How To Prepare For Job Interview Challenges

By Amit Chauhan
When it comes to entry-level positions, a resume can only tell so much about a candidate.With somewhat limited previous experience, employers need better ways to get to know the new, tech-savvy digital generation that is entering the workforce. For this reason, employers are finding new ways to engage with and get to know candidates before hiring them.

One of the ways they are doing this is by providing candidates with interactive challenges or tests. These can tell employers a lot about candidates and what their true abilities are.

As a job seeker, you need to understand what these challenges are, why companies are using them, and how to ace them:

What is a job interview challenge?

Challenges, or tests, are short projects that candidates are given by potential employers. They are used as a way to give employers a good idea of the candidate’s proficiencies and competencies.

Depending on the type of position you’re applying for, they may require you to write an article or press release, develop a marketing pitch, list technology devices and their capabilities, or design a logo. They generally don’t take more than a couple hours to complete.

Why do employers use job interview challenges?

Hiring a single candidate can cost upwards of $10,000, so companies want to make sure their hires are a good fit. Resumes can only tell employers so much about a candidate, so they utilize things like job interview challenges to get beyond the piece of paper.

Job interview challenges allow employers to determine a candidate’s technical skills for the job, as well as see their personality and ability to respond to problems. These challenges are generally very similar to actual work that the role would require, so employers are able to get an all-encompassing view of a candidate before hiring them.

What you need to know about job interview challenges

Aside from getting to know your hard skills, these challenges can also tell employers about your “soft skills.” Soft skills are different from the technical skills you learn in school and need to know in order to complete a project. Soft skills describe the way you communicate, your critical thinking abilities and attitude toward challenging work.

According to the Talent Shortage Survey, nearly one in five employers worldwide can’t fill positions because they can’t find people with soft skills. Therefore, it is extremely important that you remain mindful of not only how well you complete these challenges, but also how you’re presenting yourself before, during and after you complete them

Show off your strong communication abilities by making sure to connect with the employer about the challenge, and if it makes sense, update them on where you’re at with it and when it will be completed. If something unexpected comes up, make sure you keep a positive attitude to show that you can handle any challenges that arise.

How to prepare for job interview challenges

  • Pick a good time to start. Make sure to set aside plenty of uninterrupted time to complete the challenge. You need to put your best work forward to prove you are the right candidate for the position.
  • Do your research. Don’t start the challenge until you have a good understanding of the company and what they do. It is likely that the challenge will not only test your skills, but also your comprehension and knowledge about the industry and the company.
  • Get the details. Ask the employer what they are looking for with challenge responses and if there are any additional details you need to be mindful of. This will not only show that you are comfortable asking questions when needed, but also you are taking the challenge seriously.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Prove you are up to the challenge by showing your enthusiasm for the task. Don’t go overboard, but do small things like finishing ahead of time or sending out a tweet about how neat the challenge is.
  • Tap your professional connections. If it is allowed and possible, tap one of your trusted connections to review your work and make sure it is perfect. You should also ask for their feedback to ensure you’re submitting your best work.

The next time you’re applying to a company that utilizes some form of challenges, make sure you keep these tips in mind.

What are you experience with challenges or test from employers? Share your experiences and additional tips below!

Image courtesy of Flickr

 

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