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Interviews

What is a Working Interview?

We’ve discussed in-depth the differing types of interviews throughout this site.  Interviews remain the absolute best way to land a job offer at your dream company.  A traditional interview allows you to meet with the recruiter or hiring manager in a one-on-one basis and to review your resume and your relevant skills and qualifications.

A traditional interview typically lasts between thirty-minutes to one-hour.  However, many people find that such a short timespan may not be sufficient enough to fully understand and get-to-know the candidate.  That is why there is a growing rise in working interviews.  So, what is a working interview?

A working interview is an opportunity for the candidate or applicant to prove and showcase their skills to the interviewer.  Typically lasting for one-day, a working interview will have the candidate perform tasks and roles of the position under the supervision and guidance of the interviewer.  The interviewer will be able to assess the candidate’s skills and abilities and be able to better determine their qualifications.

Great For Interviewer’s

A working interview is a great way for interviewers to assess a candidate’s abilities.  It provides them with a direct, first-hand view into the candidate’s capabilities and ability to complete and accomplish the responsibilities of the role.  In addition, by conducting a working interview, the interviewer is able to see how the candidate interacts and communicates with colleagues, coworkers, clients, and customers.

The working interview arrangement is extremely helpful for interviewers in being able to assess candidate’s skills and to make a more informed hiring decision.  The working interview is a direct reflection of the candidate’s abilities and gives the interviewer a sense of the candidate and what they can expect from the candidate if they were to be hired full-time.

Great For Candidate’s

However, a working interview can also be helpful and beneficial for the candidate in a number of ways.  Primarily, it offers the candidate a unique opportunity to showcase their skills and abilities.  A candidate that is confident in their abilities and qualifications should look forward to a working interview to allow themselves to prove their skills and knowledge.

In addition, the working interview allows the candidate to get a feel for the company and the work environment.  Don’t forget that an interview is a two-way street.  Both the interviewer and the candidate are interviewing one-another.  The opportunity to conduct a working interview will allow the candidate to have a more intimate sense of the work environment, their potential colleagues and coworkers, the clients and customers, and their managers.  This detail will allow the candidate to make a more informed decision as to whether they would like to move forward with the process or not.

Lastly, a working interview gives the candidate a chance to peek into the company culture.  By working directly with others, even for a brief day, the candidate can get a feel and understanding of the company’s culture and working hierarchies.  This detail is invaluable and can sway a candidate’s decision on whether or not to continue with the interview process.

How-To Prepare?

From an interviewer’s perspective, preparations should be made prior to the candidate’s arrival.  The candidate should be treated with respect and as any other employee.  You should make a conscious effort to introduce the candidate to their colleagues and coworkers and should have a dedicated workspace available for them.  All of the candidate’s tools and needs to complete the job should be readily available and accessible so no time is wasted or lost.

In addition, you should ensure that the candidate has a good sense of what to expect and what the expectations are.  Keep open and direct communication with the candidate leading up to the working interview.  Advise them on proper and appropriate dress and what they should bring with them.  Don’t forget, the candidate is also interviewing you and the company to determine if they would like to work there as well!

From a candidate’s perspective, you should treat the working interview as you would any other interview.  Be sure to arrive early, accounting for traffic and potential delays.  You should also dress well, ensuring that your clothes are clean, wrinkle-free, and fitted.  Though you may not need to wear business formal, you should dress to impress.  Bring along a professional notepad and pen to take notes and don’t be afraid to ask specific questions to understand the nuances of the role.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, place your phone on silent mode.  A working interview is a direct assessment of your capabilities and skills.  You don’t want to be seen on your phone or wasting time, which can affect your chances at landing the job offer.

In addition, be sure to take your own notes and opinions on the company, the staff, and the managers.  A working interview goes both ways and you should assess whether or not you see yourself working at the company and enjoying being there.  Be sure to write down a list of pros and cons which you can reference at the end of the day.

What About Pay?

As we discussed above, communication is key here.  The interviewer should discuss with the candidate an appropriate pay-rate or per diem for their work.  The pay must meet the minimum wage threshold.  All communication should be documented, which is why email works so well here.  In addition, the candidate will need to fill out either a W-4 or an I-9.

Conclusion

Working interviews can be a great way for both the candidate and the interviewer to get a better sense of one-another.  It offers a more intimate situation than a traditional interview, where the candidate and interviewer can assess one-another and determine if it is a good fit.

Communication is key and absolutely vital to a good working interview session.  Always discuss any and all concerns or questions before the working interview and do not be shy to ask questions.  As always, be sure to send a thank you email after the working interview, showing your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and dedication through the process.

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