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Via CNBC : Coronavirus is spurring remote hiring. Here’s how to nail your job interview from afar

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip economies across the globe, few industries have been left untouched by the fallout, and that’s having huge implications not only for the workforce but also the recruitment process.

Some companies have moved to freeze hiring until the economic impact of the virus is made clear, but many others are continuing to recruit in a bid to prevent a business slowdown.

Indeed, in some instances the virus has sparked new demand for professions related to infectious diseases, according to jobs site Glassdoor, which has recorded a more than doubling of job postings with keywords related to coronavirus this month, particularly within the government, healthcare, biotech and pharmaceuticals.

However, measures aimed at containing the outbreak, such as social distancing and work from home policies, have required companies to get creative with their recruitment processes, and many are turning to virtual methods, such as video conference calls.

Tech giants Google, Amazon and Facebook, as well as recruiters PageGroup and Robert Walters, are among the global companies to announce a move to online job interviews for the duration of the outbreak. Video conferencing apps, including WeChat Work, Zoom and Slack, have risen nearly fivefold since the start of the year.

“In an effort to reduce some of the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses, companies are turning to technology to maintain business continuity during this time of uncertainty,” Glassdoor’s community manager, Jo Cresswell, told CNBC Make It.

The move is not unprecedented. In addition to a general uptick in video interviews over recent years, thanks to advances in technology, previous periods of economic and social duress have prompted a spike in remote hiring, for instance during the 2008 global financial crisis.

“We saw rapid growth of interviewing technology during the last recession, which is why I’m not surprised we’re starting to see a spike in interest from hiring teams during the coronavirus outbreak,” noted Peter Baskin, chief product officer of remote recruitment platform Modern Hire.

It does, however, mark a new era for interviewers and interviewees. Many who are used to in-person interviews will have to switch to virtual screening processes for the first time and figure out new ways to best convey themselves and their companies online.

CNBC Make It spoke to the the experts from Glassdoor and Modern Hire to find out their top tips for getting the virtual job interview right.

Advice for candidates

  • Test your tech — Make sure your internet connection and video conferencing program are both working well prior to your interview.
  • Dress appropriately — Dressing for success is no less important for remote interviews. Dress smartly, like you would for an in-person interview, and ensure your surroundings are tidy.
  • Be prepared — Do your homework just as you would for any other interview, rehearsing your responses to key interview questions and preparing your own questions for the interviewer.
  • Be personable — Make eye-contact, smile often and generally engage with the interviewer to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role.
  • Remove distractions — Ensure you’re fully engaged with the interviewer by removing all distractions, including your smartphone.
  • Follow-up — Send a follow-up note to your interviewer, thanking them for their time.

Advice for interviewers

  • Be prepared — Familiarize yourself and other interviewers with the candidate’s resume and the job description to give the virtual interview the formality of an in-person one. Likewise, keep the candidate informed on who they’ll be interviewing with so they can prepare questions of their own. And, of course, check your tech.
  • Have a strategy — Think carefully about the skills and attributes you’re looking for in a candidate and design questions that dig into each one.
  • Communicate openly — Keep candidates well-informed at each stage of the interview process. Without being able to give them a warm, in-person reception, it’s especially important to show them their time and efforts are valued.
  • Remove distractions — Be respectful to the candidate and position yourself away from distractions, including your smartphone, as you would in an in-person interview.
  • Reinforce employer brand — Ensure interviewers at all stages of the recruitment process convey a consistent message about the company’s mission and values.
  • Give the candidate time — Pause to ensure the candidate is done with their response, before moving onto the next question to account for time lags and lack of usual social cues.

Via Inc : The Essential Job Interview Question Almost Nobody Ever Asks

Only ask this question if you really want to know if this individual candidate will be successful in this particular job.

