It used to be so much easier to find a good job. If you were college-educated, you could reasonably expect to find employment without too much pain and effort. Nowadays, life is very different. The competition is brutal. Candidates vying for the same job you want are highly skilled and may have oodles of experience – often more than you. Your competition is no longer on a level playing field with you – other applicants may include people you’d never even dreamed of before – they could be former Ambassadors or Rhodes scholars who speak five languages. It’s no longer out of the realm of possibility. It’s a tough economy and everybody needs a job…
So, what can you expect in the “new normal” job hunt? Here are 4 common interview practices that are becoming commonplace in today’s job market:
1. Merry-Go-Round Interviews. You will never interview with just one person – expect multiple interviews. In fact, it seems like the new norm is to get consensus from literally everyone who will be reporting to you or to whom you will be reporting. You may even interview with people that you will never have a reporting relationship with. Six to a dozen or more interviews is not out of the ordinary.
2. Homework. Depending on the type of job you are seeking, you may be asked to prepare a marketing plan or a sales forecast or even a strategic plan for a non-profit or a certain department. Don’t expect to get paid for your work product from your homework assignment. Prepare for your ideas to be implemented – whether you get the job or not.
3. Tests. If you thought that tests were over after you graduated, think again. You may be asked to take a Myers-Briggs type of personality assessment test or even a mathematics or logic test. Since many of these tests are standardized, your test may have nothing to do with the skills required for the position you are applying for. So, break out your college math textbooks and study up, even if you want a job in public relations! Last word of caution on job employment testing: many of these tests are timed so be ready to complete the test before the clock runs out.
4. Silence. The last thing to expect is actually what NOT to expect – a response. Sad, but true – silence is actually your rejection letter. Rarely are rejection letters, email or even calls made to anyone at ANY LEVEL. Beware executives: the higher the position, the more chances you will learn of the selected candidate from a press release, which definitely adds salt to the wound.
What things have you experienced in a recent job interview that surprised you?