What do we expect from an interview? A quick thought about how to prepare it correctly

Getting ready for your (first) interview? Read this short article, it will help!

TL;DR

  • Even though the recruitment process is evolving with the new technologies and internet, reducing the number of steps to proceed from application to job, the interview remains a must and as the best way for both part to learn to know each other.
  • Human bias are inevitable as it is what makes us human. We need to try our best ’not to judge a book by its cover’ by digging in someone’s personality, and the best way to do so is the interview.
  • It is a 2-way road: not only the recruiter has the right to ask questions, you have as well the right to be curious about the working environment, more details on the missions, etc. But again, keep in mind that you must arrive prepared, and not starting without any knowledge about the activity.
  • Finally, the recruiter/HR manager has your CV, so your skills and experiences. Show who you are, your personality and your individuality.

 

As discussed in the previous article, technologies make things change. It changes a lot in the overall recruitment industry, the recruitment processes, etc. Some processes don’t even require a week thanks to the digitalisation of the applicant’s data, others will cut through the process to keep only what they want and need (no phone screening, no technical test if it is a technical position).

But there is one step in the recruitment process that will never disappear, and that everyone will have to face in the future: the interview.

 

Yes, the method or the tools used to interview can and will change: we already see the increase of video call interviews, or even robots replacing HR managers during interviews in the future… we already know that technology will be a real game-changer for us!

But interview will remain, in my opinion, the best tool and, theoretically, the most accurate one in the decision-making process of a recruitment.

 

Why the interview is still a major tool in recruitment

We mainly hear the drawbacks of the interview: it is a biased tool, where first impression matters. In fact, we all are biased persons because of our education and personality. Without getting into too much detail, we cannot do an interview without these drawbacks, they are part of what makes us humans. Even computers and AI cannot avoid being biased because of their constant immersion into our environment and their programmation being made by men and women (see this article about the Tay bot on Twitter). And I still hear you think ‘How come this is the best method then?’.

 

Simply as it is suppose to be a real exchange between the recruiter/HR manager and the applicant. The first steps of the recruitment process, aka the steps before the interview, are here to screen the skills and give the first impression to the recruiter. As the saying says ‘never judge a book by its cover’, these first steps are just introducing the business to the ‘cover’ of the candidate and no more. The interview is here to break the ice between the recruiter and the applicant, openly talking to each other.

It goes deeper than just going through the skills and few more experiences, it is a real exchange and a way to see a bit of the personality of each other: for the recruiter, he/she will ask himself/herself ‘is this candidate a good fit for us?’, while the applicant will ask himself/herself ‘is this company made for me?’. It is a balanced discussion where both parts have the same impact.

 

How to prepare for an interview

This is a tricky question as every interview is different, and you can expect everything from it. Your real objective during the interview is not necessarily to show you are the skillset the company look for, but more the personality that will fit their team and corporate culture. I will talk about this few lines below but this is the moment for you to shine as a person. But before that, let's review the basics of what you should do:

  • First, read your CV again if you don’t remember exactly what you put on. The CV is the link between the recruiter and the applicant, this will be the key to start the interview process. But while the phone/video screening is going over it, the interview will go into the experiences and dig dipper. So be ready to talk about it in details.
  • You can prepare your speech in advance, but make sure you are not only recounting it. Try your best to show that you are at ease with this difficult challenge. Keep in mind that it is a conversation, a discussion and not a questioning!
  • Because it is a two way road, finally, ask questions. Show that you are curious about the position, the company, even the background of the recruiter or your possible future team. I am not saying that you should arrive to the interview not prepared, with no information about the company or their products, but you should come with specific questions related to technical aspects. This will show how implicated you are about this job, wanting to dig in and check few details that no one probably asked before!

As a candidate, being qualified for the interview is a good sign, as it means you do have all the qualifications needed for the position. So this step is the moment for you to prove that you are the personality they are looking for!

 

 

In the end, the interview is more of a personality test than a technical test, that is why it still requires some preparation as it is a different exercise. But also, keep in mind that every interview is different, and every recruiter is different as well!

 

Article by Pierre Buteau

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