The job search and interviewing process has evolved significantly over the last few decades and you’ll need to know about these interviewing trends for a successful job search in 2020.
Many of us in today’s workforce remember when job interviewing trends required a newspaper. We’d check the classified section every day for “help wanted” ads, circle the interesting jobs with an actual pen, and send resumes typed on paper through the mail.
The job search process involved a lot of luck—we’d pick up the newspaper each day hoping that a relevant job opportunity would appear. The real go-getters among us would cold-call target employers and show up in their reception areas dressed in navy blue suits with several copies of our resumes in tow.
You probably don’t receive a newspaper on your doorstep any longer. My elementary school-age son saw one on a neighbor’s front porch and didn’t know what it was!
Admittedly, if you’re under the age of 40, these examples may only represent a history lesson to you. No matter your age, moving beyond the past and preparing for the job search of tomorrow will keep your career moving forward.
Preparing for Your Next Job
Since the ’90s, the internet has reigned supreme as the hub of the job search for professionals at every level. Static job boards have evolved into aggregators that scour the internet for every available job. LinkedIn has evolved from a simple networking tool to a dynamic AI-driven social network that serves where recruiters from every field can access talent.
Applicant tracking systems have changed the way we write resumes, focusing on keywords and machine readability.
The cover letter, once the crown jewel of the executive job search portfolio, has become a pleasant antiquity for most job seekers.
As we move into the new decade, the technology-enabled job search will continue to change. My hunch is that the resume itself will evolve into something much different sooner rather than later.
Yet at a time when almost everything in the hiring process is digitized, a trend to highlight the human connection and return to some of the basic rules of engagement resonates more than ever. The digital search will get your foot in the door, but it’s your human abilities that will get you the job.
Despite the new interviewing trends, always remember the basics
The following advice is timeless yet bears repeating; we see great candidates lose out on their dream jobs for simple reasons.
- Focus on connecting with and inspiring your interviewers. I jokingly call a candidate accepting a job offer a “love match,” but it’s not far off from reality. Small talk matters; find emotional resonance with your interviewers and they’ll want you to hang around.
- Do your homework and research the organization thoroughly. Incorporate the information you learned about the organization both in answering and asking questions. You will want to keep both questions and answers positive. This shows your interest in the position and that you’re conscientious, one of the most important factors in career success.
- Make sure your posture and body language express professionalism. Sitting up straight and using eye contact. Mind your manners. We recently had a candidate lose out on a C-level position in large part because he brought a bottle of mineral water that looked like a beer into the interview.
- Dress appropriately in business clothing. Be neat, clean, and well-groomed. This applies to video interviews as well. I’ve interviewed folks via video who were wearing stained sweatshirts. Every opportunity to interface with a hiring authority is a chance to SHOW them that you are executive material.
Five Important Interviewing Trends
Though the process of looking for and applying for jobs is faster and more streamlined than ever, scheduling and conducting interviews remains a time-consuming process. Scheduling an executive-level interview often takes several weeks since it can involve multiple organization leaders who have calendars bursting at the seams.
Even though scheduling interviews may still represent the most tedious part of securing a new job, interview trends and methods continue to evolve. The savvy job hunter will want to prepare for all of the possible interview scenarios. Some of the newer trends will likely continue in 2020 include the following:
- Technology is the cornerstone of today’s interview process. Video interviews have become standard and organizations are increasingly using pre-recording videos as part of the early stage of the interview process. Think of yourself as an amateur video producer and practice several times to make sure that you’re coming across as polished and prepared when speaking.
- More organizations now conduct pre-hire testing to evaluate soft skills and personality. Many of our clients use psychological tests to evaluate executive-level candidates on cultural fit. Be mindful of how you answer questions on these types of tests—be true to yourself, but also consider how the answers might be construed. For example, do you want to come across as someone who works alone in a silo or collaborates well with others?
- The more casual interview contains to gain in popularity. We see these as part of the multi-day executive interview process. Shared meals or coffee with organization leaders give you an opportunity to connect more informally on a personal level. And even though the setting is information, they still require preparation. Your answers to questions will be scrutinized, along with your character and table manners. Put your napkin on your lap! Research your companions before sharing lunch with them; knowing a bit about their reputation and career will assist in communicating with them in a casual setting.
Whatever the interview scenario, preparation will always be the top priority.
Another often overlooked step of the process is follow-up. Always express your thanks for the opportunity at the end of the session. Additionally, follow up with a thank-you email expressing your gratitude and confirming your interest. Don’t forget to send thank you emails to office assistants and receptionists who facilitated your interview. Even if you don’t get the position you interviewed for, you might remain a candidate for another job within the organization.
Written by Kirby Partners, Executive Director, Jocelyn Clarke