The purpose of any job interview question is to gauge whether the candidate is right for the job and vice versa. To accomplish this, job interviewers tend to ask three types of questions:

  1. Fishing for platitudes. The classic example is “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” Such questions are useful only insofar as they flush out candidates too lazy to do some research. Those who did their homework have carefully prepared answers. Those who didn’t just wing it and whiff.
  2. Brainteasers. The classic example is “Why are manhole covers round?” (Note: The classic answer “Because a round cover won’t fall down the hole” is wrong. I’ll give the correct answer at the end of this column.) The idea behind this type of question is to discover whether the candidate is a problem solver. Opinions are mixed on whether this technique is useful.
  3. Job-specific open-enders. The classic example is “How would you handle [situation specific to the job being sought]?” This type of question is the most valuable of the three because it can’t be gamed and really does allow the interviewer to gauge whether the candidate is up to the job.

There is a job interview question, however, that doesn’t really fit into any of these three categories but which reveals massively valuable information:

“To do your best work, how do you need to be managed? Feel free to use an example.”

This question uncovers three important perspectives:

  1. Is the candidate self-aware about their emotional processes, sources of motivation, and personal insecurities? Self-aware candidates will answer immediately and cogently. Clueless candidates will probably describe something that THEY did rather than something that their manager/teacher/mentor did.
  2. Is there a match between the candidate’s needs and the style of the manager for whom they would be working? For example, a candidate who thrives from hands-on mentorship would be rudderless if working for a hands-off manager. Conversely, a candidate who does best when left alone would chafe under a manager who’s picayune about details.
  3. How could we best adapt our range of management techniques to this candidate? The best managers don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they figure out what each individual needs in order to perform at their best. They then find a way to fit their management style to get the best from the individual.

A big advantage to this question is that it can’t be gamed with a pat answer because the candidate won’t know the management style of the person for whom they would be working. A pat answer thus might easily misfire.

Note: Here is the correct answer to the “manhole cover” question: “Because human bodies aren’t shaped like prisms.” Ten points to anybody who can tell me why this answer is correct.

Via Forbes : Why You Shouldn’t Ask Interview Questions That Candidates Are Prepared To Answer

Gaining access to the questions in advance of a test is called cheating in academic settings, and the penalties are typically quite severe. But when it comes to job interviews, also a test aimed at differentiating high and low performers, it’s a much different story.

Hiring for Attitude research shows that 46% of new employees will fail within 18 months of hire, and one of the big factors behind all these mis hires is the advantage job candidates have in gaming their interviews.

It’s not exactly cheating, but today’s job seekers do have abundant access to the most commonly asked interview questions. From books and learning programs on “how to ace the interview,” to Google searches for “most commonly asked interview questions” (which brings up over a billion responses), there’s ample opportunity for candidates to prepare and practice high performer-sounding responses to the interview questions most organizations ask.

Hiring managers must get smarter about the interview questions they are asking. It’s time to stop assuming that just because an interview question is popular that it’s effective. And once bad questions get eradicated, it’s time to start asking good interview questions that actually force your candidates to think. Because challenging candidates to respond in the moment (instead of rattling off well-rehearsed responses) greatly increases your chances of extracting the truth.

Revamping your interview questions starts with the knowledge that the only questions that reveal whether a candidate is a good match for your organization are questions that target the attitudes that matter most to your organization. The Hiring for Attitude research shows that 89% of new hire failure is due to attitude, namely coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament. Hiring for skills is important, but only 11% of new hires fail for lack of skills. Most organizations already know how to hire for skill, and so attitude is where we must focus.

The need to identify the truth about a candidate’s attitude immediately cancels out three of most commonly asked interview questions: Tell me about yourself? What are your strengths? and What are your weaknesses. Not only are these three questions extremely well-known to job seekers, but it’s also remarkably easy to conceive of and verbalize a ‘canned’ answer for every one of them. And those canned answers aren’t necessarily truthful.

Imagine that you ask a candidate, “Tell me about yourself.” It’s the rare individual who will truthfully respond, “Actually, I’m chronically tardy to work and I tend to have very contentious relationships with my bosses and coworkers.” Instead, you’re going to hear responses that sound like, “I’m a motivated self-starter,” or “I’m an aggressive problem solver.” And when you ask candidates to describe their weaknesses, you’re far more likely to hear, “Well, I have been told that I care too much and that I give too much of myself” than you are to hear, “I like to goof off all day and I bully my coworkers.”

