4 Common Interview Tools — and How to Prepare for Them
My daughter recently applied for a teaching position, which she landed after one interview. This wasn’t the surprising part. What was surprising is that she didn’t meet with anyone in person during the entire process. She was hired based on a video interview.
Has the hiring process evolved to the point where employers can determine after one video interview that they’ve found the best candidate? I would hope not. But my daughter’s experience illustrates how employers are trying to make the the process easier and quicker for everyone involved.
But for some candidates, these tech tools are making the interview process more difficult. Let’s take a look at a few common interview styles and tools — plus advice on how to conquer each one:
1. Telephone Interviews
A telephone interview is typically the first type of interview you will encounter before getting to the face-to-face interview. The interviewer has two main objectives here: getting your salary requirement and determining if you have the right skills to do the job. You should also prepare for more difficult situational and behavioral questions.
Telephone interviews are becoming more numerous, and it’s not uncommon for candidates to participate in three or more telephone interviews throughout the course of a single hiring process.
2. Pre-Interview Assessments
Interviewers aren’t infallible, especially when it comes to assessing a candidate’s personality, cognitive skills, and technical abilities. To solve this problem, more and more companies are employing pre-interview assessments. Some of the things these assessments commonly test for include:
- Integrity: Many employers use assessments to help flag dishonest, unreliable, or undisciplined applicants.
- Cognitive Ability: Some assessments measure a candidate’s general mental capacity, which is strongly correlated with job performance. These tests generally assess logical, verbal, and numerical reasoning.
- Personality: Assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and DISC are commonly used to determine a candidate’s potential cultural fit.
- Emotional Intelligence: Certain assessments aim to evaluate how well an applicant builds relationships and understands emotions, both their own and others’.
- Job-Related Knowledge/Hard Skills: These assessments are typically given during interviews. Engineers, technical trainers, teachers, and others who must perform specific, highly technical tasks as part of their jobs often take such assessments.
3. Electronic Interviews
Think: Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangout, etc. Employers use these platforms to save time and, ultimately, money. Plus, they allow interviewers to see your facial expressions and body language.
To succeed at a digital interview, candidates must remember to:
- demonstrate enthusiasm through their answers and body language;
- dress as though attending a face-to-face interview;
- perfect all the technical components of the interview setting, such as lighting, sound, and background;
- and look at the webcam, not at the interviewer(s). Looking at the interviewer on your screen will make it seem like you’re not making eye contact.
Electronic interviews occasionally take the place of a final, in-person interview — which is all the more reason for candidates to take them seriously.
4. Pre-Recorded Video Interviews
Not all electronic interviews are live. In a pre-recorded video interview, the candidate is given a number of questions to answer in a certain amount of time. The candidate records short video answers to each question. The employer or recruiter can then review the candidate’s answers on their own time. At no point in the process do the candidate and employer interact live.
My clients who have participated in pre-recorded video interviews say it’s like talking to a wall. This might be a bit unnerving, but don’t let it rattle you. Have you ever practiced answering interview questions while looking in the mirror? Think of the pre-recorded video interview as the same kind of thing, and you’ll be fine.
One more thing: Look at your computer’s webcam while answering the questions, just as you would for a Skype interview.
While my daughter has had some experience with today’s hiring techniques, many of my clients who haven’t had to look for work in the past two decades are caught off guard by the recruiting technology employers now use. If you’re looking for work for the first time in many years, be prepared for what companies will throw at you.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.