Being Human: How the Interview Process is Evolving

Conor Larkin our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 10/25/2018 8:28 AM
Should we make our interview processes more like a talent show? That’s what a job centre in France thought when they introduced ‘This Is The Job’, an interview more in the style of ‘The Voice’ than a traditional Q&A session. Complete with spinning chairs and buzzers, this ‘technique’ has been swiftly brought to an end following public outcry. 

But whilst it might not be the best idea to base the recruitment process on a popular TV show (let’s not use ‘Bodyguard’ as an inspiration for problem-solving tasks), we are seeing an evolution in how interviews are conducted. Here’s a look at some of the most popular trends we’re seeing businesses apply to their recruitment processes. 

Cultivating a culture 


Perhaps the most significant change we’re seeing at the moment is the increased prominence placed on cultural fit. No longer an afterthought, this is now a make or break factor for most employers. 

Interview panels are looking for a candidate’s personality to come through when they discuss previous projects they’ve worked on. They’re keen to know that they can explain their findings to a wider audience. This includes being open about where they can improve and showing a level of humility. We’ve seen candidates rejected for being overly-defensive when receiving critiques of their technical work. 

Alongside this, businesses are adapting their interviewing techniques to reflect this more human approach. First-round telephone interviews are being replaced by video calls, offering an experience closer to face-to-face. Agencies, in particular, are taking interviews out of the office and into coffee shops, with the ambition of creating a more social interaction. 

All of these changes should mean that both businesses and candidates have a better understanding of what they’re signing up for before an offer is made or accepted. 

Ironing out the creases 


Given the fast pace of working life, finding time to dedicate to an interview process is a challenge for businesses and candidates alike. Fortunately, we’re seeing processes streamlined. 

Whereas we had seen a trend for employers sending out time-consuming tasks to thoroughly test people’s abilities, the amount time required led to delayed processes and candidates dropping out. As a result, businesses are now including technical screenings within the interview itself, alongside short demos, presentations of work and online coding sessions. 

By keeping things simple, we’re now seeing less candidate drop off early in the process. This, alongside combining technical and competency questions, has resulted in a more concentrated, yet just as detailed, way of assessing an applicant’s suitability for a role. 

Getting hands on


Employers have always looked for someone who can walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. Now they’re taking matters into their own hands by requiring candidates to react to real world examples. Most commonly, we’re seeing these take the form of case studies, generally falling into one of two categories:

  • Quantitative, where a relevant business situation and data are provided and need to be addressed. 
  • Conceptual, where there are no figures, and the interviewer is trying to gain an insight into the candidate’s approach and thought processes.

On top of this, we’re beginning to see new methods introduced that test applicants even further. Job Auditions are becoming an increasingly popular way of assessing how well a candidate can perform in a real-world situation. There’s even talk of introducing Virtual Reality to push this idea even further within a controlled simulation. 

Regardless of what the future may hold, companies are clearer than ever with what they’re looking for in the interview process. Don’t be surprised if we continue to see innovations that offer more depth into a candidate’s true behaviour, personality and working styles. 

If you’re on the lookout for a new role, we can support and guide you through the interviewing process. We have a variety of roles in both Junior and Senior positions, both Contract and Permanent. 

Take a look at our latest roles or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to see how we can help you progress you career. 

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The Evolution Of CRM Marketing – A Q&A With Catherine Allan

