If you’ve been in one job or with a single company for years, the idea of making a change can be intimidating. Whether it’s been five years, ten or more since your last interview, things have likely changed. We live in a modern world where the traditional resume is counting for less and more focus is put on diversity and company culture.
Here are some of the things to be mindful of if you’re going into your first interview in years.
During an interview, there are a lot of questions you expect to hear. “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” is a commonly asked questions that used to be the focal point of an interview. Now, more focus is being shifted to behavioral questions.
Behavioral interview questions ask the candidate about scenarios that have arisen in the past and how they were dealt with. For example, a behavioral interview question may be, “Tell us about a time you had to deal with an uncooperative teammate. How did you overcome this issue?” This gives interviewers better insights into how you’ve handled commonly occurring issues in the past and how your style will translate into a new situation.
Behavioral questions are thought to be more useful because they are harder to rehearse and prepare for. They often ask a person to consider an uncomfortable time, which creates a balance between those who traditionally interview well and those who might be a great candidate but struggle during interviews.
Your References Have Less Merit
While it’s still important to find and list great references on your job application, don’t be surprised if they never hear from your new employers. Hiring managers who still use the provided references take their words with a grain of salt, as they expect you to provide glowing references who wouldn’t speak ill of you.
More often, hiring managers will do backdoor reference checks. During this process, the hiring manager may reach out to your previous employers who you haven’t listed as references. Additionally, they may take time to research you on social media to see what sort of things you post and share as well as what connections you may have.
In a world where everything seems to be online, typing your name into Google may give a more realistic view of who you are than a reference.
A few decades ago, having a degree could be the thing that set you apart from the competition. Now, many individuals are over-educated and struggle to find a position in the modern job market. As such, more companies are requiring skills tests as a part of the overall interview and hiring process.
What a candidate lists on their resume is often inflated and exaggerated. Skills tests ask candidates to prove that they are as talented as they have indicated. This process also helps narrow the focus if there are a lot of candidates to be screened. Your skills test may be included during the interview or before interview scheduling.
The sole focus is no longer on how well suited you are for a job; you must also show how you’ll fit in with the overall organizational culture. Companies with a strong organizational culture have better team cohesion, productivity, and ultimately, better profitability.
There are a variety of personality tests that could be included in your interview, such as the Big 5, the Hogan Assessment or the Caliper Profile. These tests give insights into your strengths, values, and ability to work well with others. Personality tests are no longer an off-the-wall hiring practice but are becoming standard during interviewing and job placements.
In many ways, the interview preparation process will be the same as it always has been. Identify your skills and highlight them in a positive way to put your best foot forward. Be confident and authentic, and you’ll find the right new job for you.