a common tool for determining if you have the right mindset to be a successful employee and fit in with a company's professional culture. Hiring managers use these types of assessments to ensure that you have an ethical mindset. They also review your responses to envision your ability to function as a part of their team.
4. Initial interview
The initial interview is a significant portion of the interview process and involves meeting with a hiring manager to discuss your experience. During the interview, the employer's goal is to get to know you and assess your skills and experience in relation to their needs for this role. The following stages typically make up the first interview:
Introduction: You can use the first few minutes to introduce yourself to the interviewer and learn some basic information about the organisation. This is also their first impression of you, so it's important to have a good posture, maintain eye contact and give a firm handshake.
Interview questions: The main part of the interview consists of the employer asking you questions about your education, responsibilities in past workplaces, and future aspirations. They may ask follow-up questions based on your responses and take notes on your answers to review later.
Your questions: When the interviewer invites you to ask questions, you have the opportunity to demonstrate the research you've done on the role, your ability to think critically, and your long-term mindset for your career. Arrive prepared with three to five thoughtful questions, adjusting as you go based on what you learn during the interview.
Concluding the interview: As the interview ends, the interviewer may walk you out, so it's a good idea to ask all your questions before you rise from your seat. As you leave, restate your interest in the position with enthusiasm, and thank them sincerely for the meeting.
Related: How to Prepare for an Interview
5. Group interview
After your initial interview with a hiring manager, you may have a group or panel interview with other members of an organisation. Depending on the position, this can range from members of the executive team to potential coworkers who you may collaborate with if you earn the position. During some group interviews, you may make a presentation to demonstrate your skills. Others are a more casual conversation structure where you ask and answer questions, similar to the initial interview.
In a group interview, you may even visit the office space and see the area where you may work if they decide to hire you. The group interview gives you the opportunity to meet more of your colleagues and determine if you're going to fit in well with the group dynamic. When multiple people are involved with the hiring process or when you're working in a highly collaborative position, a group interview can be a helpful step.
6. Additional interviews
For competitive roles or positions that require advanced qualifications, employers may request additional interviews. Having three or more interviews is more common when interviewing for executive positions or jobs where it's important to meet several people in your department. Extensive interviewing procedures can occur when there are multiple highly qualified candidates and the hiring managers are gathering more information to make the best decision about which person is best for the role.
7. Interview assessment
After the interviews conclude, the hiring manager assesses the candidates based on their performance in the interview and the quality of their overall application. Anyone who participated in a panel or individual interview meets and discusses the benefits of each candidate. Some companies have a scoring system as part of their interview process to help them rate each candidate, while others may just compare and contrast the benefits of every interview. They summarise the conversations, review notes, and consider which interview was the most promising for the position.
8. Contacting candidates
The final step to completing company interviews is contacting the candidates. Hiring managers start by contacting their first choice candidate for the position and sending them a job offer. They may provide a deadline for responding to the job offer. After the candidate accepts the position, the hiring manager may send a message to all other candidates thanking them for their participation.
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