Over the past seven months, so much has changed about the interview process.
For job seekers who are in the market for the first time in years, the job search process can be intimidating – even a little scary. And for HR and hiring managers, the shift to remote interviewing brings a host of changes that make once-familiar processes more daunting than ever.
As with most scary stuff, sound advice and careful preparation are essential to success. Below, Executive Senior Partner Bob Carignan shares his best practices for employers and job seekers to nail the modern job interview.
Get comfortable with video. It works.
Job interview processes have changed dramatically since the onset of the pandemic. Before March, roughly 70% of interviews were conducted in person. But now that so many companies are remote, we’ve seen a major pendulum swing, with 80% to 90% of interviews today conducted via video. In fact, one of my candidates for a VP-level job never met the employer in person until after an offer was made, which was pretty amazing.
Put on your consulting hat.
The interview process is a two-way street. In this market, employers must shift their mindset from, “I have the job, so it’s up to the candidate to earn it,” to, “How can I convince this candidate that this is the right opportunity for them?”
It sounds counterintuitive, but in today’s environment candidates are much more discerning about potential employers. They’re looking for the right cultural fit – not merely the right position and compensation.
To increase offer acceptance, employers should tell their company’s story. What makes them great? Why are they growing? Why are they doing well? What do their future opportunities look like for the organization? What’s the culture like, and what does the company do to support their employees?
On the flip side, candidates must think like consultants, too. Before heading into the interview, job seekers should prepare questions that reveal why the employer is looking to hire someone. For example, what key things define success for someone in this role? Asking that question early on allows candidates to understand what is most important to the employer. From there, candidates can tailor their responses, providing answers based on their experience and what they’ve accomplished in the past.
My best interview advice for employers: Be prepared to be interviewed.
Top candidates will come prepared with good questions, so the employer really needs to be ready to talk about the company, the success profile for the role, the hiring manager, the culture, career growth opportunities and more. Explaining the “what’s in it for me” for candidates in a conversational way gets them excited about the company and opportunity.
My best interview recommendations for job seekers: Be humble.
While it’s important to appear confident and talk about successes, job seekers must be careful not to brag or come across as entitled. When answering questions about themselves, candidates should cite notable accomplishments, tempering those statements by stating their desire to help the employer achieve their goals.