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Research Findings On The Job Interview

Interested in some job interview research findings?

On Tuesday I shared results of a recent social and career networking survey. If you missed that post, you probably need to go back and read that for context. Because it includes information on methodology and limitations of the original survey.

Results from the last three questions on the survey are being released today. And they were focused on job interview research.  Questions asked of former or current hiring managers.

And I’ll be curious as to your reaction to these job interview research results. Because interviewing for a job is already a tough part of the search process. And any learnings from research should be tapped to help us all do a better job. On both sides of the table.

Since there were only three questions, this should go pretty quick. And, same as yesterday’s results, I’ll provide general results followed by the cross-generational results for each job interview research question.

Here are the job interview research results:

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I’ll be curious to your feedback here. Because these results are pretty clear. These results say that there are two key things a hiring manager is looking for during an interview.  “Fit with our culture” and “Passion and excitement for the position”. Note that this is not “physical energy” but rather an energy in the voice and a clear and demonstrated interest in the role. Of course I think this assumes that they are happy with the basic qualifications from a resume review. I was surprised by “Great stories” being so low on the list but that may have more to do with a fear that stories are fabricated vs. an engaging way to share how you’ve had a positive impact on prior companies. A longer version of your accomplishment statement.

Generational results:

While “fit with our culture” was #1 for all age groups, “passion and excitement for the position” (#2 overall) was especially important for 38-47 (75%) and 48-57 (61.2%) whereas all other ages were below 50% for this answer.  “Specific match with job description” was most important for anyone 48+ displaying perhaps a more traditional view of the hiring process.  “Physical energy” was only of interest to ages 28-37 (13.3%).  48-57 was the only age group looking for “the best answers to my questions” (22.4%).

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These results make sense to me.  And I’m glad to see them.  Because I think “relaxed but professional” allows both parties to participate in a good environment.  One that lets each person’s real self out in the open.  So that you are not interviewing or being interviewed by a stereotype.  I still wonder whether we can move to a business casual interview.  For the right environment.

Generational results: Not a lot of variation here by age, but “social and comfortable” was strongest with 28-37 (13.3%).

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If you are job seeker or career coach, you might disagree with the suggested direction here.  You might say that email is a follow-up method that doesn’t allow you to stand out.  Or you may believe that a more personal, hand written thank you note is the right move here.  But the results say that “only once-by email” is preferred overall.  And just one of them.  But close behind is “multiple OK – by email”.  Is that because email is easy to ignore or delete?  Or just a more modern communication method (vs. quill and parchment).

Generational results: Interesting results here as anyone 47 and below had a stronger preference for “only once-by email” where 48+ allowed for “multiple OK – by email”.  The opposite of what I would expect.  “Multiple OK – Variety of methods OK” was also preferred by those 48+.  Not sure how to read that one . . .

So, again, as with the results from the prior post.  I’d love to get your feedback and reactions.  Do you agree or disagree with the job interview research findings?

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Job Interview Tips

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