A new year has begun! What better time to dust off those interview skills and take stock of what tactics should be applied in 2014.
Just like we did with old and new school resume writing approaches, we’ll walk through the aspects of going for a job interview and compare what traditional and modern techniques you can apply (or avoid!).
Old School: Candidate must impress the employer.
New School: Two-way conversation to determine if it’s a good fit for both the candidate and the employer.
OUR VERDICT: This isn’t so much a tactic as it is a mindset. Gone are the days where a job seeker’s sole goal is to win an employer’s favour. It’s time to adopt a modern mindset and treat jobs interviews as a two-conversation. The interview is your chance to assess whether the company and the role available is a good match for your career progression. Remember, it’s not about saying what you think they want to hear to land the job; being honest about who you are and what you want
Old School: Company and interviewer research; prepare copies of resume and portfolio items.
New School: The above.. but digital.
OUR VERDICT: Interview preparation and what you bring with you to the interview is really more personal preference. The more important point to make here is to make sure you DO IT! Do you research into the company, your interviewers, any recent industry and company news. Also make sure you have copies of your resume, references and any relevant portfolio items on-hand. And when we say “on-hand”, this can also mean having a digital portfolio on your tablet.
INTERVIEW ETIQUETTE AND ATTIRE
Old School: Formal and Conservative.
New School: Business Casual / Less Formal.
OUR VERDICT: When it comes to interview etiquette and attire, we recommend erring on the more traditional and conservative side. Even if you know a company’s culture is extremely casual and everyone wears jeans and tshirts, still aim to dress that one level above for a first interview. And remember, first impressions count. Try to avoid being on your phone while you wait for an interview (and definitely during!), stand up to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and don’t cut off people when they speak.
Old School: Technical & Brainteasers.
New School: Behavioural.
OUR VERDICT: We’ve all heard the famous Google brainteaser interview questions like “How many golf balls can fit into an airplane?” But even Google has admitted that brainteasers are a waste of time and only behavioural interview questions are the only type of questions that help predict performance. Behavioural interview questions are the ones that start off like “Give me an example of..”, “Tell me about a time when…” They require candidates to recount situations and examples of past behaviour. We suggest having a catalogue of stories you can tell that exemplify some common themes such as problem solving, performance under pressure and high achievement. But it’s not all about behavioural. Expect to answer some traditional questions like “Tell me about yourself” and technical skills-based questions.
INTERVIEW FOLLOW UP
Old School: Hand-written note
New School: Email
OUR VERDICT: Call us old-fashioned but we really enjoy the personal touch of a handwritten note. Email is perfectly acceptable, as is a phone call. But there’s just something about a card that seems extra considerate. And before you disregard this as “old wives’ tale” type advice, our own President, Cam Macmillan, has long been a note-writer and both his clients and candidates enjoy receiving the personal touch. By no means do we recommend ALL you communication be by snail mail, but this one touch after an interview is neat icing on the cake.