We recently spoke to Catherine Allan, an Associate Director of CRM at Babylon health, a Digital healthcare service with a mission to put accessible and affordable health service into the hands of everyone.  After starting her career in journalism, Allan moved into Marketing, a seemingly natural transition given her copywriting experience. Given the transformation in technology and the use of Data within Marketing, she has seen the significant impact that it has had within the space.  Reflecting on what attracted her into CRM Marketing in the first place, she explains, “It’s that ability to really get to know the audience, what they look like. You have a very defined group of people that you can look at exactly how they are responding – you can get to know their likes, dislikes and respond to them in ways that you can engage them more. You can keep them working with or using your product or organisation”.  Initially working for Ten Lifestyle Group, her clients varied from travel businesses to large financial brands. Like many at the time, they had their traditional methods but, as would soon become a trend within the industry, they started to change things up. Allan expands, “We started experimenting with CRM with the members of our concierge to see if we could. How much better would those people respond to tailored communication over those who received a newsletter of generic stuff?”. Enter the use of Data to tailor CRM offerings. Their first application was to their travel clients, “If we knew someone had a skiing holiday versus a holiday in September one year, we would follow up the following year. Isn’t it time to pick a holiday?”. It seems natural now, but it signified that shift from the mass-communication to segmented customer profiles.  As Marketing teams became more Data-driven, however, customers had to get used to that change of communication. Allan remembers the shift well, “When I first started in CRM, it wasn’t personalised at all but I started to see that people got more used to you knowing their Data and using it. It became less freaky to show that you knew something about them. At the beginning, we were having to be careful about how much we evidenced that we knew, you couldn’t really say I know you’ve had a Ski Holiday. But over the course of the years people have started to expect that, almost like it would be weird if marketeers didn’t know that. The culture towards that use of Data and personalisation has changed”.   However, she explains, there is a limit, “With what people are expecting from your CRM, there is a scaling to how you present stuff. You don’t want to be creepy, you don’t want to overstep it by knowing too much”.  Now, moving into the health-tech space at Babylon, her work revolves around the products that they have on the market. Everything from applications that allow you to log your mood and sync your wearable tech, through to a health check function where you’re given a digital twin of your body. The use of Data within these products is, of course, on another level. The products produce Data-driven recommendations that are very specific to each users. She explains, “obviously in the Marketing team we don’t have access to people’s health records or any health information which they input into the app. So it’s about finding the right cadence to actually engage people with the product, as well as personalising using the Data we can see, such as demographics. Men and women have different health concerns and they differ for younger and older age groups.” Moving into the health space has opened up a different way of engaging with customers. Allan and her team were able to use their Data and produce newsletters that actually engaged their audience on a wider basis. She expands, “We found great success in sending regular newsletters just about health in general, people love to know how they compare to other people and they also want to know to be empowered to manage their own health”.  Naturally, a company like Babylon feel the pressures of a global pandemic in what their customers expect from them to say and do. This is exactly what Allan’s team are now focused on. “When the pandemic came to the UK, as a healthcare company the first thought for the Marketing team was how can we support our members? What can we offer which is unique to Babylon which will add value. The answer we came to was offering information, guides and videos verified by doctors to counteract all those false stories out there about COVID-19”.  Despite the technology to innovate, with things like interactive emails and unique content, there was still a need to strip things back. As Allan explains, “people are anxious, they are worried, they just want the right information, you’ve already got their attention”.  Her team was responsible for launching this new product to members and developing lifestyle communications, whilst also keeping the members engaged and updated. Naturally, the communication during the pandemic shifted, “We upped our newsletter frequency from twice a month to twice a week for the first three weeks of lockdown, then down to once a week, a cadence which we are still maintaining with no drop off in interest” What were the results of these changes? “Our open rates went up, our click through rates went up and our unsubscribes reduced, although they were very low to start with) We reduced sends to once a week when we felt that there was less to say, which I think was better than continuing to send more and becoming boring. Our results over the last 6 weeks have been off the charts averaging a 34% open rate across the whole base of subscribers vs the 24% we were averaging before.”  It’s clear that regardless of industry, from lifestyle to healthcare, the world of CRM has progressed. The information that we gather on customers is evolving, as is the way that we can speak to those customers too. One thing is clear however, from Allan’s experience, especially in the current circumstances, nothing takes away from a clear message.  If you’re looking for your next CRM role or to build out your team, Harnham may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Webinar: Virtual Recruitment & Onboarding in Times of Change

For our latest LinkedIn Live, we spoke to Alex Kudelka, VP of Revenue at Doodle, Sarah Ogorevc, National Manager, Campus Recruitment at Deloitte Canada, and Nahal Mustafa, Senior Org Development Specialist at Klarna, as well as our own Head of IR, Charlie Waterman. Discussing how tech can support businesses during COVID-19, what this means for hiring and those just joining the workforce, and how you can support and retain your teams during lockdown, this fascinating conversation is well worth a watch for anyone looking to recruit or onboard remotely.  Here's what they had to say:

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