Project-Based Job Interviews

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If you are looking for a job, you should be aware of and prepared for a new trend in hiring.

When hiring someone, companies traditionally looked at resumes and conducted one or more interviews. But increasingly, these traditional activities of the hiring process are being abandoned in favor of a performance-based evaluation, according to business analyst Michael Schrage.

Companies are asking candidates to work on a project to really show what they can do and how they work with others. Companies can learn more about a candidate from seeing the individual in action than they ever could from a raft of interviews and job references.

So, instead of answering questions such as, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” you will be helping to review a CAD layout, or document a piece of software, or edit a presentation, or produce a webinar, etc.

Some people might think that this is taking advantage of job candidates, using them as free labor. Yet companies have begun this practice because they have realized that no matter how many interviews they do or references they contact, or psychological or skill tests they administer, they won’t really be able to get a clear idea of the real skills a candidate has until he or she is put to the test, Schrage says.  In fact, some advertising agencies will not hire a writer unless they have free-lanced with an account group. A Web company makes its job candidates work on at least two code reviews to see how good they are.

Admittedly, the firms are benefiting from the work and ideas of the people they are evaluating, but the company’s primary aim is not to use them for free labor. It is to give them the opportunity to show their stuff. Moreover, the applicant also gets to find out what it’s really like to work at a particular company.

Some analysts see this as a trend that will only gather steam in the future simply because it is so much more efficient and effective as an evaluation mechanism. They envision companies refining their methods at project-based interviewing by using the Web as a resource. Companies will develop better ways of adapting the performance-based tryouts to fit more tightly into their normal operations, and they will develop better ways of measuring applicants’ performance. Candidates also will become more savvy at learning how to put their best foot forward during their tryout.

Whether you’re an engineering, construction, architecture or IT professional, RealStreet Staffing wants to hear from you. We have many long- and short-term temporary projects as well as direct-hire opportunities with some of Washington, DC’s best firms. Contact us today!

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