Today I spoke on CBS This Morning about new trends in job interviewing, and whether the typical free form interview is best at evaluating talent. The general thinking is not really, in part because interviewers can have subconscious biases that cloud evaluation of a candidate. One is “similarity” bias—we tend to be biased toward those that are like us, whether that’s age, sex, race, interests or where we went to college. Here is a great discussion of these issues by Adam Grant.
To better find talent, many forward thinking companies are trying for a more objective approach, and the buzzword in interviewing these days is “competency based interviews”(CBIs). Basically, competency based interviews are a structured series of questions that aim to figure out if the job candidate fits the criteria for the job, as demonstrated by how they’ve handled similar situations in the past. The idea is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So, let’s say it’s a global job. You might be asked to share a time you demonstrated the ability to work successfully across cross-cultural boundaries, or managed a team of people from different cultural backgrounds.
To help prepare for a structured interview, ask the manager or rep what you should expect from the interview (Will it be straightforward Q&A? Will you have to do any tests or evaluate case studies? Give a presentation? All of these things are possibilities!). Also, take a look at the job description or requirements to get a feel for what are the criteria you may be asked to demonstrate. Do a few mock interviews with a close friend or significant other. Brainstorm 3-4 good anecdotes about specific job accomplishments that show how you were successful in previous roles—and try to work in these examples regardless of what you are asked!