4 ways job interviews are different now

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It’s no secret that the hiring market has been evolving and changing over the years. Many of the practices and interviewing processes we familiarized ourselves with growing up are now outdated and irrelevant.

With a global pandemic causing a major shift in just about every aspect of our lives, especially in the job world, it’s safe to say that there are more changes to come.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that what were once considered valuable skills and experience may be less and less important when it comes to determining success.

“If we accept the fact that jobs are going to be disrupted and replaced, and 80% of the jobs you will find in 2030 or 2040 don’t exist today, and there is a devaluation of expertise and knowledge, then you have to bet on things like curiosity, learning ability, people skills and motivation,” Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, chief talent scientist at ManpowerGroup said.

That being said, what does a typical job interview look like these days?

There may not be one consistent answer. However, we have noticed a few changes emerge that seem like they’re here to stay. Here are 5 ways your job interviews might be different now.

1. Initial interviews happen over video

Even prior to COVID-19, we saw this trend showing up in many companies’ hiring processes. Video technology makes it easier to weed out potential job candidates without having to schedule out a significant amount of time for an in-person interview.

Platforms such as Google Hangout, Skype and Zoom make this technology easily accessible and free for everyone to use — something that wasn’t possible in the past.

In 2020, this technology has become not just convenient but essential, as many companies have moved into work from home and no longer meet in person at all.

In some ways, this means hiring managers can schedule a lot more interviews over video and you may have more competition.

Recruiter and career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine suggests not waiting until the last minute to prepare, especially if you haven’t had a video interview in a while.

“Make sure you know how to use the more common technologies, and practice interviewing on video specifically – it’s different than live or phone,” she said.

2. You may be tested

A common practice in many interview processes is to ask for an example of your work. Most companies don’t just want to take your word for what you can do — they want you to prove it.

Indeed.com says that these tests help employers to eliminate job candidates that may be under-qualified for a position or better suited for something else.

These tests could look different depending on what an employer is looking for — they could test for skills, cognitive ability, or even personality type. An employer may ask you to take an actual test online or turn in a work sample based on an assignment they give you.

Either way, be prepared to set aside some time and show a potential employer what you’ve got.

3. You have to do your research

It’s always a good idea to go into a job interview with some knowledge about the company you’re interviewing with. Now more than ever though, there’s really no excuse to go in blind.

It’s easy to google a company and find out their mission, goals, company culture, and more. You can even usually find the name of the hiring manager or director you’ll be interviewing with ahead of time to address them in your email or cover letter.

Doing your research not only looks impressive to potential employers but allows you to customize your responses appropriately for the job you’re interviewing.

Monster Jobs suggests researching a few key things before your interview: the company’s mission, recent achievements, your interviewers, and yourself (more on this one later).
Social media could be more important than your resume
These days, almost everyone has social media. Hiring managers know this. And they will look you up on social platforms — and we don’t just mean on LinkedIn.

How you represent yourself online tells potential employers a lot about how you may fit in at their company. Expect them to do their research on you ahead of time to weed out any potential issues.

If there’s something you don’t want a hiring manager to see, either remove it or fix your privacy settings. Ceniza-Levine suggests setting up a Google Alert on your name, so you can be prepared to answer any questions that may come up regarding your internet presence.

4. Cultural fit is more important than it used to be — and also harder to define

In the past, it seems like skill set and experience were the most important things an employer looked at during the interview process. However, the buck no longer stops there.

Many employers now want to know that you’ll fit into their company culture and, in some cases, add to it.

Co-founder and CEO of Boxed, Chieh Huang, said he can usually tell in the first 10-15 minutes of an interview if someone is a good cultural fit. He does this by asking people to tell him their story, without saying anything that’s listed on their resume.

“Selfishly, I just don’t want to spend it with folks I don’t like,” he said.

You can add company culture to your research list, but that may be harder to define with remote work. You don’t have the benefit of walking into the company office building to assess the decor, seating and overall energy of the other employees.

Forbes suggests overcoming this by asking more direct questions about culture during the initial interview and looking at what past employees had to say online.

“Ask to speak with people you’ll be working with including peers, colleagues on collaborating teams and direct reports. Use online tools like Glassdoor, Twitter and even LinkedIn to view comments or postings about the organization. Tap into your network to get honest feedback about their experience working in the company.”

These are just some of the ways job interviews are different today, but make no mistake that there are more changes to come as we adjust to life after COVID.

The Wall Street Journal predicted changes in the interview process involving virtual reality testing and personality profiling using artificial intelligence. While that seems extreme, we may not be too far from it.

So, keep doing your research, adapt to the latest trends, and be prepared for anything.