How to Handle New Unexpected Interview Types: Job Simulation / In-Box Exercise Interviews
Be prepared - you could encounter a Job Simulation / In-Box Exercise Interview. Perhaps you will get lucky and sail through your interview process never seeing anything more challenging than 1-2 interviews, a single interviewer, and a few tough questions. But, you could be in for something altogether different and unexpected, in which case, forewarned is forearmed!
Here are a few "different" types of interviews you need to be aware of:
- Case Method Interviews / Fishbowl Interaction Activities
- Puzzle Interviews
- Speed Interviews
- Chronological In-Depth Structured (CIDS) Interviews
- Job Simulations / In-Box Exercises (below)
- Videoconference Interviews
- Auditions / Group Interviews
What is a Job Simulation / In-Box Exercise Interview:
The concept of “try before you buy” is never more evident in interviewing than in job simulations or in-box exercises.
By putting you to the test and having you actually perform in the job with mock assignments frequently termed “job simulations” or “in-box exercises,” an employer can gain a strong sense of whether you can walk the talk and be a talented employee.
What this means to you:
As this method of interviewing becomes more frequently used, it will not matter what level of job you are seeking. In short, all job seekers should be prepared to prove themselves in a day-in-the-life simulation.
You should be excited by this opportunity because you do not have to be a good interviewee. Rather, you just have to be good at what you do.
It will be important that you work toward honing your ability to provide optimal performance, follow directions, exercise smart decision-making and prioritization skills, and meet the assigned goals in the time provided.
Most often a simulation can involve answering a series of emails and/or phone calls relevant to the targeted position.
The best strategy is for you to request access to company policy and procedures and/or a job manual before beginning (if available). Then, use a strong dose of common sense when you are unsure of how to respond to an issue, take good and thorough notes, and make record of important data.
Lastly, even if you do something wrong, it doesn’t have to signify the end of the opportunity for you. Stay open to the feedback that is provided to you, even taking notes and asking questions.
I can personally attest to failing miserably at my first job interview as a desktop publisher because I had never used the software the company used. However, I was eager, open-minded, took those notes, and asked questions. They realized I could learn a program with all the others I already knew, and hired me anyway!
So, don’t give up when things seem to go wrong! Remember, employers frequently hire people they like and who they believe will fit in over those who are a perfect technical fit but not a personality fit.
How common are job simulations and in-box exercises in interviews? In a poll conducted by Career Directors International as a part of their annual Career Industry Expert Trends, 22% of surveyed human resource professionals worldwide stated that they had used or planned to use this type of interview.
© Copyright Laura DeCarlo 2010. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
About this author: Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s "career hero" making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International. She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; 7 first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX, Interviewing: The Gold Standard, and Job Search Bloopers. Follow Laura on Twitter; username: @careerhero.