What Is A Working Interview? Everything You Need To Know

by Corey Philip //  October 10, 2021

When a candidate is applying for a job, often it is hard to know if they will be the right fit for a job. In a traditional interview, a candidate is asked a series of interview questions, and the candidate is hired based on those answers. A working interview is a hands-on alternative to that interview style, making it beneficial for certain types of positions. 

A working interview is a chance for the candidate to show off their skills and be evaluated based on those skills. Both interview types have their advantages and disadvantages. The working interview is not better or worse compared to a traditional interview of questions, it is just different, and it has a purpose that is different than the traditional interview of questions. 

What is a Working Interview?

A working interview is an interview type that allows for the employer to test the skills of a candidate before deciding whether to fully hire them. The employer will give them a series of tasks to complete that will be what they will be working on if they are fully hired. A working interview gives the employer and the candidate a chance to see if the job is the right fit for both parties.

A working interview is beneficial for some types of positions and not for others. The same can be said of traditional interviews that focus on question-based evaluations. Knowing this, the employer should decide whether to use a traditional interview method, a working interview method, or a combination of both. This will give both parties to know if the candidate will be the best fit for the job. 

Why should a Working Interview be used?

If a job has a high level of technical skills, a working interview may be the right fit for a job interview. Working interviews may be the industry standard depending on the job. If you are an employer, you should be aware that working interviews are expected of certain jobs and not shy away from that. Your candidate may be expecting a working interview because they will best be able to see if they would like to work at your company.

If you are a candidate looking to work at a certain company, know that the industry or company you are applying to may require a working interview. If a job is highly technical, this may be needed to assess whether you will be the right fit for the position. This is a great chance for you to find out whether you would like to work at the job. 

What are the Benefits of a Working Interview? 

Knowing if a working interview is beneficial to a job is important because the right type of interview should be used. Whether the employer chooses to use a traditional questions-based interview format or a working interview format, knowing the benefits of a working interview will help the employer decide if a working interview is the right fit. Here are some benefits of a working interview: 

  • The employer can test the skills of a candidate
  • The candidate can determine if they like the work they will be doing
  • The employer and the candidate can see if the working relationship with the company is positive
  • Can help prevent turnover as the company can hire people most likely to stay

What are the Disadvantages of a Working Interview?

A working interview is beneficial to certain types of jobs but is not beneficial to others. If a job does not have a high level of technical skills, then a working interview may not be needed. There are benefits to working interviews for all industries and job types, but there are advantages to forgoing a working interview for certain jobs. Here are reasons that a working interview can be disadvantageous: 

  • If a job is urgently hiring and a working interview would slow down the hiring process
  • If a job is customer service orientated and the best way to test a candidate’s skills is to ask how they would respond to customers
  • If a job is highly specific and heavily training based, meaning skills may not have already been acquired by the candidate 
  • If the job is in a highly competitive field and having a working interview would risk the candidate accepting a position at another company

What Types of Jobs would Benefit from a Working Interview?

Working interviews are most beneficial for companies who have technical skills that need to be verified before deciding if the candidate will be hired. If the candidate is going to be successful and the employer knows whether the candidate has the right skills, a working interview is paramount. 

Here are some types of jobs that would benefit from using a working interview: 

  • Information Technology
  • Law Services
  • Financial Services
  • Graphic Design
  • Human Resources
  • Health Care Services

What if a Candidate does not have the Necessary Skills?

Depending on the type of job, certain jobs must have a working interview to determine if the candidate has the skills that they claim. These types of jobs include health care services and law services. This is because of the legal requirements that are upon a person who is working in these positions. For example, a hospital must affirm whether a surgeon can perform the work that they claim to be qualified for. 

Although not every job has a high level of technical skill that would be required of a surgeon. This is when the employer would examine whether to hold firm on the working interview being a requirement or if they are willing to train on the job. At this point, they may see other skills that the candidate possesses and be willing to overlook the lack of skills. 

If an employer decides to hire a person who does not have the necessary skills outright, there are solutions that the employer can utilize. They can put the candidate on an educational path and require the candidate to learn the skills by a certain point. This can help the employer to know that they are building a strong foundation of knowledge that is immediately applicable to the position. 

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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