While the interview will always be part of the applicant selection process, other techniques are often used to help screen out those who may not have the intrinsic qualities that would make them a good fit for a position.  By using unconventional tactics, recruiters are able to gain additional insight into the tech candidates they are considering.

The Discrete Instruction

When interviewed, most candidates will state that they are able to follow instructions well.  In order to test if that is truly the case, some application materials or interview confirmation emails will include a subtle instruction designed to see if the applicant has thoroughly read the content of the message.  This is particularly prevalent in situations where the majority of the initial contact is completed online.

Common techniques include listing a particular keyword at the beginning of a cover letter, or a request that a precise number of copies of the applicant’s resume be given to the receptionist upon checking in.  While failure to follow the instruction may not remove you from consideration, it will likely be noted by those participating in the selection process.

The Request for Assistance

If providing support to customers is part of the job, the hiring manager may include a quick test as part of the interview process.  This could include having another employee of the company requesting assistance on a basic task, such as picking up a dropped item or holding a door.  The purpose is not to determine if you are capable of performing the action.  Instead, it is designed to gauge your response to being asked for assistance.

The Pop Quiz

While most applicants can confidently speak to their abilities during an interview, being able to actually perform the tasks may not be so easy.  Interviewers may ask applicants to solve real problems or may setup a simulation to gain a better understanding of a candidates available to perform under pressure.

This could include identifying errors in coding written across a white board, requesting a network drawing overview be drawn to fit a theoretical new installation, or a question and answer session designed to model the process of gathering business requirements for a software project.

Unconventional scenarios may also be included.  For those providing technical support over the phone, the applicant may be asked to provide instructions to complete a simple jigsaw puzzle to other in the room without being able to physically demonstrate the correct method of completion.

Finally, an interviewer may ask questions regarding certain portions of the business’s operations, such as explaining the primary product or service offering, and asking how the applicant’s skills will make that pursuit more efficient.  Not only does this measure their knowledge of the business, or potentially interest in the overall industry, it asks for an explanation as to how you they personally help move that product forward within the marketplace through unique contributions.

Making a Final Selection

While unconventional techniques can provide insight into a candidate’s capabilities, they are only part of what makes an applicant a potentially good fit.  No screening mechanism can take the place of industry experience that ensures the right questions are asked.

If you are looking to hire within the IT industry, or would like to be considered as a candidate for placement, ITStaff has the experience necessary to help ensure that only the best candidates are submitted for consideration.  Contact ITStaff today!

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