3 New Job Interviewing Techniques and How To Prepare For Them

CEO of Betterworks Kris Duggan says that that employees today are searching for environments that allow them to grow and learn but also move quickly and in an innovative manner; the flip side of that is that employers have been creating new interview processes to match.
10/26/2015 05:40 pm ET Updated Oct 26, 2016
African American woman taking an interview of a woman
African American woman taking an interview of a woman

By: Lauren deLisa Coleman

New times call for new approaches to hiring, and you may need to adjust -- fast.

CEO of Betterworks Kris Duggan says that that employees today are searching for environments that allow them to grow and learn but also move quickly and in an innovative manner; the flip side of that is that employers have been creating new interview processes to match.

Michael DeVine, Chief Strategy Officer of JSA Advising explains: "One of the biggest trends that we see is companies realizing that existing interviewing procedures are not effective at all. A recent Forbes Magazine study shows that only 49% of new hires eventually work out, and at the average cost of $25,000 to train and hire an employee, they literally cannot afford to keep hiring the wrong people. The same study showed that 90% of those failures are not because of skill but rather personality conflicts, emotional issues, and poor person company fit. To combat this, companies are now hiring firms like ours to address this issue and develop new procedures that focus on getting information about a person that gets at who they are as a person."

Projects

Sharon DeLay at BoldlyGo Career & Human Resource Management comments, "We are seeing more companies asking for projects/presentations in the interview process. So we help them set up a project that would mimic something a candidate would do on the job; then the candidate must prepare a presentation in response. The project parameters are not overly prescriptive, as we want to see the candidate's thought process and 'figure it out' factor, as well."

Video presentations

But methodology of interview style is changing as well. Video interviews are definitely gaining traction. "Not Skype interviews," explains Rasheen Carbin,
co-founder and CMO of nspHire, "but video presentations that can easily be shared via email or cloud storage like Google Drive or DropBox." This means that not only do a job applicant's presentation skills need to be stellar but also that all software and versions need to be up-to-date.

Many, many in-person interviews

The traditional in-person interviews can now take an interesting turn. "Assuming the candidate is good, we invite them back for another 2 - 3 hour session, including a one-on-one interview with my co-founder, a one-on-one interview with our senior project manager to assess their working style and ability to execute, and a one-on-one interview with the department head or product manager with whom the candidate will be working," explains John Lyotier, co-founder of Yo. "All of the above is relatively normal recruiting process, but here is where I think we differ. After the 3 above interviews, we open up the door and let any other employee come and ask questions and do a culture fit interview. The last go-around, every employee took advantage of this and sat down with the candidates, typically funneling in and out for about an hour. For us, personality and attitude are more important than experience. While at the end of the day, the final decision rests with myself and my partner, the ability to get everyone's input and ensuring that there is a good cultural fit is critical to us to find great people to join our award-winning team. Everyone is given a veto if they think the person would not fit within the culture."

And the results?

"Though candidates accuse the firms of trying to mine their candidates for ideas this new approach has at least two advantages," comments Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break into Tech:

1) It gives candidates a real taste of the work and a chance to show off their true skills (as opposed to solving brain-teasers, an older tech tradition);

2) It levels the playing field for candidates who might be highly qualified but just not amazing at in-person interviews.

Candidate's POV

The process can be a deeply insightful one for the right candidate. Job-seeker Robert Gaines says, "I just went through a job hunt where I interviewed with about 6 firms. Several used Skype, and two used in-house tele-presence systems for group interviews. I thought that the telepresence solutions worked very well, as it gave the employer an opportunity for an entire team to talk to me, even when they were separated by many states. Also, in these conferences, you can see then entire person, so you have a good gauge for reading body language. The Skype interviews were good, but limited in that you are only seeing their heads, so as such, can't gauge their reactions very well, and likewise, I'm not certain that they could read mine as well. In addition, as Skype is free, it somewhat diminishes the impact, whereas the other solutions make you feel like you are working for a company that has some muscles behind their infrastructure. It makes a good impression, especially as I am in the IT industry."

Gaines was asked to do a project right then and there: "One of the new twists for the interview process was an unannounced practical examination for one of the more technical positions I was applying to. After spending an hour on the phone discussing technical solutions to scenarios, they then announced that I would be getting a link in my email to a online file share that had files and documents for me to read and come to a technical analysis. They provided a security scenario, files for me to analyze . . . and I had to generate a report -- in 24 hours. While I thought it was novel, I was not in a position to take a practical examination on the spot due to an engagement I already had lined up. When I stated such, the interview ended. Novel, but not the type of employer I want to work for. It would be different if their intentions were listed up front."

Preparing for the unexpected: Back to basics

So what is a basic strategy regardless of the interview style and approach? Marketing analyst and researcher of employment habits Rebecca Brooks has some recommendations that may sound familiar: "Be clear on your strengths. If you like to challenge the status quo and be creative, focus on how that benefits the company and their position in particular. Don't mask your personality; rather, find ways to make your personality and working style an asset to the company. It is a competitive market and employers are looking for someone that will add value to the organization. Know, prior to the interview, how your style and skills will specifically benefit them."

In other words, remember who you are, no matter what gets thrown at you in the process of finding your next job.

Lauren deLisa Coleman is a digi-cultural trend analyst and author. She is a contributor to Daily Beast, an on-air commentator for MSNBC, and a professional speaker.

This article originally appeared on Savvy, a pocket recruiter for busy, professional women.