New techniques and methods for selecting candidates for a job.
The classic job interview is about to become history. Seriously! There are millions of articles where you can read the best answers to give at an interview – word for word. Different scientific studies recommend wearing sober colours, avoiding words such as ‘creative’, ‘motivated’ or ‘effective’ and greeting the interviewer with a firm handshake. They also advise that wearing glasses makes you seem more intelligent and that being too thin or too fat will almost certainly lead to professional failure.
In the end, personnel recruiters have to pick up the axe and shovel to dig down to the candidate’s personality, because everyone wears dark grey, contact lenses and assures them that they are ‘highly motivated’ with regard to the position they are applying for. By this, we don’t mean to say that it is not interesting to have guidelines to help you prepare for a job interview or the questions that you are likely to be asked. But each phase of the selection process is being analysed so much and there is so much speculation on how to act and what to answer, that the interviewers are getting bored of constantly running into the same problem: candidate reactions are tightly structured and the absence of naturalness is almost a feature. So it’s impossible to find what companies want most at the moment: the personal values of a candidate applying for a position.
According to a study carried out by the consultancy firm, Factor Humano, professional experience or CVs are losing weight when talent scouting for a company. Now, attitude, sincerity, commitment and a sense of responsibility are valued above all. In short: if you lack knowledge but are brimming with predisposition, you are already in a good position to capture the personnel recruiter’s attention.
POPULAR TECHNIQUES FOR PERSONNEL SELECTION
Companies have decided to bring out your “I” in its pure state by using alternative selection tests where they test your spontaneity (which is like an enormous phosphorescent doorway to your personal values and logical reasoning). Below is a list of several personnel selection methods that are growing in popularity: some are acquiring considerable presence on the work market, others are at the experimental stage but promise (or threaten) to stay.
1. “Tell me a story” (Not a lie, though!) We’ve already mentioned the importance of being sincere. This test, for example, forms part of the selection processes used by the consultancy firm, Mc Kinsey & Company, which tops the ranking for companies with the hardest and most complex selection processes. Suddenly, the interviewer asks you to explain a story – either real or imaginary – relating to leadership capacity, personal initiative or other values that accompany talent and professional excellence. Ingenuity, creativity, capacity for innovation… There is so much that you can show here! If you want some tips on how to develop your creative capacity, click here.
2. For unsettling questions, the answers… that occur to you. It’s all about finding out what way your brain works If not, it doesn’t make sense that a candidate for a position at Google is asked “How many cows are there in Canada?” or for one at Dell, “What song best describes your work ethics?” But there are questions that almost seem completely mad. What would you answer to “How to put a giraffe into a freezer?” or “Would you prefer to fight with a duck the size of a horse or with 100 horses the size of ducks?” They are absurd questions – agreed – but they may show your capacity to overcome difficult challenges and be specific.
3. Role-playing. For a few minutes, (although if the interviewer really gets into it, it can seem like centuries) you will take up the vacant role and you will have to confront a series of situations in the role. For example, you are an air-hostess and, in the middle of the flight, a passenger (the interviewer, of course) has a panic attack. Or you are a bank security guard and you have to manage a conflict with an annoyed client. But you won’t always have to act out a role! Sometimes, only the company will be aware of the fictitious situation. And if you don’t believe me, watch the Heineken selection process video (and enjoy ).
4. Focus group. All the candidates for the same role together in one room. The interviewer puts forward different cases relating to performing the vacant role. They may be direct questions asked to one candidate or just thrown out there. For example, imagine a group of candidates applying for the position of Inditex attendant explaining how they would react to a furious client who wants to return an item of clothing at any price. The company may include a group of observers who will analyse the reactions and participation of each of the candidates.
5. Coffee and work. The job interview mutates into an event or a fair: the consultancy firm or human resources agency that usually organises this type of event brings together the personnel recruiters from different companies with the candidates for a position in informal and relaxed surroundings – ideal for letting your best side shine.
6. Neurotechnology. The future? The advertising agency, TBWA, in Istanbul, was pioneer in applying neurotechnology in personnel selection, using their Adlove project. They were looking for a worker who would love his/her job so they used an EEG on candidates to be empirically sure of the emotion that advertising produced in them. And they chose their new employee using the results. It is only my own opinion but the risk of neurotechnology is that, besides analysing the nervous system, it is capable of influencing it: the film, ‘Clockwork Orange’, by Stanley Kubrick deals with this threat – although it takes it to extremes… And you? Do you believe in the possibilities of this system for contracting an employee?
Lots of luck in your future job interviews but, above all, be natural.
|Note: Aren’t you curious to find out how they answered the question about how to put a giraffe into a freezer? As we said, what’s important is how you react. And you can do it by asking questions like: Is the giraffe dead? How big is it? How big is the freezer? And no: we don’t know how many cows there are in Canada, but you can get an idea… searching on Google!
Image: César Poyatos