The big problem with these three questions is that everybody has a canned answer for them, and not surprisingly, all those canned answers are positively skewed, and they tend to sound a lot alike. And when candidates’ answers sound the same, it’s nearly impossible to differentiate future high and low performers based on the answers they give to these questions.

One of the biggest litmus tests for whether an interview question is effective or not is whether it differentiates high and low performers (or people with great attitudes and not so a great attitudes). There’s very little time in an interview to determine whether somebody has the right attitude, so any question that doesn’t pass the test is a waste of time.

So, what kinds of questions should you be asking? Since the high performer attitudes that define an organization are unique to the organization, I suggest observing your current high and low performers for real-life work situations that reveal different attitudinal responses (e.g. high and low performers show clear attitudinal differences when given assignments that they don’t know how to complete).

Then, begin the question by asking: “Could you tell me about a time… “and insert the situation (e.g. “Could you tell me about a time you lacked the skills or knowledge to complete an assignment?”) “Could you…” (instead of “Tell me…” which is an intimidating command) invites conversation making candidates less guarded and more likely to reveal their real personality and attitude.

It’s important to always leave the question hanging. Tacking on: “…and tell me what you did to resolve/fix/etc. the situation” signals that you only want to hear about the one time they “turned failure around” instead of the potentially hundreds of times they did nothing to find a resolve. When interviewers leave questions open or hanging, high performers will naturally share their resolve (they are problem solvers) while low performers (problem bringers) will only talk about the problem. You can see examples of well-designed questions on the quiz “Could You Pass This Job Interview?”

A lot of people are more motivated to get the job than they are to do the job. Hiring for Attitude prevents you from hiring these low performers. So discover the attitudes that define your organization’s success and use those attitudes to build a hiring process, including the interview questions you ask, that allows you to identify and hire only the high performers you truly want.

Via Inc : Why Group Job Interviews Are Getting Insanely Popular (and How to Make Sure You Nail One)

Knowing how to stand out without putting others down is the secret to success.

If you are looking for work, or planning to in the near future, you should consider investing some time in learning how to perform well in group interviews. More companies than ever have been using them in their hiring processes. Why?

First, it saves time.

Coordinating on-site interviews for several candidates with various decision makers is time-consuming. Busy hiring managers don’t have extra time to do multiple on-on-one interviews. Group interviews allow hiring managers to maximize the time they spend interviewing by having it all fall on one day. Additionally, getting other key stakeholders in the room for a single interview is easier than trying to do it multiple times across various days. In short, group interviews speed up the hiring process.

Second, it lets the employer assess your culture-fit more effectively.

Group interviews put job seekers in a team-like situation. Watching how people interact during a group interview says a lot about how they’ll be on the job. The added stress of interviewing alongside what is essentially your competition for the job makes most folks’ true colors show. It’s much easier to spot who will be a better fit with the existing team. Personalities are revealed in a group interview more readily than in a one-on-one interview, where it’s tough to compare and contrast one job seeker’s responses to another’s.

That said, there’s one thing you can do in a group interview that can help you stand out for all the right reasons.

Treat every employee as if they’re the final decision maker — because they are!

While there are lots of tips and tricks that can help you navigate a group interview more effectively, the one I find myself coaching people on the most is how to treat each employee you meet. Without realizing it, your natural inclination will be to focus on impressing hiring managers the most. After all, it’s their decision who gets hired, right? Wrong. I find any company conducting a group interview is likely doing so because the hiring process is a group decision. In fact, many companies adopt this type of hiring process after having made a poor hire where some key red flags were missed due to the isolating nature of the one-on-one interview. Thus, they want to cover their bases and have a unanimous vote on who gets the job. For example…

She was completely uninterested in talking to anyone but the CEO.

A friend of mine in HR recently conducted a group interview at her company. They brought in five qualified candidates. One in particular had been heavily recruited by my friend from a competitor. She had heard great things about this woman and was convinced she was the front-runner for the role. Unfortunately, this top performer spent the entire group interview trying to impress the CEO while virtually ignoring the three other midlevel executives present. It didn’t matter who asked her a question, she focused on giving her highly animated responses to the CEO, acting as if nobody else was in the room. My HR friend said it became so comical that even the other candidates were smirking and giving each other knowing glances as she spoke. Her complete disrespect for the team cost her the job.

