IT Employment

Are you prepared for the modern job interview?

Job interviews for IT pros have gotten a little more complex. Are you prepared for the video interview or the tougher questions?

It’s getting tougher out there for IT pros looking for a job.  Although many accounts say that the number of IT jobs is growing, it seems that the path to getting one of those jobs is a little harder to tackle. 

First, there is a new report from Glassdoor regarding the Top 25 Most Difficult Companies to Interview for 2013.  It seems that all but about six are tech-related. This isn’t surprising, considering the amount of skill required for an IT career. But what I think this means is that a company’s tech outlook and its success are interchangeable, so any IT candidate is going to be scrutinized more. You’re going to be expected to be able to answer more complex questions than “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Employers want the best IT talent they can get and they're competing for it.

You’re also going to be judged by how much you know about growing business through tech even if the position you’re applying for isn’t management.  This is not a bad position to be in, so welcome the tougher questions and bring your A game.

The dreaded video

Another trend in the hiring process that could be problematic for some looking for work is the video interview.

I can see the appeal of a video interview for the employer—it’s a faster process since you don’t have to drag a bunch of people into the building and work around schedules. And it’s cheaper if your company is one that flies potential candidates in for interviews.

The problem is there some people, myself included, are not comfortable on video. I spend a good deal of time avoiding having a regular picture taken, I’m most certainly not comfortable being on video. (I’m sure that since I’m not a millennial, who has essentially grown up doing selfies at every opportunity, I may be in the minority here.)

The other reason I’m not comfortable with video interviews (particularly the newest strain—the ones that you do at your leisure without having to interact with someone on the other side)—is because I LIKE to interact with the interviewer. I feel really dumb talking to a computer screen.

I like to meet people in person because I get a lot of information from non-verbal queues. For example, I can sometimes see if I’m on the right track with an answer by the body language or facial expression of the interviewer. I would be at a great disadvantage if I had to video in a vacuum, so to speak.

So what say you guys? Who would be comfortable doing a video interview?



About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

14 comments
a3268
a3268

In this time of competition and waste elimination, video interviews and video meetings are the answer. Skype takes us to near presence set up and provides a closer look to facial characters and some background + it also gives some kind of a virtual eye contact and visibility to reactive mode. I used Cisco's  telepresence for larger meetings and presentations and found it very productive. In essence make use of technology and bring profits. Money/time saved is an earned value

aksnf
aksnf

I was born in 1986, technically I'm a 'millennial'. I remember a world before America was 'Online'. I did not grow up taking 'selfies', nor do I now. You're little comment is short sighted and rude.

Thank you very much,

A productive member of what has become known as a vein and entitled generation

amoghnatu
amoghnatu

Well, this depends on the person. Like Toni said, If the person is the kind of a guy/girl who like to be in front of a camera, that person would be too comfortable. But for people like myself, who avoid having their picture taken most of the times, it definitely is a tough task.


But I feel that with technology helping organizations to reduce cost, this is probably going to be a much preferred way that organizations choose to interview potential candidates for filling up their vacancies.


Having an interview on Skype or Google Hangout is also a welcome option for probably most of us :-) 

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

No.
Like Toni, I've been one who has actively avoided being photographed, and video performance is a skill mostly unrelated to real life.  And a non-interactive video interview? Sounds like a complete horror.


SPGuest
SPGuest

I have done Skype interviews and am happy because I have done large audience presentations.  The main issue I have with video interviews is it is a way to do an ageism check.

As pointed out in this article, for some reason the IT industry has decided that questions such as "Where do you see yourself in five years?” are totally acceptable.  I was at an large IT firm where I got a glowing even staller review but instead of getting promoted I was slated as one of the people at the bottom of the barrel.  When I asked why the manager calmly stated the group had decided this on looking at how much use you will be to the firm in 15 years - thus everyone over 45 was put in the lay-off pile.  The sad thing was neither HR or the management felt this was unfair regardless of illegal.  Especially when they did lay us all off.

I did get a blank look when I asked the following questions.  What if a decision I made today made the company billions of dollar in 15 years?  Did you consider the negative impact on the company in 15 years time due to the lose of knowledge when you made your decision to reject all workers over 45?

What is the role of such questions.  It seems to imply the IT industry is making questionable hiring decisions which have nothing to do with a candidate's skill or ability.

x00000x
x00000x

 >particularly the newest strain—the ones that you do at your leisure without having to interact with someone on the other side

I've been in tech hiring for over a decade and I've never heard of anyone doing this. Video interviews are always 2-way, usually over skype. This sounds like a made up argument.

The article also misses a key point; from an opportunity perspective it's a huge net gain for job seekers. Very few companies fly candidates in, video interviews open up new job opportunities that would not exist without it. 

Patrick@Jaromin.com
Patrick@Jaromin.com

I interviewed with several potential employers recently via Skype and they worked quite well for me. One was for a company in another state - a work-from-home position where flying in would've cost considerable time and money. Another was an 11-hour interview with a company that wanted to make a pitch when I was nearly ready to accept another offer. The technology works well enough that the process was smooth and nearly as comfortable as being there. 

The "solo video interview" discussed is something I'd never heard of or experienced. I absolutely rely on cues from the interviewer, especially when you know the answer but just aren't giving them the exact verbiage they have in your head. When they're "live" you can see this and probe until you know what it is they're looking for.

I would definitely pass on any company that wanted me to interview like this.

Matty_kane
Matty_kane

I like to meet people in person because I get a lot of information from non-verbal queues." , verbal 'cues' not 'queues' 

mauryg3
mauryg3

WHY OLD MEN DON'T GET HIRED!

Job Interview:

Human Resources Manager: "What is your greatest weakness?"

Old Man : "Honesty."

Human Resources Manager: "I don't think honesty is a weakness."

Old Man : "I don't really give a s**t what you think."

Joey Indolos
Joey Indolos

I've never had one yet, so I would probably have to try it out first beforehand in order to conduct myself acceptably in an actual video interview, but that's true of anything new.  On the other hand, I would probably take to it more quickly than you would.  Unlike someone with your more balanced background, I'm more of the standard IT nerd who's somewhat more comfortable interacting with computers than with people.

Also, I've taken countless online tests and surveys, quite a few of them with time limits, so I would just approach it with the frame of mind that it's just another test, but with the answers spoken rather than written.  But as I mentioned, I'd have to try it out first to get used to the different input.  For example, no more fidgeting allowed.  And no more occasionally leaning back and taking a sip from my whiskey to relax and regroup my senses when I'm flustered by a tricky question :)

jemyers08
jemyers08

Toni, I've had two Skype interviews, and they went well.  I liked not wasting time having to travel, and I liked  being able to get my questions answered.  Particulary when the job description was vague, outdated, or did not even mention current technology that the interviewer should be asking about.    

My only wish was that I had a screen grabber to record both sides of the interviews as some type of  a video.   

Ritzley
Ritzley

The experience I had is that the questions appear on screen for a certain period of time (i.e more complex questions stay on the screen for longer than easier questions). During the time the question appears on the screen you prepare an answer, and then you have a set period of time to answer - again time allowances depend on the complexity of the question. It's impersonal, cold, process oriented and not conducive to a good result in my opinion. The layout of the product I had to use meant you weren't staring into the camera as if you were interacting with an interviewer, rather you were constantly looking from questions to timers to the screen which I felt made me look distracted on replay...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

A video "interview" with no interviewer?  Where do the questions come from?

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