If you're on the job hunt, get ready for some interviewing techniques your mom and dad didn't have to deal with.

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Lots of job candidates are talking lately about slightly unconventional things they had to do at job interviews. Some of these new techniques are geared toward helping the candidate feel comfortable, while others may just totally catch you off guard.

We can thank top companies like Google for some of these new techniques, including asking really bizarre questions; other employers seem to be following their lead.

We can also thank the current state of the economy. You see, companies aren’t necessarily looking for the most capable candidates anymore – they’re looking for candidates that best fit their company.

In a boom, companies can try their hand a several different employees, and know employees who don’t work out will likely soon move on. But these days, employees hang on to their jobs for dear life – because they know it will be difficult or even impossible to find a replacement. That makes employee screening more important than ever before.

So for those of you who are on the job hunt or simply looking for a change of scenery, get ready for some new interviewing techniques your mom and dad didn’t have to deal with.

Group interviews

Apparently the days of one-on-one, straight-to-the-point interviews may be somewhat numbered; group interviews are becoming increasingly popular. You may have to do a panel group interview, where you are interviewed by several members of the company, or a candidate group interview where you and other viable candidates are interviewed for the same job.

Companies are doing this to see how you react with a group already in place or how under pressure with complete strangers. Both help your potential employer decide whether you’d make a good fit in the current environment.

Role playing

If you’re applying for a sales job or any position where you’re dealing with people one-on-one, you may be asked to role play – otherwise known as situational interviewing. This method actually isn’t all that new, but it’s making a serious comeback.

The pretense is simple. The interviewer puts you on the spot to see how you deal with stress. A common example is when an interviewer asks you to “sell me this pen,” where you have to convince them that you can not only handle pressure, you can also sell their products or services.

Interviews in public places

Don’t be surprised if your potential employer asks you to meet them at Starbucks, a Marriott hotel lobby or McDonald’s. Companies want to see how you act in public.

They then take that as an indication of how you will interact with others within the company’s already established culture. They’re particularly likely to schedule a public interview if you’re applying for a field position, B2B or outside sales.

Skype interviews

This is one your mom and dad definitely didn’t need to prepare for. Fortunately, young professionals are quick to catch on to technology. This is going to seriously help us as Skype interviews are quickly replacing phone interviews.

Not only are Skype interviews cost effective for the company, they also give interviewers a chance to see you in person. Unfortunately, like with all things technological, you can expect hiccups like fuzzy transmission or slow internet connections. However, there are things you can do to make sure you ace a Skype interview.

Interviews may be getting more intense and creative, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still rock them. With enough research and preparation, you’ll be able to handle almost anything an interviewer throws at you.

Amanda Abella is a personnel administrator for a Miami-based employment agency and a freelance writer. She also runs Grad Meets World, a popular Gen Y blog where she discusses health, career, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and more.


  1. Tom Gimbel

    I could not agree more, Amanda. Interviews today are truly going in a new direction to ensure candidates not only fit the job description, but the company culture as well. When we interview candidates internally, we have them meet with multiple members of our staff to ensure they understand our culture and want to be a part of it. This also allows us to test their company fit. If an employee doesn’t like a candidate, we don’t hire them. It’s as simple as that.

    • Amanda Abella

      Yes we’ve noticed this among many of the companies that we work with. It’s also making the process go on longer than ever before which is frustrating to many of our candidates. Some may complain but I think companies are taking the necessary precaution given the state of the economy.

    • Daniel Wathen

      How can any fit into a new culture if they haven’t first had the time and opportunity to be immersed in it? I lived and worked a long period overseas in some very diverse cultures and it took time to adapt. Adaptability is what should be measured…but in the short span of an interview, that is really impossible to determine. An introverted individual may well adapt to a particular culture quite well, but they may warm to it slowly but get low points in the interviewer’s judgment, whereas an extrovert may do extremely in the eyes of an interviewer, but in reality may be extremely inflexible toward real adaptation to company culture – but guess who got hired in the end?

      In my experience, most HR and sociologists spent too much time in school and never experienced people near and far; never got at the level of the nitty-gritty and are thoroughly unqualified to guesstimate a stranger’s character. It is most unfortunate that they remain employed as company gatekeepers. All too often, the wrong people get hired because HR has the wrong paradigm. And, I say all this having been one of the guys from the top! I’m rather disgusted by it all.

    • K.R.

      As nice as it is to have someone in an office that everyone likes, the reality is different. You can’t get along with everyone, and in any workplace there are coworkers that will annoy you, and coworkers whom you will annoy. Part of being a professional is learning to put that aside and do you job. Again, it is great to get along with your coworkers, but ultimately you’re not there to be everyone’s friend; you’re there to do your job. To not hire someone that one employee doesn’t like but might be a good candidate in every other respect is shortsighted.

  2. david perry

    Facebook, like LinkedIn is a tool that headhunters have been using for several years now with great success. But like any tool it can be miss used.

    The difference between having a knife in the hands of a skilled physician vs a butcher — is literally life and a death.

    The people who need to be cautious are not only job hunters but employers as well, as many HR professionals are not trained psychologists who can make judgements based on superficial data points, and that may – no will – cause them to passover many highly creative types that don’t fit their potentially ridged view of their company’s culture.

    LinkedIn has become – for many, a superficial veneer erected to be found by recruiters and hiring managers. I know because I wrote guerrilla marketing for job hunters 3.0 and the first 2 volumes with that objective in mind. I’m a headhunter by vocation.

    Facebook on the other hand has been most people’s private diary. At one point 2 years ago most professional recruiters could use Facebook to get a snap-shot of a person’s interests that would allow the them to open a dialogue with a potential recruit with some common ground between them in the hope of engaging them in a conversation and finding out more about them. It was just a data point – 1 among many the recruiter would use to start a discussion.

    HR departments on the other hand use it as a tool to screen people out. Wrong use of the technology AND while they think it’s saving them time – it’s really hurting their ability to attract people who may be öriginal” thinkers. Corp execs need to take control and implement a policy on this now before all their new hires are “plain vanilla'” drones who add nothing to the business but dead weight. Unfortunately most HR doesn’t get it. It’s not about saving money hiring people – it’s about hiring the best people because that grows your business. HR uses the tool to screen people out not discover what makes them to tick to open a dialogue and invite interaction and understanding. Applicant tracking systems haven’t made anyone’s life any better… they’ve caused more problems.

    HR departments who use Facebook as a screening tool alone will fail…

  3. Anonymous

    thanks for nice tips! i will certainly try to do all these things before the the interview! http://ti-albums.net/

  4. Rita Ragev

    Lots of companies are adopting online interview methods and it going fame to all over the world. But to find a wright JOB where you can grow your self professionally and financially it is little hard for the JOB Seekers. But keep trying its better for all.

  5. Peggy McKee

    Here’s a video on how to crush in the panel or group interview:

    Best of Luck,
    Peggy McKee

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