Your guide to succeeding in job interviews in the 21st Century.
Interviews are not what they used to be. Like all parts of the working world, they have responded to technology and changing views, and your parents' advice to shine your shoes, brush your hair and be yourself may simply not be enough anymore.
There was a time when applicants could predict the questions which would be asked in an interview and prepare accordingly. But new technology and developments in the thinking behind human resources have led to changes in how final stage interviews are conducted. Employers are moving away from formalised practices and taking a more subjective look at candidates, which makes them a lot less predictable.
Here's what to expect.
The Holistic Approach
Employers are becoming less concerned with where or what you studied, and are instead taking a more holistic approach to graduate employees in order to evaluate "present potential."
So what does this mean for you, the interviewee? Be prepared for more personal questions, and a relaxed atmosphere in which the standard question and answer interview format is replaced by a conversational approach. This allows employers to get a feel for your personality, more than just your ability to think on your feet.
For example, you may be asked an opening question along the lines of "So, tell me about yourself." What are they actually asking? More than just your favourite films or where you grew up, they want to know about who you are in relation to the job.
Safe avenues of response include talking about your career ambitions, briefly touching on your background and academic history and adding a sprinkling about your work experience. Answers along these lines cover all bases and give the interviewer a chance to pick up on part of your answer to carry the interview forward.
The Show and Tell Assessment
Interviews in the 21st Century look for proof that you can walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Many employers set applicants a small project or challenge as part of the application process to put their skills to the test. Occasionally, you will be asked to simply prepare a presentation on how you would approach the task, but often you will be asked to give it a real go.
It goes without saying that you should give your best effort, but if possible, try and take the extra step to approach the task creatively. The employer should provide an explanation of what they are looking for—this brief is your bible. Read it, refer to it, and make sure your response meets it.
The Digital Line
One of the biggest contributing factors to the changes in the final stage interview has been advancements in technology. Apps like Skype and Google Hangouts allow employers to hold face-to-face interviews without needing to invest as much time and money as for an in-person interview.
Employers may choose to arrange a time to Skype with you, or request that you use a programme to record yourself answering timed questions which appear on your laptop screen. So what's different between these interviews and an in-person chat? Being on camera.
You need to Daniel Day-Lewis this and be the part. Practicing will help with nagging self-conscious concerns such as what to do with your hands, where to look and making sure you don't keep touching your hair when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the corner.
Otherwise, approach video interviews like you would any other interview—be well-dressed, well-prepped and welcoming. Video interviews can even be on your terms. Plant a few sly notes with key pointers and reminders to help you with some of the tougher questions—just be subtle about it.
:The future of final interviews is nothing to be afraid of. Employers are just looking to get to know the real you, so be prepared to show them honest and positive answers, with a professional spin.