Interview Advice

Preparing Yourself For the Unconventional Interview

Unconventional Job Interview

Preparing Yourself For the Unconventional Interview

The unemployment situation has taken a turn for the better recently, as government figures show higher levels of hiring and a declining unemployment rate. But this does not mean that the economic recession is over or that job seekers will finally find some relief. There are still many more applicants out there than there are positions, and people looking for a job will likely face competition from dozens – if not hundreds – others who want the same thing.

Hiring competition means that employers can often have their pick from a long list of qualified candidates. While in theory this can only prove beneficial for a hiring manger, the reality is that the large number of qualified job seekers makes it difficult to distinguish between the good and the best options. If two candidates have stellar resumes, references, and relevant work experiences, how should an employer go about making a hiring decision?

Employers grappling with this question have increasingly placed weight on the interview component of the application process, figuring as they do that this method is best suited to illustrate personality differences between candidates. If two applicants are similarly qualified, after all, a hiring manager wants the one who possesses a personality best suited for the company’s needs. The interview can help flesh these traits out.

For this reason, many employers are using unconventional interview approaches (which test personality traits) rather than traditional ones (which focus more on experience and expertise). An unconventional interview may take place in a restaurant or on a golf course, it may involve questions with no clear answers and queries designed to test a given element of one’s personality.

If you have an unconventional interview planned, you probably may be wondering how best to prepare. This is a valid concern since unconventional interviews are hard to predict. Nevertheless, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

-Have an end-goal. Most applicants walk into an interview with a basic goal – convince the interviewer that they are qualified and suited for the job. These applicants have prepared for their interview with this goal in mind. While you certainly want to convince an employer of your suitability in an unconventional interview, it is perhaps even more important that you display an engaged, committed, and well-rounded personality. What personality do you want to convey? This is an important question to ask before you start preparing.

-Look beyond your core qualifications. If you know your interview will be an unconventional one, this probably means that the employer finds you qualified on paper but wants to assess you in other ways. Consequently, you may benefit in practice by talking about your interests, hobbies, or volunteer opportunities. Preparing answers about your last job or the online degree you received from The College Network may be less necessary.

-Actions speak just as loudly as words. Body language can go a long way towards painting a perception of someone’s personality, whether accurately or erroneously. The way you hold yourself matter in any interview, of course, but it likely carries more weight in an unconventional setting. Make sure, then, to practice your eye contact, your hand usage, your sitting posture, and – of course – your tables manners.

It is only natural to fear the unknown, which is why so many job applicants prefer a traditional interview to a less-predictable unconventional one. But the unconventional interview is usually not a test of your knowledge or your qualifications; instead, it is an employer’s chance to assess you individually, as a person. Preparing for your interview with this in mind will hopefully make it a more successful experience – as well as a less stressful one.

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