We are on the trail to understand the changes that are taking place in the IT industry’s job market.
Smaller/shorter resumes are already preferred by many employers. Head on over to our previous article in this series if you haven’t already to check out the details and sample of a 1 or 2 page resume.
This article is going to be on interviews. There are two (or may be three) things we will talk about here (of course, with plenty of samples and examples).
- Written Tests
- Virtual face-to-face interviews
- Presentation based interviews
Let’s move to details now. Here goes:
#1. Written tests:
Now, you might argue that this is not exactly an interview and this in one of the screening steps. And yes. I agree. For a while now, I almost thought this mode of screening is lost but no, it reappears and flourishes.
Coming to testers, this is more applicable to automation testers. You might be given a situation and told to write an automation test to understand your expertise in this area. It also makes sense that this mode of screening be used, because knowing coding/programming is a totally different aspect to being able to develop logic on the go.
Few things to keep in mind here:
#1. Some of the options may be disabled. For example: you may be asked to not record and create the test from scratch using programming alone.
#2. Somebody (interviewer) must be either on the conference watching you as you code. Otherwise, your sessions might be recorded and be played back to whoever is making the hiring decision.
#3. The sessions are mostly time bound.
#4. Be aware that the software version might be newer or older to what you might be comfortable with
#5. It would be great if you are able to achieve the result in the time set to you. However, when that does not happen, try your best to show case your analytical reasoning and strategy behind choosing the methods that you did. The idea is to show that the path is right and with time and little more effort it would lead you to your destination.
#6. Display good coding/programming standards. Include comments, headings, indentations, etc.
#7. Don’t be shy to check out the help files from the IDE (for syntax, may be), but avoid Google searches. Most companies disable internet access while the test is in progress. But even if they don’t, show your integrity by not seeking external help and shortcuts.
#8. Save your work as you go.
It is very rare for manual testing positions to have a written test as screening. However, when I was recruited on campus as a fresher into IT, I had to take a test that had objective questions on basic vocabulary, arithmetic and analytical/logical reasoning. That might still be prevalent.
So, keep a look out for a written test, we never know when this might make its appearance and take us by a surprise.
#2. Video or virtual face to face interviews:
If you have been in the job market recently, you know how common this is. To brief, it is the interviewer and interviewee meeting up at a scheduled time over webcam and online meeting sites to conduct the interview over the internet.
The same rules that apply to a face-to-face interview apply here too. In addition, there are few other pointers or interview etiquette aspects that have to be kept in mind.
Some of them are:
#1. Be on time. Agree on how and when you are going to meet. Decide who is going to call whom. Install software/create social network accounts ahead of time
#2. Lot of times we see people in movies/ads/media attending online meetings while dressed in a formal shirt and beach shorts. That might not be a smart move here. Dress the way you would for an in person interview. Firstly, this prevents any accidental embarrassing situations. Secondly, it can set your mind into the interviewee-mode.
#3. Eye contact communicates confidence. Remember the eye here is the webcam/camera. When answering, make sure you look straight into the camera and not the eye of the person on the other side.
#4. Make sure there is no background noise
#5. Also, make sure that the frame that gets displayed to the interviewer is clear, clutter free and something that will not steal the focus away from you.
#6. Check connection status and seek confirmation if the audio/video is functional before beginning.
#7. If desired, you could do a trial run with a friend or create a video/audio recording to check what is working and what’s no
#3. Presentation based interviews:
Sometimes with virtual interviews, the focus/engagement of the interviewer is disturbed or limited due to the spatial limitation. To avoid such situations, sometimes interviewees are told to prepare presentations about their recent/relevant projects to make sure that not only are the interviewers listening about the project but they also watching and participating in the presentation. This is fairly a new technique but I do foresee an increase in this model.
The advantage to the interviewee when this mode of interview is asked for is:
- Advance prep time- use this wisely.
- Great opportunity to show case you communication and presentation skills.
- You could also show your initiative, leadership and confidence. Think of it as a chance to show how you would handle the first task presented to you at work.
A few tips for presentation based interviews:
Tip #1: Keep it short. Ask the interviewer how long this presentation is to last. 5 to 10 minutes if the norm but this could change.
Tip #2: Do not use distracting colors, keep it simple. White background with blue characters is best in my opinion. Do not include any confidential information, like company logo containing screenshots(screenshots can help make the presentation engaging but do be careful) or DB user ID passwords etc from another project/client.
Tip #3: Be sure to keep it light, in other words keep it portable. Don’t make a heavy memory presentation that cannot be sent via email. You don’t normally have to send it to anyone, but just in case.
Tip #4: MS PowerPoint is a good option to create these presentations, but that is not the only one. Use what is best for your project. Excel sheets, on the fly writing on the screen, word documents, PDFs are all good formats. Remember, Content over format. Therefore, choose wisely.
Tip #5: Do not create a cluttered presentation. Use it as pointers that you can build on and talk more about. But don’t try to jam all the content into one slide/page.
=> Check out a sample in the attachment: (Click on below file to download)
As you can see, this is pretty simple. You can easily add more or remove some as need be. I prefer to let my words do the talking rather than the slide replacing me altogether.
With this, we conclude the new trends series and hope that we have helped you catch on with the current market hiring situation.
All the very best to you job seekers and we hope to hear your thoughts/questions on this series. Please let us know how we did.