The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

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.

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