EMPLOYERS ARE TAKING A NEW APPROACH TO JOB INTERVIEWS
T HE days of jobseekers being able to bluff their way through an interview may be numbered.
Employers are increasingly using recruitment strategies that assess genuine skill levels, unobstructed by a jobseeker’s self-promotion, or lack thereof.
A US survey by Classes and Careers reveals employers make snap judgments based on trivial non-verbal cues often only caused by nerves. Two-thirds of employers say they are put off interviewees who do not make enough eye contact.
Not smiling (38 per cent), bad posture, fidgeting (both 33 per cent) and a weak handshake (26 per cent) can also cost them the job.
Dr Amantha Imber, founder of business management consultancy Inventium, says in an unstructured interview, first impressions often override how the whole interview will go. “Whether they be favourable or unfavourable, we fall victim to confirmation bias,” she says.
“We pay more attention to information that supports what we believe. Unstructured interviews have low predictive power.”
The solution, Imber says, is audition-style interviews. Similar to how actors audition by reading the lines they may perform in the role, office workers can audition by completing tasks they may tackle in a typical day.
Imber gives the example of an innovation consultant whose main task is to facilitate workshops. “They would be given a tool, background on that tool, and they present a workshop (to explain that tool),” she says.
“It’s a predictor of how they will actually do in the role.”
Alternatively, a jobseeker interviewing for a sales role may be put in a scenario where the recruiter pretends to be a client and they have to make a sale.
Imber says job auditions are increasingly common but more in the US than in Australia. She says jobseekers preparing for these types of interviews have to take a new approach.
“It’s really honing the skills required to do the job as opposed to reflecting on different stories or even making up stories to answer the typical questions you are going to get,” she says. “It comes down to being good at the job you are going for.”
Hender Consulting executive consultant Bernie Dyer says scenario-based interviews are useful for assessing both technical and soft skills.
“The assessment isn’t about right or wrong answers, but aims to explore how they’ve analysed the scenario, their problem-solving approach, critical thinking and presentation style,” she says.
INNOVATIVE: Amantha Imber.