ICL Services
4 March 2020


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New job: when you go to interviews like it's your home... is there an end in sight?

Despite the high competitive environment, many IT companies are very strict when it comes to the candidate selection process, dividing it into multiple stages. Employers resort to testing, assessments, hackathons, business cases, business games and other «arsenals» to find the best candidate.

At ICL Services, candidates for certain positions are considered up to 3 months, passing up to 5 auditions. It is noteworthy that the requirements for such positions are as high as possible, because these are the people who will be actively involved in business development. That is why the comprehensive assessment method allows the company and the candidate to meet their expectations regarding duties and teamplay with future colleagues and managers.

The tests used in the labor market do not allow the company to understand the candidate’s learning abilities, more often they just reveal their ability to complete certain tasks or their attitude towards them. Average statistics show that such tests estimate only about 30% of candidate’s potential. The remaining knowledge is gained using situational, specialized (technical) questions. The hiring managers are focused on analyzing the candidate and even predicting whether he or she is able to cope with the assigned responsibilities. For example:
• Please tell us about the project where your actions positively/negatively impacted the project/team. What was your goal? What tools and metrics did you use? How did your colleagues react? What did you learn from this situation?
• Tell us about your approach to working in a team. What management approach do you prefer? Do you consider it successful?

Of course, answering such questions requires 5 to 10 minutes including clarifying questions. Usually about five such cases may be asked to be detailed during an interview. In addition, the interviewer will be carefully listening to your answers, making notes in the evaluation form. Answers will allow to reveal who you are. It is more difficult to give a socially expected answer to such questions. This is one of the goals of the recruiter. Indeed, nowadays there are many companies that tell how to prepare or even prepare candidates for interviews for open vacancies. Usually a candidate gives prepared answers or monologues only at the first stage. Then little by little candidates open up and after getting to know the company better, they show their real self.

An interesting phase in the selection process is business games or assessments. Candidates can receive a task related and, at first glance, unrelated to their main job. For example:
• there are 10 applicants for a position. Candidates are divided into groups and asked to prepare a wall newspaper on a given topic using paper cuts and without using glue and scissors. After starting the first task, the candidates receive the second one: throwing a tennis ball in a certain way, while also doing the first task. Then the third and fourth «tasks» are given...

Foreseeing the readers’ surprise: what does this company want to evaluate? The task is really difficult. They evaluate multitasking, teamwork (after all, the candidates have not met before, which means that most of them want to show their best sides and «sell» their idea as the best one), creativity, stress tolerance, prioritization ability... The above example was used in one of the international companies which was searching for a candidate to fill a leader position. If you think about it, the manager’s work is a daily balance and juggling with different tasks and life-changing decisions.

Among the diversity of available vacancies ICL Services has some unique vacancies, and this points to the fact that additional requirements for candidates are in place and why such a serious selection is needed. That’s why, for example, a collective interview (with 2 or more interviewers) allows developing an unbiased opinion about the candidate. A one-day pause is taken in order the interviewers could discuss and analyze what they have heard and seen and map that with the pre-made candidate profile (a set of requirements for fulfilling duties in a certain position).

In the digital era, final in-person interviews are still used. «Chemistry» is still important as in the ancient world. The candidate has the opportunity to look at the road to the office, the atmosphere, talk to colleagues and the manager. An interesting fact — at Google, a candidate for a leading position is interviewed by potential subordinates rather than a senior leader. According to the HR department, this is the method that allows them to reach success.

Multistage selection is an opportunity to explore as many details as possible on how the business processes are defined in the company and how employees communicate, as well as how thoroughly they choose each employee. Often, these criteria are important to the candidate and they correspond to their expectations.

Therefore, you can’t complain that the selection process is so long. In between stages, you can analyze your professional experience, take into account feedback, develop a plan for personal development if something goes wrong. Moreover, it allows the candidate to find them-self. Many companies offer totally different positions than the candidate initially wanted to get. Top-3 IT majors are known for that.

From a business perspective, long selection is motivated by potential risks that a company may suffer if a candidate does something wrong. This includes financial and image risks. In turn, the employer provides appropriate information about the company and the position at each stage of the selection process giving a candidate what is important for them. Having learned, for example, about the difficulties in your company, a potential employer will describe the advantages of working with him: how they solve those problems and cases that you are going to encounter every day. The «language of benefits» is used to give specific examples, usually WITHOUT sugar-coating. Here you can ask additional questions that will allow you to learn the details, check the information. You can voice your doubts, and the employer will be ready to discuss them in more detail if your candidacy is really interesting to them.

Thus, long interview processes play in favor of both sides. After all, this gives an experience. If the candidate found a desire to develop in a particular area, it will be beneficial for them regardless of the decision of the employer. Multistage selection is like a short life, an opportunity to look at yourself from the outside, then patched up, change or polish something, or leave as is because you are truly an expert in your field. For us this kind of selection is not the end, but the beginning of conscious work on ourselves.

The article was prepared by Julia Galieva, head of the recruitment department, ICL Services.


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