The Surprising Ways Companies Assess Job Applicants

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For every job seeker looking for their dream job, there is also a company hoping to find its dream employee. In order to find the perfect match, companies are learning to get more creative during the hiring process to streamline the search for the perfect candidate.

But with so many applicants applying to a position, how does a company really zero in on the standout applicants? Recruiters and hiring managers are screening candidates both ahead of time and during in-person interviews looking for red flags and the right fit -- and sometimes you may not even be aware of how they are screening you.

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Here are a few new and unique ways that companies are testing applicants. In short, be prepared for anything!

1. Conduct a skill-based test

Companies are often looking for specific traits in potential candidates, such as being detail-oriented. Matthew Ross, co-owner and COO of RIZKNOWS and The Slumber Yard, says he presents potential video editors with a unique assessment test before hiring. During the interview, he will give the candidate raw footage and a set of pre-made graphics and ask them to create a short, one-minute video.

"We evaluate the flow and quality of the video but what most potential candidates don't realize is that the pre-made graphics we give them are incorrect (i.e. we purposely misspell a word, use the wrong color scheme, etc.,). Basically, we want to see if they'll actually see the mistake and fix it," says Ross. "This gives us good insight into their attention to detail, which is a key trait we want in our video editors."

2. Scope out your social media channels

Since we live in a digital, social media-heavy age, it's not uncommon for companies to ask applicants for their Instagram or Twitter handles, as well as a link to their Facebook profile. Recruiters and hiring managers will look at your social channels to better understand your personality and to catch any red flags (i.e., foul language, risque photos, etc.,) and anything that might not align with the company's culture and values.

Moreover, don't be surprised if an interviewer wants to look at your profiles with you during the interview! When you're applying to a job, it's always better to be safe than sorry with your social media sites, so clean up your online act because your future employer may be watching!

3. Invite you to spend a day in the role

Believe it or not, you might get to test out the job before you get hired. A "day in the life" visit also gives the company a chance to see how you'd perform, both in the role and with your potential co-workers.

Matt Dodgson, Director of Market Recruitment, says he has worked with clients who will first email a short screening test to a candidate and, if they pass, they will be invited to spend a "mini-workday" in the proposed position.

"This usually entails being given a project that can be accomplished within four hours (the candidate is given some prep materials beforehand), and then lunch with the team afterward," explains Dodgson. "We then conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate the next week to evaluate their performance and ask focused follow-up questions. We've found that this puts candidates on the hot seat, but it gives us and clients better insight as to how the candidate would fit within the position and the team."

4. Interview via text message

Since texting is the dominant form of communication for Americans under the age of 50, it's becoming increasingly more common for interviews to take place or be scheduled directly through texting.

In fact, tech company Canvas is dedicated to helping employers conduct text-based interviews. If a recruiter asks you to interview via text, don't be shy -- this may be an easy way for you to shine since, after all, you are probably used to texting! And from the employer and recruiting prospective, a text interview saves time and helps weed out anyone who can't communicate effectively. So if you find yourself in a text interview, make sure you spell-check your text and respond in a timely manner!

5. Ask you to take personality tests

With fit in mind, some companies use personality tests like Myers-Briggs to determine if a candidate will be a good cultural fit.

"During the hiring process at finder.com, we're focused on finding the right person for the role, not just a person who excels at the required competencies," says Jon Brodsky, country manager at Finder.com. "Our personality tests provide insight into whether someone might be a good fit culturally. It's crucial that we find the right person for the company and role, because the right fit will flourish and grow while someone who may be considered 'the best' will be frustrated and only deliver standard work."

6. Video record interview answers

During the application process, an assessment might begin with video recordings of yourself answering the questions. While this usually occurs online in the application portal, it's possible a recruiter will film your in-person interview to play back later or share with those in the interview loop who could not attend.

The more common scenario is that, during the online application, you will be asked to answer a question while being recorded. The catch here is that you usually have to record the video in their online system, meaning you may not be able to edit or reshoot the video. The aim of this exercise is to get a genuine response and answer out of you, as well as to test how well you think on your feet and to get a sense of your personality. Also, for some industries like healthcare, this is an efficient way for recruiters to evaluate a large number of applicants.

By using Montage Interview Software, nursing candidates at SSM Health are able to express interest in a job, discuss their skills and background, plus showcase their personalities in a way that phone interviews didn't allow for. Through on-demand interviewing, candidates can complete video interviews on their own time.

The good news is that most applications like this will give you adequate support to prepare for the video interview.

7. Quiz your knowledge

Similar to a personality test, a company might ask you to take a data-driven test in order get specifics on your technical skills. For example, a company hiring for a sales position might ask prospects to take a 90-minute online test that will measure sales leadership competencies and client fit. It's essentially a quiz to test your knowledge and ability, and to determine if you will be the right fit for a specific client.

"I am a recruiter and recently worked with a client that used a sales assessment as the initial filter for screening candidates," says Candie Fisher, founder of Candie Fisher Consulting and partner and VP of client engagement at Notogroup Executive Search. "It made my job a little more difficult, as it knocked out some people that had strong industry experience, but it allowed the client to have confidence that every candidate moving forward had met a data-based hurdle."

This article originally appeared on Glassdoor.com.

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