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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With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

The Harnham 2019 Data & Analytics Salary Guide Is Here

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our 2019 UK, US and European Salary Guides. With over 3,000 respondents globally, this year’s guides are our largest and most insightful yet.  Looking at your responses, it is overwhelmingly clear that the Data & Analytics industry is continuing to thrive. This has led to an incredibly active market with 77% of respondents in the UK and Europe, and 72% in the US, willing to leave their role for the right opportunity.  Salary expectations remain high, although we’re seeing that candidates often expect 2-10% more than they actually achieve when moving between roles.  Globally, we’ve also seen a change in the reasons people give for leaving a position, with a lack of career progression overtaking an uncompetitive salary as the main reason for seeking a change.   There also remains plenty of room for industry improvement when looking at gender parity; the UK market is only 25% female and this falls to 23% in the US and 21% across the rest of Europe.  In addition to our findings, the guides also include insights into a variety of markets and recommendations for both those hiring, and those seeking a new role.  You can download your copies of the UK, US and European guides here.

Our Top Five Tips For Your Data Scientist Interview

Our Top Five Tips For Your Data Scientist Interview

The role of Data Scientist is one of the most in-demand jobs in the tech world now. But, given that it is still a relatively new job, in a relatively new field, a lot of companies are still struggling to source enough quality candidates for their team. Despite the demand, tech companies are very specific about the candidates they’d like to hire. Passing a Data Science interview can be very tricky, especially considering that businesses are looking for the right technical knowledge, business sense, and culture fit.  With this in mind, here are five key tips for the Data Science interviewing process. By making sure you are prepared for the below, you’ll be able to ensure that you don’t sell yourself short. Have A Concise Overview Of Your Project Experience It’s imperative you prepare an overview of your successful Data Science projects. Hiring Managers aren’t interested in getting into every detail of your completed projects, but they do want to know that you have the right experience. Focus on key factors, highlighting the types of projects you’ve been working on and the successes you had as a result of those projects. Keep your achievements clear and concise. Show Your Communication Skills A good Data Scientist is more than just a good programmer. You need to be able to show that you can translate your findings into insights that can be understood by non-technical people in the business. During your interview, Hiring Managers may test your ability to step away from role-specific language. This is to asses whether you know how to engage with non-technical colleagues and parts of the business who may not understand the value of Data Science to the company. Bring Out Your USPs Companies will potentially be interviewing several candidates for a specific role, so it’s important that you are able to stand out. Consider what you have achieved that your fellow interviewees may not have. One good way to stand out is to have articles published on popular Data Science websites/blogs. From my experience, Hiring Managers see this as a big plus and it makes for a great talking point during the interview process. If you are looking to do this, you should always choose a unique topic and not something that is already explored a lot by others. On a similar note, you could highlight the Data Science projects you’ve achieved outside of work through platforms such as Kaggle.Know Your Computer Science Fundamentals Having a decent knowledge of Computer Science fundamentals, like algorithms is essential, especially if you are interviewing with tech companies. Whilst there are other elements to the role, you can expect questions related to programming, so for a Junior Data Scientist, I’d recommend practicing coding for a few days before your interview (if you are not doing this already in your day to day job). Have An Understanding Of How You’ll Fit In At The Company For some Tech companies, particularly start-ups, cultural fit is just as important, if not more so, than how good you are at coding. They’ll want to understand how you would react to different scenarios at work and whether or not you share the values of their company. For this reason, don’t be surprised to see a few team members join the interview as they look to see how you’ll fit in. Make sure you take a look at the company’s website, read their blogs and articles, and check their social media feeds in advance so that you have a good understanding of what the business is like. Remember, culture is a two-way fit so it’s about making sure the business is right for you, as much as it is right for them. The interviewing process can be tricky but, at Harnham, our expert consultants are here to support you through the entire recruitment process. We will always make sure you are prepared for your interview and will run you though the topics you can expect to come up. If you’re looking to take the next step in your Data & Analytics career, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more. 

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