Business interview

Latest Trends in Interview Questions:
The “It” Factor is the “Fit” Factor

Business interview

At the end of a presentation on “Interviewing Secrets” I delivered to a women’s professional networking group, I threw in some last minute comments on the latest trends in interviewing questions. To my surprise, this portion of the presentation received the most attention. I heard from 25 percent of the attendees, weeks after the presentation, including journalists and a highly-regarded life coach: the concept of there being “trends in interviewing questions” and the specific questions that were being used by companies were notions these people had not considered. Imagine.

Remember when standard interview questions included: “If you were an animal, which animal would you be?” or “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” Those questions gave some insight into which attributes were important and valuable to that particular individual. Those types of questions were asked when the economy was expanding. The individual contributor was evaluated by what he or she could bring to a business. Compensation and other financial considerations and costs weren’t as highly scrutinized as they would be during difficult economic circumstances. That was a different time from now.

What’s Different?

The newer trend questions make sense in an uncertain economy when so many are unemployed, businesses are being very careful about spending, and younger business owners, from Generation X’ers and younger, have been shown to care much more about group dynamics than their predecessors. With an overabundance of well-qualified candidates, how does an employer choose?

In an uncertain economy, an organization wants to ensure that the candidate hired will remain with the organization and fit in with those employees already there. A company hopes to avoid hiring, training, and investing in an employee, only to have that person leave or be “let go” within a short period of time for failing to “suit” the culture. How to increase the odds that the new hire will have some longevity at an organization? Business owners in their 30s, for example, want to replicate the environment they became comfortable with early on, one that fosters a closely-knit team.

Fit, Is It

That’s where the new interview questions can help, addressing “the potential for a good fit” for a business. “We know the person can do the job, but how will they succeed in our environment? How can we make a decision about hiring the right candidate while decreasing the risk that they will leave the organization soon after the company has invested in them? “ That’s what the responses to these questions hope to answer.

Examples of Questions

Some examples of the “trendier” questions used may seem silly or unusual, but for the company that’s asking them, the responses are extremely useful for determining that potential fit. For instance, “On a scale of 1-10, how lucky do you consider yourself?” Or “On a scale of 1-10, how in control of your destiny do you feel you are?” Other examples are “On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you?”, “What values in an organization do you hold above all others in importance?” Or “Can you describe the type of work environment that you think will increase your potential to have a positive impact on the company overall? “

Which Companies Are Using These Questions

Who uses these questions? Companies like Zappos, Netflix, West and East-Coast based technology firms, some businesses whose owners have gone through WIBO’s (Workshop In Business Opportunities) 16 week training course, and many of my retained search client companies are using “fit-focused” questions in their interviewing . Many do it along with testing to increase the odds of a “good” hire.

So, next time you think there’s nothing new in the world of interviewing, you may want look at other trends that are changing and why, and think again.

If you are a professional woman who has questions about interviewing and are considering a career change in today’s market, you can register for a workshop, “Trying It On For Size-Using Your Skills To Transform Your Career.” The workshop is a networking and group career coaching session divided into three separate topics for less than half the price of an individual hour of career coaching. For additional information, please contact coaching@susangoldbergsearch.com .

Susan Goldberg’s company, SGES, conducts retained senior level executive searches for businesses and provides career coaching for both executives and recent college graduates. Her website is www.susangoldbergsearch.com and Susan can be contacted at info@susangoldbergsearch.com

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