Returning to the job market in 2018? Here’s what you need to know about interviews

If you haven’t been in the market to find a job for a while, you may find that the job interview process has changed quite a bit. Companies have evolved their hiring processes to find the best candidates in a more competitive job market, and technology now plays an integral role.

“You may be asked to meet with senior staff and direct reports, as well as other stakeholders, either one at a time, or as a panel, so you need to be prepared for a range of interview scenarios.”

Here we outline the four most important changes and provide some useful tips to help prepare you for your next interview:

  1. Expect longer interviews and more interview rounds
    For those who haven’t been to an interview in a while, you might find that the interview process is more involved than it has been in the past, says Paul Hallam, Founding Director and CEO at Six Degrees Executive.

    “Companies have learned the hard way that choosing the wrong person for the job can be costly, so they are investing more time and energy in the interview process to get it right from the start.”

    According to Paul, it is more likely that you will be asked to meet more people and attend more interview rounds than you were in the past.

    “You may be asked to meet with senior staff and direct reports, as well as other stakeholders, either one at a time, or as a panel, so you need to be prepared for a range of interview scenarios.”

    Tips for success:
  • Find out in advance who you will be meeting with and do your research on each person so you can tailor your responses appropriately and find common ground to build rapport.
  • If meeting more than one person, remember to make eye contact with each person in the room.
  • Make sure you research the company and be ready to explain why you want to work there – every company has a website these days so there is no excuse not to do your background research.
  • Be ready with a list of questions.
  1. More focus on your behaviour and work style
    Cultural fit is far more important to employers than ever before, says Paul. “As such, there is now more of an emphasis on questions about your work style and behaviour, as well as questions about your technical capabilities.”

    According to Paul, the interview style is now more informal and engaging, so you need to prepare for a mix of behaviour-style questions, which require you to describe specific examples of events that demonstrate your competence.

    Tips for success:
    Paul says one of the most effective ways of answering behaviour-style questions is to use a technique called STAR. In a nutshell, STAR is an acronym for:  
  • Situation: where you describe the overall context of a specific workplace project, role or circumstance.
  • Task: where you explain briefly what your individual involvement was in that situation.
  • Action: where you outline how you responded to the challenge or situation.
  • Result: where you describe the outcome or result from your contribution to the problem or task.

Paul says using STAR can help you to break down how you approached a specific situation and provide a tangible illustration of the experience and skill set you have to match the role you’re applying for.

  1. You may be invited to a video or Skype interview 
    These days it is far more common for businesses to incorporate video or Skype interviews into the interview process, especially in the early stages.

    Tips for success:
    Paul says you should approach a video or Skype interview just as you would a face-to-face interview by being prepared and well rested. Other things you can do to prepare, include:
  • Choosing an appropriate setting with no distractions
  • Making sure there are no technical issues that could disrupt the video interview
  • Practice using Skype with a friend

Remember, dressing appropriately is just as important in a video interview as it is in a face-to-face interview, so make sure you are dressed to impress.

  1. You may be asked to complete a psychometric assessment  
    According to Paul, now that these tests can be administered online, organisations are increasingly using psychometric assessments to identify characteristics that can be hard to confirm in an interview. They include both abilities assessments (or aptitude tests) and personality profiles.

    While sitting a psychometric test may seem daunting, it is important to remember that these assessments are only one part of a broader evaluation to find the best person for the job.

    Tips for success:
  • Finding out in advance which tests are going to be administered and what the format is
  • Do some practice tests online
  • Play word games, brainteasers and crossword puzzles
  • For personality assessments, be honest and try to complete all of the questions.“If you are authentic in your approach to these tests, this will likely shine through,” Paul adds.

While the job interview process may seem more laborious these days, you should treat each interview stage as an opportunity to showcase why you are the best person for the role. If you have done your homework, are authentic and ready to give some clear examples about your contribution and impact in previous roles, you are sure to stand out from the crowd.