Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interview reform

I’ve thought a lot about interviewing lately as I was recently knee deep in a job search. It took a couple of interviews to feel like I was back in the game. I was prepared for behavioral questions, situational questions and of course, I was ready with my story. If you are out of the interview scene for a while, the preparations can take some time.  Once I was fully prepared, I felt great. And then… I told my story over a hundred times. That may sound like an exaggeration, but if you think about the interview process for just one job. A single job. First, you speak with a recruiter from an outside agency. Unless you have a close relationship with this recruiter, there are usually two calls. If all goes well, you make it to the next round with the company’s internal recruiter, then company human resources, and then maybe a hiring manager. All of this has happened over the phone. Next, you meet in person for an interview. During your onsite visit, you meet with 3-15 people (yes, I had a two day fifteen person interview at one company). Let’s stop and do a little math: 8-20 times of telling your story for one company. Let’s say you explore with 5-10 companies on your job search. That means you are telling your story 40-200 times. Seriously.

First of all, this is almost impossible if you have a full time job. Second of all, it is exhausting. I know that I blew a couple interviews simply because I was tired of telling my story. I felt like a robot. Next, most people tend to ask the same interview questions.  Even worse, the candidate usually has to go through their story before even understanding if the job is really what they want. Details are vague until you pass the story phase. Finally, I’m not sure the interviewer really gets to know the candidate and vice versa. I have been on the other side of the table and wonder how many great candidates I may have passed on because they didn’t have a compelling, exciting story.

So what can be done?

Here’s my idea: video. Wouldn't it be great to just make one awesome video of yourself telling your career story, best accomplishments, biggest challenges, etc. Electronic confidentiality agreement and password protected. The recruiter could watch and if interested, move on to the in-person interview stage- and really get to know a candidate through a powerful line of questioning. On the other side, if a recruiter starts to watch the video and realizes the candidate is a bad fit- stop watching. Everybody saves time and can focus on finding a good fit.

It may be a little far-fetched, but it would be great to find a new way. What are your thoughts on the interview process? How many times have you told your story? For those conducting interviews, how  do you feel about the interview process? What are your ideas for interview reform?

Learn more about the fashion industry from Career Coach Kate Kibler at

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