Show equal interest in all participants.

In a group interview, it’s vital to remember every employee in that room is there because they have a vested interest in who gets hired. Your job is to figure out how to make their work lives better. Why? The only way they’re going to choose you is if they can see themselves working with you to make their jobs easier! Thus, treat each person with equal respect, i.e., make eye contact with all parties as you answer questions. Your responses are important to everyone in the room, not just the person who asked the question.

Via Forbes : Why You Need To Begin Interview Questions With The Words ‘Could You’

A lot of commonly used behavioral interview questions begin with the phrase “Tell me about a time…” For example:

  • Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you faced competing priorities.

But notice how each of those putative questions actually ends with a period and not a question mark? That means, in the simplest possible terms, that they’re not questions; in this case, they’re actually commands. And when you’re trying to get a candidate to reveal their true personality, issuing commands is a very bad way to go.

By contrast, when you add the words “could you” to the beginning of those commands, you actually get a really effective interview question. For example:

  • Could you tell me about a time when you faced a difficult situation?
  • Could you tell me about a time when you faced competing priorities?

These questions are going to relax candidates into revealing their underlying attitudes, and that gives you the information you need to avoid the 46% failure rate for new hires. You can see more questions like these (and how tough they are to answer) in the online quiz “Could You Pass This Job Interview?”

Now, before I explain why the phrase “could you” is so important, let me answer the one snarky comeback I frequently hear; by adding “could you tell me,” this has now become a question that could be answered “yes” or “no.” While that is technically accurate, in the context of a job interview, it’s not a problem for two reasons:

First, in job interviews, candidates are generally trying to impress, so the odds that they offer a ‘yes or no’ answer are very slim. Second, if a candidate actually did say “no” when asked “could you tell me…” then it would be a truly fantastic answer. You would have just learned something hugely important about them; namely that they would be an incredibly difficult person to manage in real life.

Imagine what a gift it would be if you asked a candidate “Could you tell me about a time when you faced a difficult situation?” and they looked you right in the eye and said “no.” You really couldn’t ask for any clearer signal to not hire someone than that “no.”

In an interview, you need to give candidates every opportunity to fail. The vast majority of interviewers are constantly pushing candidates to succeed. With most leaders’ verbal adroitness, they’re able to cajole the ‘correct’ answer out of most candidates, even the terrible ones. And that’s one of the reasons why there’s a 46% failure rate for new hires.

So, why else do we need to start interview questions with the words ‘could you’? It’s about letting the candidate feel like they have some measure of control in the interview process. People are generally pretty guarded when they’re in an interview. They may seem perfectly open, jovial, relaxed, etc., but that just means they’re good performers.

You want to get them to loosen up and lower some of those guards so they reveal what’s really going on inside. And one way to do that is to give them the feeling that they have more control in this process. It makes the interview feel less like an exam and more like a conversation.

When someone is getting hammered with questions, especially questions that start to sound like orders— “tell me about situation A, then you will tell me about situation B… “—it constantly reminds them that they are in a powerless position, and that everything they say is being critically judged. As a result, they become guarded and highly reticent in what they are willing to share.

In order to get people to open up in the responses they give to your questions, you want them to forget that they’re in a position without much power. Instead, you want them to feel that this is more like a conversation with a new friend. So when you ask “Could you tell me… ?” it’s a subtle way of saying: ‘You have control because you can choose whether or not you want to answer this question.’ Of course, no one is actually going to refuse to answer the question (or they know they’re not getting the job). But the fact that you’ve suggested they have a choice in the matter plants a psychological seed that they have more control, just like they would in a conversation with a friend. Thus they start to act more like they would in a friendly conversation (i.e. open and honest).

One final note: The specific words you select and how you choose to say them do matter in hiring. You can’t ham-handedly read a bad script and expect that you’re going to make great hires. This is a battle where subtlety matters, where small words make a big difference, and your performance is critical.