Ace the Job Interview Process

Mitchell-Job Interview Process February 23, 2024 By: Barbara Mitchell

For those who have been out of the job market for a while, the thought of interviewing can feel overwhelming, especially as technology has changed how it’s done. A career expert shares her tips for nailing the interview process.

Q: It’s been a long time since I looked for a job, and I feel totally unprepared for the interview process. For example, how do I present myself and successfully navigate a virtual interview? Can you help me with some tips on how to navigate this new world of interviewing?

A: Before we focus on the technology, no matter how you’re being interviewed, you need to be prepared to present yourself to your prospective employer. That involves understanding what the organization is seeking (e.g., skills, abilities, knowledge, experience) and having well-crafted examples of how your background and skill set has prepared you for the job. Do this by dissecting the job posting and matching your skills and abilities to their job requirements.

Now let’s talk about different interview formats.

Screening interviews. This is usually the first contact you will have with the organization. After the recruiter or hiring manager has seen your resume or application, they will want to know more before they schedule a hiring interview. These interviews are 30 to 45 minutes in length and are done by phone or a platform like Zoom. You will likely be asked about why you are in the job market and why you are interested in their position, when you might be available to start if you are selected, and what your salary expectations are.

Virtual interviews. If you are interviewing on Zoom or some other tool, dress as if you are interviewing in person. Check to see that the lighting is good or reposition your device to that you have strong light in front of you—whether natural or artificial. While you can do interviews on your computer or any mobile device, if possible, schedule your interview at a time when you can be at your desk so that you can have your resume, the job posting, and any notes you have at hand.

Panel interviews. If you are being interviewed by a panel of people—whether online or in person—the key to success is to look at and listen carefully to the person asking the question. When it is your turn to answer, start by looking directly at that person, but as you are answering, let your eyes connect with the other panel members so they stay engaged in your response. Try to end your comments by looking back at the questioner. Panel interviews can be tricky, but if you listen carefully and do your best to engage everyone while delivering your response, you will do well.

No matter the interview format, preparation is key.

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book, and her latest The Decisive Manager. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer? Send it to