Modes of Candidate Assessment
Whenever you are speaking with representatives of the organization, whether alumni, recruiters, or employees taking you to lunch or arranging logistics for the interview, communication matters and will be used to determine if you are the right candidate for the opportunity. The communication medium for the interview can vary, depending on the employer. The process, goals, and how you prepare for these interviews are the same.
Prescreen: This may or may not be scheduled. If the employer calls unexpectedly, don’t be caught off guard - this call is still a critical part of the overall interview process. The employer will usually ask a few key questions to determine if you will continue in the interview process.
Scheduled: This is an in-depth prescreen before the site interview. However, for some internships a scheduled phone interview takes the place of a site interview and it may be the only interview. If this is the case, applicants are hired solely on the basis of the phone interview. Scheduled interviews can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
Tips for a Successful Phone Interview
- Have a professional voice message on your phone in case the employer reaches your voice mail
- Ensure a good phone connection – charged battery; quiet location for the call; strong signal (Note: students can reserve a room in The Center for Career Development Interview Center if space allows)
- Before the interview, call yourself and leave a message answering the question “tell me about yourself” – check your intonation, volume, clarity, and how well you answered the question
More employers are utilizing Skype, especially if you are interviewing from abroad. Video conferencing is not as common, but is still used; however, you and the employer both must have access to the equipment. If you are scheduling a Skype session from abroad, check signal strength well before the scheduled connection. Arrange for a quiet location and a non-distracting background behind you. If you are on campus and an employer wants to schedule a video conference or Skype interview, The Center has equipment available. Please call (574) 631-5200 to schedule an interview room or a computer set up for Skype interviews.
This isn’t about eating! You are being interviewed and assessed. Follow professional etiquette guidelines; select a meal that’s easy to eat neatly; stay attentive to questions, but aim for relaxed responses and conversation. If you are dining with more than one person, address and connect with everyone at the table. Meet with a Career Counselor if you have additional questions.
Some employers give candidates different types of tests as part of their hiring process. Testing can provide extra information about applicants that cannot be obtained from their resumes or interviews - aptitude, interests, learning styles, and other relevant characteristics.
Although the one-on-one interview is most common, a panel interview will often be conducted at the on-site visit. A group of individuals, perhaps representing different department or functions with which the position interacts, ask a variety of questions to assess if the candidate can support the key interests of the department or function.
In this case you are asked to complete a task (often timed) or project that represents one of the key functions of the position.
Some employers will bring candidates for the same type of position together for a group project or simulation. The group is usually asked to dialogue, design, or recommend a solution to a challenge or daily project of the organization or industry. Your team player and group dynamic skills are being assessed, as well as the ideas and innovative thought you bring to the discussion or project.
The on-site visit is usually the final stage of the interview process. A job offer for a full-time position is rarely made without a second interview, which is typically held on-site, but can also be on-campus. The purpose of this interview is for the employer and the student to become better acquainted with one another. Make sure that your cell phone is turned off the entire time you are with the employer—including events on the evening prior to the interview. Do not check the time on your phone – this could be misinterpreted. It is your host’s job to ensure you are kept on schedule and are where you need to be. Preparing for this interview, understanding travel arrangements and the schedule, and knowing what to expect are key to your success.