Nontraditional Interview Styles: Tips for Success


With the current economic conditions, most companies are looking for ways to cut corners and save money. One way companies are saving money is by how and where interviews are conducted. For many companies that are looking at candidates outside the local area, the interview process can be an expense one.

In the past would have had to bring candidates to their location for interviews which mean covering travel, hotel and food expenses. Today, many are turning to nontraditional interviewing styles and so it is up to the job seeker to realize the differences and similarities of the various interviewing techniques and prepare accordingly. A few of the untraditional processes include: 

Pre-Interview Computer Screening: This technique I’ve read about but only know of a few job seekers that actually have gone through the process. This is done through your computer and usually a link is sent to you by the company you’ve applied or sent your resume to. Questions are more specific than the application and help to weed out potential candidates.

Phone Interviews: This type of interview can range from an introductory screening for deciding on whether to bring the candidate in for an interview, to a full interview. Phone interviews reduce costs as well as save time for both the candidate and employer. If it is a full interview, typical questions you would be asked in person will be asked of you.

Without the advantage of body language you’ll need to make sure you speak in a clear and inviting tone. Have everything in front of you take the phone call in an area that you’ll not be disturbed.

  Hint: Smiling while talking is a great trick to warm up a nervous voice.

Web/Virtual Interview: This is a great way to reduce expenses when interviewing candidates from another city, state or even country. This can be done using web cameras or services such as http://www.skype.com/ to provide a live link between the interviewer and the candidate.

Prepare for this as if it was an in-person interview. They’ll see you so dress appropriately and reduce any clutter or possible noise in the background. Have your information in front of you.

   Hint: Speak in a strong voice, you never know what the sound quality will be on their end.

Technical/Situational Interview: For many positions it is appropriate for tests to be given as proof of your qualification. Tests can range from informal to highly technical, multiple choice or hands-on applications. If you are not sure if a test will be part of the interview process – ask, and ask for specifics. Make sure you are prepared for what is expected.

Video Resume: I have reviewed services that help job seekers develop video resumes. While the idea is “edgy”, it may backfire. Since nonverbal communication is so critical in the job search campaign you’ll be responsible for an outstanding presentation as well as focused and relevant information.

I think most people would fare better with a traditional resume to draw in the reader with your talents and expertise before being viewed and critiqued on your appearance and actions, voice, movements and any biases.

Whatever style your interview is delivered, preparation is key! Make sure you know what will be expected of you, you know your resume inside and out, and you are prepared to answer the typical and non-typical answers. The more you practice the more confident you will sound and the more comfortable you’ll be when the questions are asked.

Shine On!

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