When was the last time you went on a job interview?
If it has been more than a few years, I’ll bet you heard at least one of these “opinion questions:”
What is your greatest strength? How about your greatest weakness?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Why should we hire YOU out of all the candidates for this role?
These questions are supposed to help hiring managers determine what type of person a candidate is, but they aren’t always effective at predicting job performance.
The “behavioral interview question” has become common.
You may have gotten one of these recently:
Tell me about a time when you worked well under pressure.
Give an example of a difficult situation you encountered and how you handled it.
Describe a challenge you overcame by working as a team in your previous position.
Behavioral questions (sometimes known as competency questions) have been proven to be more accurate predictors of future performance, because they draw on past experience instead of opinion and because they identify competencies. However, sometimes the past doesn’t accurately predict future behavior, especially if the situation encountered is a more complex challenge requiring interpersonal or communication skills.
Enter the “hypothetical question” focused on soft skills.
In the current job market, many employers are looking for candidates with so-called “soft skills,” a term which many career pros dislike. (There is nothing “soft” about being an effective communicator or an exceptional manager.) Instead of probing for a particular ability, these questions gauge how you approach work relationships and navigate group dynamics by usuing hypothetical scenarios. Here are a few questions to look for in your next interview if soft skills are a priority for the role:
What would you do if you made a decision, but your direct reports refused to go along with it?
You discover a coworker has done something unethical. Would you report them?
If a project timeline changes unexpectedly, how would you communicate that to your team?
So what’s next in job interviews?
It’s not easy to predict the future without a crystal ball, but I think job interviews are going to change a great deal in the near future. Employers want more accuracy in predicting performance, and they want to reduce the time and labor needed to gauge that accuracy.
Here are a few possibilities I think we will see more often in the coming years.
One-way video interviews, meaning a recorded interview without live feedback. This is already happening now through platforms like Spark Hire, and it can be unnerving if you’ve never encountered it before. Practicing this kind of interview helps, either with a career coach or an online tool such as InterviewStream.
Hackathons, job auditions, and boot camps. These models put a group of candidates together to solve problems in an environment similar to the real job, so they can be observed performing the actual duties a position requires.
Predictive analytics that skip the screening process altogether. In the world of artificial intelligence and big data, we will probably see fewer screening interviews. The screening process will have already happened virtually. Candidates will be chosen based on predictive analytics, including the likelihood that someone currently employed is ready for a new challenge. This means the job interview will morph into a dynamic discussion to determine if a mutually beneficial collaboration is feasible.
got an interview coming up? my post about recovering from interview nightmares might help!
Working with a career coach is a great way to prepare for an interview. Would you like to explore the possibility of working with me as your coach? I'd be happy to set up a free 30-minute phone call.