Interviewing

The People You Might Meet in an Interview

January 12, 2021

During the interview process, it's common to meet a variety of people with different roles and responsibilities in the hiring process. Before you're hired, you may be interviewed by the HR manager, hiring manager, company executives and your future coworkers. The purpose of these interviews is to ensure you will be a good fit for both the organization and your team.

The five people you might meet in an interview

Learning more about the different people you may meet during an interview will help you better prepare for this stage in the hiring process.

1. Job recruiter

A company's job recruiter is likely the first person you may come in contact with when applying for a job. Recruiters actively search for and onboard new employees.

Recruiters also often post new jobs with details and requirements from hiring managers about their needs. Job recruiters also spend the majority of their time searching sources for applicants, such as employment agencies and online job search sites.

Job recruiters also typically review applications and pass those on that fit the requirements for hiring managers to decide who should move on to the next stage. They might also perform phone screens with strong applicants before they move them onto the hiring manager.

2. Human resources manager

Depending on the company, your first interview might be conducted by an HR manager. This initial interview or screening can be much different than other interviews and typically involves high-level questions that validate your qualifications.

The HR manager will likely ask you a variety of questions to make sure you're a good fit for the position. Normally, the manager will want to know why you're interested in the job. The purpose of this question is to screen out people that aren't enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Generally, you will also be asked to provide a brief synopsis of your professional background. When answering this question, you should focus on your related job experience and achievements. They may also ask pay-related questions in a screening to ensure your requirements fit within their budgeted salary for the role.

Other questions that you may be asked during an HR interview include:

3. Hiring manager

The size of the company will generally determine how many people you meet during an interview. In a small company, for example, the hiring manager might be responsible for the entire interview process, meaning they're the only person that you'll meet before you're hired.  

In larger companies, the hiring manager is the most important person you will meet during the interview process. The hiring manager is the person who will typically be your actual supervisor if you are hired, so making a good impression is important.

To ensure you're a good fit for the position, your hiring manager may interview you multiple times. Usually, they'll conduct a phone interview first. The phone interview will typically cover many of the same topics as your interview with the HR manager.

If the phone interview goes well, you'll probably be asked to meet with the hiring manager in person. This interview will be more in-depth than previous interviews and can cover everything from your work experience to your motivations and preferred management style. If all goes well, they will ask you back for a second or final interview. 

4. Executives

If you're asked back for a second or final interview, you might also be interviewed by one or more of the organization’s executives. This occurs almost exclusively in small to mid-size businesses. Companies ask candidates to interview with executives as a sort of final sign-off to ensure you are a good fit from an experiential and cultural standpoint.

Interviews in the final stages can last up to an entire day, so you should be prepared to take as much time as necessary to complete the process. Managers and executives could ask you the same questions you were asked in your first interview, so take some time to fine-tune your responses.

You should also consider whether there was something you forgot to say in your first interview or if there was a question that you struggled to answer. Because second interviews tend to be longer, you should be prepared to expand on the reasons why you would be a good fit for the job. You should also prepare several thoughtful questions for the executives about their role, their vision for the company and more.

Here are several tips for how to succeed in a second job interview.

5. Potential coworkers

While organizations can have a certain culture, there is also a culture within a team that supports teamwork and efficient operations. These interviews allow your future coworkers to understand whether your skills and personality will work well within the team. This is also a good opportunity for you to better understand whether or not you would enjoy working on the team.

While meeting with coworkers can be less formal than an interview with a manager or an executive, you should still take time to prepare for their questions. As part of their decision, the hiring manager will usually question your prospective colleagues about their thoughts on your interview. In addition to your future teammates, you may also be introduced to managers and teams in other departments that you may need to work with over the course of your employment.

Not only will your potential coworkers ask questions about you, but you'll also be allowed to ask them questions about the job and work environment. Here are a few other tips for interviewing with future coworkers:

  • Be kind and polite to everyone. Treat everyone you encounter with respect to make a good impression.

  • Practice humility with confidence. No one likes to work with someone who's overly braggy or boastful. While you do want to communicate your strengths and experience, do so with humility.

  • Be yourself. People value authenticity, particularly in their coworkers. While you do want to remain professional, it's important to present your unique traits and qualities.

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