January 30, 2019

The Evolution of the Interview

Traditional face-to-face interviews are out the door. But that’s how most people prepare when on their Engaged Pursuit.  Not anymore!

When perspective clients contact me, most immediately say they need help updating their resume.  “I need to find something new – can you help me with my resume?” or “I’ve decided to leave this company after 12 years and my resume hasn’t been updated since the Bush administration.”

My question back – “Got it … so tell me about yourself?” 

Most perspective clients go into panic mode. I can tell from the tone in their voice (or their immediate sigh when thinking about their response).  Most perspective clients go into “history mode” talking first about where they graduated from college and then regurgitating their resume line-by-line (in most cases for 20 mins).

Sound familiar?

I’m very intentional about asking this “So tell me about yourself” question with perspective clients.  I think it’s important to showcase, right away, that foundational work (what I call your “Professional Story”) is needed before we even touch the resume.  Light bulbs usually go off with clients who hear themselves answer this question as well – they know after the first two minutes that additional work is needed beyond the resume.

But the work isn’t complete with the Professional Story or resume refresh.  I’ve found that MOST of the work actually comes when clients get ready to hit the pavement – interviewing with individuals and companies, whether it be casual or more formal.

Similar to assuming the resume is the foundation of an Engaged Pursuit, clients often assume the interview is a single event where they have to perform at 110% to impress the hiring team.  That’s not the case anymore – organizations are creative in their approach and have numerous touch-points with candidates before decisions are made.

If you’re thinking of starting your Engaged Pursuit or are already well on your path to something new, here’s what you can expect from the interview process:

Completion of Candidate Profile:  Many organizations now are requiring candidates to complete a profile in their Candidate Management System (CMS).  This can be tricky, since this profile can be used for multiple job opportunities over an extended period of time.  Salary expectations are also required in many cases, often throwing candidates for an immediate loop.  I work closely with clients early in this process to make sure they’re set-up for success from the start – it’s super important as you can imagine!

Phone/Video Conferencing:  Whether it be Skype, Teams, Blue Jeans, or Zoom … organizations are using technology to talk to candidates early in the process.  One of my newest products is the “Video Conference” prep session, where I put clients through the ringer with this type of technology (and format). Not sure how you’re coming across on Zoom?  Not sure how to use the white-board functionality on Skype?  Now is the time to make sure you’re prepared.

Case Studies/Writing Samples/Homework:  Because of the fierce competition in sectors like Tech, companies often use case studies and/or writing samples to help tip the final decision one way or another. In some cases, organizations may ask candidates about a particular situation (“Write about a time when you had to convince your manager of something and what happened”) or their approach to a hypothetical scenario (“What steps would you take to ensure your project was completed on-time and with quality?”). These types of questions, especially with answers in the written form, can be really scary to clients. Good thing I was Editor-in-Chief for my high school newspaper!

Portfolio Review:  Some companies might want to see your work in action.  Publications. White Papers. Marketing Decks. Client examples.  You name it.  This might be a part of your interview, so be prepared to showcase your work to anyone from the Recruiter to Hiring Manager.  Answering questions like “Why did you approach your work this way?” or “What were the results of this campaign?” are often part of this type of interview.

In-Person Experience:  Again, most people plan for this type of interview.  But I’ve even found that these have changed significantly over the past couple years.  From white-boarding sessions, to interview panels, to walking conversations around the city block … clients are experiencing a lot of diversity when face-to-face with perspective teams.

The Offer Review:  I’ve had a few clients who have been asked to sit-down and review the offer with a perspective team … can you imagine??!?! Talk about putting someone on the spot! These conversations can be tricky and are now part of the interview mix. No more hiding behind email when negotiating an offer!

Your homework this week: Think about the various elements of the (new) interview process.  I bet you’re ready for one (the In-Person experience), but are you ready for all 6? What if you were asked to complete a Case-Study – would you even know where to start?  Figure out your biggest gaps (and potential fears) and let me know if you want some help. Clients have told me that a quick hour or two can go a long way here!

Coming-up next time:  It’s almost the end of the month, and it’s time to highlight my favorite Book, Article, TEDTalk and Podcast (BATP) for January 2019!  You won’t want to miss out on these great resources!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

Tom Perry's Signature

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