A Reality Interview Predicts Future Performance

Many large companies have changed to an interviewing method called "reality interviewing," as they believe the standard method of interviewing job applicants supports the interviewers in selecting a candidate similar to themselves.

In a reality interview, the interviewer will ask the applicant to describe what they actually did in specific situations.  The purpose behind this type of questioning is to avoid standard or well-known answers. For example, instead of asking, "What is the best way to handle difficult clients?" the interviewer will say, "Tell me about a time that you had to deal with a difficult client. What did you do, and what was the outcome?"

The interviewer will ask questions to explore the candidate's past and hear about verifiable accomplishments and how they will relate to future duties with the organization.  The interviewer wants to know what skills and expertise your past experience will bring to the position you are seeking. Some possible questions are, "What led to the situation?," "Who was involved?," "What role did you play?," and What was the result?"

The interviewer will ask situational questions.  These are questions about a specific situation, and they have to be answered with specific information. For example, "As a credit manager, you just received a large NSF cheque from your biggest customer. They have a $25,000 order to be shipped within one hour, and if it isn't shipped, it will result in chaos within your company, and you will possibly lose the account. You are unable to contact the owner. What do you do?"

You must think about the question and respond in a way that will take into account the company's interests and how best to handle the situation.  It helps to research the type of questions that may be asked and develop possible answers for them.  Then, practice answering this type of question in a mock interview.

Knowing how to answer these tough questions will definitely set you apart from your competition. Schedule a coaching session with us so you can receive better job offers!

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Candace Davies ACCC, CRW, CIC, CPRW, CEIP, CECC
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