1. Know your interviewer

The driving principle behind job interview prep should be: who is the person that this employer will want to hire? So therefore, who is the person doing the hiring? And what, specifically, are they looking for?

In corporate companies, the job interview will usually be conducted by the hiring manager accompanied by HR.

The manager will ask the job-specific questions, and will be looking for someone who can do the job quickly or immediately, and also for team-fit (as well as someone who will contribute to their success). HR will be looking at you as a long-term investment for the company. They will test your transferable skills and competencies, and hunt out any potential weaknesses.

If several positions are to be filled, or the employer is being very thorough, you may be invited to participate in a multi-stage job interview process, or an assessment centre.

A multi-stage job interview may include a series of job-related activities tested by different people in different rooms over the space of a day or a half-day. An assessment centre is usually a whole day of tests and activities, including psychometrics, aptitude tests, team exercises (to show off your team-working and leadership skills) and a formal interview.

For higher level positions, you may be sift-interviewed by a general manager and HR – only short-listed candidates will meet the hiring director.

In small companies, the Managing Director will usually do the hiring, and may not have HR to support him or her. In this situation, the format of the job interview really depends on the character and experience of the individual, and this is often the most unpredictable kind of interview.

For an academic position, especially if it is a sponsored or funded position, you may meet a combination of the head (or faculty head) of the academic institution, along with someone who represents the funding authority.