Gone are the days of sending off a CV and then waiting for the telephone to ring with the offer of an interview. Employers are starting to utilise modern technology when it comes to interviewing potential employees. Once a well-crafted CV was enough to get you through the door, now graduates need to be ready for a range of formats that will test every edge of their competence, personality and ability to work under pressure. If new final years or graduates are planning on applying to some of the bigger companies they need to be prepared.
Everybody knows the questions put to interviewees by Google (How do you fit a Giraffe in a fridge?) We've spoken to companies large and small, looking for their interesting tests that they put applicants through to really sift out the best of the best. So watch out for these new formats that employers might try to levy at you. We have also been receiving interview reviews to get the low down straight from the horse's mouth.
Interviewing a candidate over Skype, Sonru or other video conferencing programmes has become an increasingly popular way to streamline the process. This is so much easier for graduates and employers. While it allows employers to conduct more interviews at more convenient times, it also frees up a graduate's time and travelling expenditure. The format could be a live interview at a fixed time or employers might ask graduates to record themselves answering a series of questions and submit them online. However, as simple as it is, graduates should not take a relaxed approach to this system just because they are in the comfort of their own home.
Graduates being interviewed over the internet should be aware that they are still required to look sharp and professional. They need to make sure they are seated somewhere like the kitchen table, dressed to impress (at least from the waist up) and be seen and heard in decent lighting without any interruption or background noise. Connection quality might not prevent you from getting a job, but graduates should make sure they have taken steps to prevent any technical hitches.
Assessment centres are becoming more and more common for large scale graduate recruitment. Assessment days can be so important as they often occur later in the interview process and offer graduates the chance to demonstrate their skills in action. They usually look for team work, problem solving skills, leadership and the ability to listen and understand.
The trials and tribulations that graduates are put through on these assessment days are becoming very creative. However, with most of the tasks it is obvious what employers are looking for. In things like group discussions or group projects employers usually want to see graduates that are able to delegate, work as a team, lead a team if necessary but most importantly show they can listen. While graduates should try hard to show employers they are competent at the tasks, they should also think about what the employers might be looking for and how to emphasise that.
Psychometric tests can include things like verbal and numerical reasoning tests and lateral thinking tests. Sometimes called aptitude tests, graduates can be expected to take these if the role they are heading into requires a certain level of intelligence or requires the candidate to think around problems.
These can range from being relatively straight forward numerical puzzles to brain busting enigmas that you cannot make head nor tail of. Graduates are not walking blindly into these things, there are plenty of resources on the internet which will give graduates an idea of what they are facing. While they won't be the same when the actual test has rolled around, but if a graduate is familiar with the lay out or what the question is looking for they will have a much better chance.
Action days are another way that employers have harnessed the technology to improve the way they test graduates to see if they are right for the role. Action days or in-tray exercises can be great for finding out how a graduate might react in real work place scenarios. An example used by the NHS Management Trainee Scheme involves a candidate being sat at a laptop with a printer and being sent a series of emails and related tasks to see how they react, interact and manage the data and information. Employers want to see how graduates are prioritising information and comprehending the issues to do with the role.
Graduates won't really have any indication what they are likely to see in their inbox or in-tray so specifically preparing might be difficult. One way they can be ready for this role, is by understanding the job. If a graduate can understand the gravity or importance of certain tasks, they will be able to demonstrate they can prioritise and work on pressing issues first.