What to Expect in Today's Job Interview
Got a job interview lined up? Congratulations! But, if you haven’t been on an interview in several years, then you are likely to see a few twists with how interviews - and the entire interview process - are conducted. You’ll want to be prepared!
More and more employers are using non-traditional interview techniques and approaches, many of which are designed to ensure they find not only the right candidate for the job, but also the right fit for the company, its culture and its staff. Check out the list of interview tactics outlined below to learn more.
Continuous advances in online video conferencing technologies have allowed hiring employers the advantage of conducting more interviews online. Using applications such as Skype, Zoom and others, hiring managers get the convenience, spontaneity and flexibility to talk to people in other regions and time zones, especially when hiring remote workers or employees for new office locations. Companies also save time and money, as they can conduct an initial interview with an applicant without committing the time and expense of having them travel to their office to meet. When a hiring manager has numerous candidates they need to screen, online video chatting enables them to accomplish this quickly and easily.
Many companies using online video conferencing for interviews expect to also get a sense of the candidate’s tech prowess and comfort level. For that reason, there is actually more preparation needed for an online video interview versus an in-person one, which we cover in our article, “Guidelines For Your Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts Video Interview.”
Different Types of Questions
While interviewers still ask the traditional questions to gather more information on your job-specific skills and experience, they are posing more questions focused on learning about your “soft” skills --- personal attributes such as teamwork, flexibility and problem-solving skills. Soft skills are considered predictors of performance and how a candidate will interact with others. To find out what your soft skills are, interviewers will ask “behavioral” questions, like asking you to describe a past situation in which you demonstrated a particular characteristic (such as creative thinking). An example of a behavioral question is, “What is the toughest challenge you have faced in your personal or work life and how did you address it?”
Interviewers also ask what are called “situational” questions in which they ask the job candidate how they would handle a hypothetical workplace situation. Examples of situational questions include “What would you do if you were asked to perform a task you've never done before?” and “What would you do if an angry and dissatisfied customer confronted you?”.
More Emphasis on the Depth of Your Company Knowledge
More than ever, interviewers want to know you have done your homework and researched the company. Possessing company knowledge demonstrates sincere interest in the job and working for that organization. More importantly, it helps the interviewer confirm that you understand what the company does, who their customers are and what type of corporate culture they embrace.
You should already know that researching the employer is the first step when preparing for a job interview, but it takes more than memorizing their mission statement. Make sure to spend time on the company website, studying up on its products or services, executive team and the latest news and events. Also, check out the company’s blog and activity on social media sites, particularly Facebook, LinkedIn, Google My Business and Twitter, to find out what topics and issues they are talking about.
Greater Focus on The Questions You Ask
Equipped with the knowledge gained from your thorough company research, you can best answer company-specific questions, but also need to have questions prepared to ask the interviewer. These days, interviewers don’t just appreciate your questions, they expect them, and they want to be asked questions that are insightful and go beyond your interest and basic knowledge. You can make a big impression by inquiring about specific expectations for the job in the initial months or asking about working relationships with other departments. You can also ask about company or community initiatives or the company’s future plans.
The questions you ask that demonstrate your competency, as well as your knowledge of and interest in the company, will give you the opportunity to separate yourself from the competition and further sell yourself as the ideal candidate.
Interviews with Various Employees
Job interviewing has become more of a process that involves multiple interviews that can take place over the phone, on the web or in person and with various staff members. The days of going on one interview and then getting hired are becoming a thing of the past.
There is the screening interview or initial phone interview with either HR or the hiring manager, the first sit-down interview with the hiring manager (your potential supervisor), and second and third interviews with potential co-workers, company executives and possibly other staff.
Interviews with Teams and Over Meals
Companies want to ensure you are a team player and someone who your potential co-workers will find likable and easy to work with. For that reason, more employers are asking prospective job candidates to meet with possible team members or other co-workers as a group and often in more social settings, such as at a restaurant. Having you meet with a team of employees, especially over a meal, will give the employer a sense of your communication and social skills in a team dynamic. They want to see how you interact with a group of people as well as one-to-one.
The interview process with a company may involve more than just interviews, so you want to be prepared to devote a sizable chunk of time to win over an employer. You may be asked to take a personality test, either at their offices or online, or to complete a mock project or work simulation.
While every employer takes their own, unique approach to conducting the job interview process, the above experiences are typical for most companies. By understanding and being prepared for what to expect when you walk into an interview, as well as presenting a professional appearance and demeanor, you will be ready to make the right impression and outshine the competition.
What Employers Most Look for in an Interview
Must-Ask Interview Questions
How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions
Talk is Cheap, Except in the Phone Interview