Interview Types: Performance Interviews

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Interview Types: Performance Interviews

By: Elizabeth Moffat
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There’s no shortage of interview formats or styles that can throw even the most experienced interviewee off their game, but if you familiarize yourself with as many of these as possible, you’ll be less likely to show up unprepared. Which is why this series is here, so you can become familiar with the multitude of interview styles you could face.

Performance Interviews

Some employers need to know that you can perform the necessary tasks on day one, and in some cases they’ll want to see your ability first hand. The interview will usually start with a typical question and answer session before you’ll be asked to complete a specific task out outline a plan to do so. While these are more common in technical roles or other jobs that require specific skills, they appear in almost every line of work. If you can’t write some code or prepare a specimen in lab, you may be asked to evaluate a business plan or prepare a short press release.

The Good

  • If you have trouble selling yourself, this can be your chance to shine: Just focus on the task at hand and complete it to the best of your ability.
  • This can be beneficial to candidates who have unorthodox experience; here it matters less how you learned a skill, and more on your ability to do it.

The Bad

  • If you exaggerated your experience or are simply out of practice, you may stumble.
  • Trying to complete a complex task under stress may not allow you to demonstrate your best abilities.
  • A mistake here could leave a bad impression – much worse than an awkward answer would.

The Helpful

  • Take a minute to clear your mind – chances are this is a task you can handle. If it helps, forget that you’re in an interview, how would you complete this if you already had the job?
  • If appropriate, thoroughly explain your thought process. This is often the most important part, and just because it’s obvious to you doesn’t mean everyone will be following along.
  • If you find yourself struggling, try something creative!

Potential Questions/Tasks

  • Working with a required coding language.
  • Writing or proofing a potential press release.
  • Outlining a basic marketing plan for a client.
  • Perform basic lab duties.

Prepare with more practice questions by visiting the Interview Question Database.

Continue reading our full series of interview type tips or visit the All About Interviews section of the OLC.

Posted on April 22, 2012