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Not Your Grandpa’s Job Interview: Technology Changes the Interview Process

Gone are the days of thumbing through the classified section of the newspaper, circling available job positions, and preparing your resume, envelopes, and stamps. Internet technology, combined with social and business networking, as well as recruiting, has dramatically changed the way companies hire — and the way candidates search for employment.

“If you are openly looking for a position, put your resume up and build yourself a profile. We use the Internet for finding people in a huge way,” said Tim Marsh, senior recruiter for the consulting firm Ivesia Solutions.

Marsh works directly with businesses to fill job slots. They provide him a list of criteria and required job skills, and he screens applicants. He also fields calls from headhunters who job applicants hire to push their resumes to potential employers.

Although there are hundreds of employment sites on the Internet, Marsh said his favorites remain and

Marsh said recruiters know that visitors to Monster are active job seekers who typically have full resumes and are ready to make contact. If you post your resume there, make sure it is ready to be scrutinized.

Marsh suggests that Linked-in is best for building contacts and a network for future job opportunities. However, many job seekers have found Linked-in to also be the best job search engine as well, because it is a smaller community with fluid communication between applicants and employers.

While larger job boards may be bombarded with thousands of applicants, and scam job postings, smaller sites like Linked-in give people the chance to interact personally with each other and really network, rather than send their resume into the dark depths of cyberspace.

Linked-in users can also build their resume on their profile and upload recommendations from employers and co-workers at past jobs.

Posting your resume is just the first change that technology has brought to the hiring process.

The traditional on-site interview is beginning to wane, as well.

With our mobile society — and often restricted travel budgets — many employers are turning to the phone and Internet for initial interviews.

First, a recruiter identifies a candidate and does a screening interview to find out what he or she is truly looking for in a job if relocation is an option, as well as what their skill levels are. Once an applicant is matched with a position, the recruiter completes reference checks and presents the candidate to the hiring company.

Don’t put away your black business suit just yet. At this point in the process, the traditional interview can often return, but sometimes with a twist.

With Skype and other Internet video chat options, there will be a formal interview, but with the interviewer and candidate sitting in different rooms, often hundreds of miles apart.

The distance can mean pitfalls for potential employees. Just because you are not in the room, it doesn’t mean you can breeze through the interview.

“There are times when we can tell what the candidate is doing, even on the phone,” he said. “If we ask a question, we’ve actually had a lull in the conversation, and the applicant was likely Googling the answer.”

Marsh added that video conference-style interviews allow the clients to read all the visual cues they need when talking with and searching for their company’s perfect fit.

Candidates who find themselves staring at a video camera during an interview need to maintain the same posture and attentiveness they would if it was a face-to-face meeting.

Facial expressions are also important. Your expressions can reveal how well you know the answer to a question.

“If a person is confident in an answer they will be very comfortable and go right into the answer,” Marsh said. “If they have to put thought into it, you can read that on their face and see how much they struggled with a particular question.”

Technology may have changed the feel of the interview process, but decorum and good manners remain steadfast.

Marsh, a self-proclaimed “old-school” guy, said the conventional black suit and follow-up thank you notes of yesterday are not totally lost.

“Don’t be fooled by some of today’s companies having a more casual dress code,” he said. “Always shows up dressed properly, because that shows you are taking the interview seriously.”

Post-interview follow-ups are always important as well. Before email, we mailed a thank you note to all who were involved in our interview process. Marsh favors the paper thank you note, but he also said that emails are acceptable.

“It is really up to you,” Marsh said. “Even though some people accept emails, you just never know. So, use your best judgment, and always ask for a business card.”


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