Prepare to ROCK the New Interview

6 08 2013

keep-calm-and-rock-your-interview

Things change.  Companies adopt new ways of interviewing their potential employees.  This has become very apparent in recent history with the implementation of technology.  I’m not saying that you won’t be called in for a face to face interview just like your parents and their parents…I’m just saying that it’s becoming less likely that an in-person interview will happen first.

The new interview consists of all sorts of things like video, case studies, and group interaction.  I had the opportunity recently to speak with a recruiter from a multinational organization who shared that their company sometimes brings in candidates to work on a teambuilding activity.  While it seems fun and lighthearted for the participants, the recruiters are actually assessing them on their leadership skills.  Yes, the traditional interview looks a little different these days.

Today’s interview includes that wonderful piece of technology we call the telephone…even more today.  In many cases, the first interview or interviews will be conducted over the phone or through some type of video.  Why do they do this?  It’s cost-effective, it levels the playing field, and it’s easier to bring in all the people necessary for the conversation.

Gone are the days of standard interviews.  You probably won’t be asked what your greatest weakness is (hint: if they do ask, it’s not chocolate or working too much – both very real answers from real candidates!) or what three people you’d have dinner with if you could pick them from any time in history.  Okay…maybe some of those questions are still being asked.  It just won’t come from me.  I promise.

They’re not looking for a warm body to fill the seat anymore.  Like Jim Collins said (I’m paraphrasing): “we want the right people on the bus in the right seats!”  Leaders – that’s what companies today are looking for.  They’re using the technique of behavioral interviewing to determine whether or not the candidate is a culture fit as well as a skills match.  What does a behavioral interview question look like?  See below.

Behavioral interview question: How do you handle a challenge? Give an example. 

Pssstt!  Can I tell you a secret?  They’re not asking for a generic response like this:

“Well, we had this group project in school and the person that volunteered to be the leader never showed up to do their part.  So, I stepped in, worked all night and we got an ‘A’.” 

They’re looking for a response like this (hint: use the STAR method: Specific situation, task at hand, action you took, result achieved):

“During my time as project leader for Enactus, I was faced with the challenge of empowering someone in need, using an entrepreneurial approach to find real solutions so that the individual may increase their standard of life and way of living.  This was achieved through a project called…

My team and I assessed the situation, identified the needs (give example of need) and helped teach the individual the skills necessary for them to get out of the current system.  Today, that individual has started their own business, providing for their family and even employing three other individuals who can now help their families.”

By the way, have I mentioned Enactus recently?  I work for this fantastic organization.  To sum up what we do:  We enable progress through entrepreneurial action.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an entrepreneur or even business student to be part of the Enactus team on your college campus.  The organization is open to any college student, any major, any year in school.  For more information and to see if there’s an Enactus team on your campus, please visit www.enactusunitedstates.org.  It’s a great way to gain some serious leadership skills, project management expertise and business acumen.  Check it out.

Here’s how YOU can ROCK the new interview:

Research.  Do the research.  This is your homework.  Every employer I talk to state the lack of preparation as one of the major reasons why the candidate fails in the interview.  Do the research.  Know the company.  Use Bing, Google, everything within reach to understand the company’s history, culture, brands, headquarters and office locations (this is one area overlooked by many job seekers) and more.  You have more technology available to you than any other generation in history.  Use it to your advantage!

Outfit.  Growing up, I had a teacher that referred to dressing up as “wearing his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes.”  Simply put, he dressed to impress.  The interview (even via phone) requires you to dress your best.  I’m not talking about high fashion necessarily, but rather a clean, IRONED business suit.  Don’t have a suit?  Borrow a jacket and tie from a friend or family member.  They’d love to help you succeed.  Click here for a great article on simple, yet successful business attire.  You don’t have to go broke to dress the part for the interview.  I mentioned that even a phone interview requires your best.  Research has found that candidates who dress the part are more confident and comfortable vs. those that don’t dress in interview appropriate attire.  It does matter.  Don’t forget to wear your smile, too!

Curiosity.  I wrote last week about this topic.  Come to the interview with curiosity.  Better yet, come with questions!  This is another one of the pain points brought to my attention by some of the best recruiters in the business.  When the time comes to ask the interviewer questions, the candidate typically falls short.  Be curious.  Ask the tough questions.  No, I’m not talking about salary or benefits.  Please NEVER ask those questions in your first interview!  Believe me, when it’s time, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to discuss these topics.  Ask questions like this: “What skills are most important to succeed in this company or this position?”  More awesome interview questions to ask here.

Kindness.  Kindness can go a long  way.  The job search can be frustrating!  Ever “bite the head off” someone just for the way they were looking at you?  Me neither… But, what I’m trying to say is that we all get it.  Life is tough.  This is your chance to be a bright spot in someone’s day, not the worst part.  It’s almost sad that I have to mention this, but it’s important to be nice.  Nice guys don’t finish last…they finish right.  Smile at people.  Be enthusiastic about the job you’re interviewing for.  Don’t take yourself so seriously.  Lighten up.  Ask people how you can help them (note: be able to actually help them…know your limits) and do it.  Kindness always comes full circle.  I promise.

Still need a few really good interview tips?  Here’s one from my friends at US News & World Report:  3 Novel Things You Must Do During Interview Prep.    Video interview coming up?  Here’s an excellent article from my friends at CAREEREALISM: Skype Interviews: What You Need to Know.  Also, check out these amazing articles from the awesome folks at YouTern: Recruiters Reveal Their 6 Toughest Interview Questions and The 5 Best Interview Tips…Ever.

Now, go out and ROCK your interview!

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6 08 2013
Prepare to ROCK the New Interview | Career Info Headlines

[…] Read the article at campus-to-career.com […]

1 09 2015
Blow Your Interviewer Away: Smooth Responses To Simple Questions | Campus To Career

[…] package that lies ahead. Well, it’s not easy to face an interviewer’s barrage of questions, but with adequate preparation, you can definitely increase your chances of […]

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