What’s Your Interview Style?

Most managers settle on their own style of interviewing but is it wise to have just one approach?

If you’re responsible for hiring IT personnel, whether you work for a tech firm or are responsible for recruitment within the IT department, getting the interview right could be crucial to employing the right person for your team. Now, we’ll do our very best to help source the best suited and most well skilled candidates, but it’s down to you to make the final decision, and the type of interview you prepare for your eager new candidates is vital for providing you with the information you need to make this decision.


Regardless of the route you take with your interviewing no doubt there will be a traditional face-to-face interview involved somewhere along the line. There are options here too; maybe you’re happy using Skype, or perhaps you’d like to get other managers involved in the process and conduct a panel style interview? However you choose to conduct this stage of interview it’s a fundamental step that allows you to meet candidates and assess their ability to fit within the culture of your team and organisation as a whole. However, here are some explanations, tips and examples of some of the most popular IT interview styles.

Scenario Testing
Scenario testing involves creating a scenario that the candidate is likely to face in their role to test their skills and how they deal with the situation. Ideally there’d be five characteristics to scenario testing; 1 – there needs to be a story that is; 2 – motivating; 3 – credible; 4 – complex; and 5 – easy to evaluate. In some interviews you may choose to use test cases, which tend to be a single step, but the scenario test covers a number of steps that would be involved somehow in the ‘business process flow’ and tests a situation from end to end.

Technical Testing
Technical interviewing will usually be specific to your business or function and will depend entirely on what your organisation does, the programmes and software it uses and the role in which you are recruiting for. However, it’s not at all unusual for an IT interview to include some form of technical testing. Presenting candidates with a diagram or snippet of code for analysis would test how they put their knowledge into action but also should give you an insight into their thought process and how they approach tasks or problems.

Competency Based
Competency based questions delve into a candidate’s story based evidence to support claims of experience or expertise. Generally interviewers will ask ‘tell me about a time when…’ or “give me an example of…” questions. They’re a great opportunity to understand the context and application of skills and experience seldom learnt from a CV. Also, questions like ‘how have you succeeded in a team project’ will allow you to find out more about the candidate’s personality, professional style and likes and dislikes. 

Portfolio Based
Interviews for certain roles may benefit from the candidate presenting a portfolio of work. Particularly in web design or more creative roles.

Our expert IT recruitment consultants are here to take the pressure off you when recruiting someone new, permanent or contract. We liaise with candidates with the utmost care to ensure that their candidate experience is a positive one. Call us on 0207 788 6600 and let us help you Recruit Someone Worth Recruiting.


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The Importance of Updating Job Titles & Descriptions

When was the last time you reviewed your company job titles and descriptions (and I mean all of them)? Maybe it’s not top of your list right now, but it’s good practice to have a process for making sure there is regular review of both job titles and job descriptions.

Lets begin with job titles. It goes without saying that they need to be clear and easy for those in the industry to understand, and in technical roles this is often of even more importance. General consensus is that being familiar and specific without being too general is the best route to take. However, perhaps you are a young company in the media or new technology sector and you want to attract individuals with new ideas and a bit of an edge? In this case you might want to adapt the strategy of firms such as Apple, who name their in-store technical support teams ‘Geniuses’ or Starbucks who have used ‘Coffee Master’ as a title for some of their customer service members. These kind of titles are fun and give the employee a sense of pride in what they do while helping the customer to trust them. This isn’t going to work for everyone so before you start renaming your team as ‘Digital Dynamos’ and ‘Ninja Analysts’ think about your company culture and the personality of the personnel you’re aiming to hire.

Job titles are key for a number of reasons. As well as outlining responsibilities, they can be used for setting goals and measuring performance. Long standing roles may have been filled by one person for many years with them assuming new responsibilities or leaving out tasks that didn’t work as well. Or you may have seen a number of people in and out of the same role, each taking a slightly different slant on the position. Both instances would leave the original job description outdated and not fit for purpose.

If any problems were to occur, from either your point of view, or that of the employee the job description may well be referred to. Strict adherence to an outdated job description by the employee would of course be counter productive and could help the employee in filling a complaint or grievance. An up to date and accurate job description however could work in your defense or favour. A great time to update job descriptions is during an employee’s annual review, but do it more often if you need to – this might be the case if you’re a growing or changing organisation. Regularly use it and refer to it, this way you’ll be more likely to keep it up to date.

Keep job descriptions as short as possible, you don’t want them to be an operational manual on how to do the job, but you do want to them to include all the vital skills and competencies. As well as skills and qualifications, competencies are just as important and highlight aspects such as teamwork, leadership and communication. Rather than simply stating that the individual must be a ‘good communicator’ be more specific and expand a little on the most important areas.

You’re shaping your organisation with your job titles and descriptions, which tasks are covered by which employees and what is expected of everyone. Make sure you have strong job descriptions and that you make time to ensure they’re accurate and up to date, and if you can, incorporate them into day-to-day business.