Pre-recorded videos, Skype, puzzles and groups of candidates. Everyone gets nervous before a job interview, but the techniques companies are now using to select staff are varied. The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ remain the same as ever: don't get flustered, don't panic, dress well and be a little daring but not too much. But there’s a trick to each type of interview.
Telephone interviews are usually the first step and may (or may not) open the door to a second, more complete interview - perhaps in person, perhaps not. But even over the phone it is important to prepare just as much as you would for a face-to-face interview.
And more and more companies are using Skype interviews to find new employees, especially as a first interview which will perhaps lead to an interview in person. Appearance is a factor in the Skype transaction, so you need to choose the right look and make sure the devices you are using are working properly. Prepare in advance: check the lighting, so you are ready to go and can definitely be seen in your on-screen debut.
The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ remain the same as ever: don't get flustered, don't panic, dress well and be a little daring but not too much. But there’s a trick to each type of interview.
Other employers prefer pre-recorded video interviews, a practice that is becoming an increasingly popular way to hire. The candidate is asked to answer certain questions that the recruiter gives to them in advance, recording their responses on a webcam or smartphone. It is your one chance to express yourself beyond what is on your CV and to show your personality, who you are beyond the “traditional” skills. Leading video recruitment company, Visiotalent, offers some advice in this regard: choose a comfortable and professional environment for your video, test your devices in advance, keep it concise and to the point and choose the right outfit.
Another type of interview is the case interview, which is increasingly common at startups and innovative companies: the employer sets a business problem or technical challenge for you to do on the spot or at home. You then discuss it in person and offer a solution. In certain sectors - such as writing or engineering - you may instead be asked to perform a task you would likely be required to do if you got the job. Closing a sale, for example.
The big tech companies - Google, for example - have instead been known to set brainteasers or crosswords. In these so-called puzzle interviews, you do not necessarily need to know the answer. What the company really wants to see is how you reach a possible solution. In other words, it's a test of your soft skills.
In addition to the various types of interview, there are also different “stages” to get through before you’ll be hired. But it is not a given that you will be the only candidate in an interview.
In addition to the various types of interview, there are also different “stages” to get through before you’ll be hired. The first is a get-to-know-you interview, allowing the recruiter the chance to understand who the person they are interviewing is, beyond their professional skills and qualifications. It is in fact common for the HR department to conduct this interview - even if there are no vacancies at the time, in order to build a database of profiles for the future. If that interview goes well, you go through to the second stage. If your first-stage interview was with an agency, the second-stage interview is the first opportunity you have to meet the company itself. This stage involves going into more detail on the position, the type of work you will go on to do and also salary. At times, a third job interview may be necessary, especially if the vacancy is very high up in the company and there are several candidates.
But it is not a given that you will be the only candidate in an interview. Group interviews also exist. This is where you participate alongside other candidates. They are often used to understand your ability to work in a team. A natural leadership ability and listening skills, teamwork and the ability to adjust your ideas to meet those of others or support your own are all characteristics that employers regard highly.