The Evolution of Interview Etiquette Impacts Tech Hiring Today

Posted on June 23, 2021 by BWBacon. Tagged: Resources for Candidates, interviews, For Candidates

If we looked into interview tips from the 1950s, we’d be sure to find some questionable and outdated material on what good interview etiquette looked like at the time. Over time, interviewing has shifted in terms of what’s expected of interviewers and interviewees alike.

Nowadays, interviewing is a whirlwind of multiple rounds, fancy digital applications, signing documents online, and communicating virtually. All of this is on top of being coherent and confident when being asked to tell your life story in under an hour. But fear not! In this post, we’ll explore how interview etiquette has evolved, particularly under the lens of COVID-19 and the rapid transformation to virtual interviewing. Will it last?

Overview Of How to Become A Modern Interviewing Master:

  • Lean on your extended network for ideas, referrals, and opportunities
  • Do your research and know the company will research you
  • Be prepared to be tested and deliver great results
  • Get comfortable with a range of digital interviewing tools, including video calls
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and expect greater transparency in the process

Find More Opportunities Within Your Network

It’s been proven that networking is still the most effective way to tackle the job hunt. In general, nearly 70% of available jobs are never even advertised online. As it costs companies $0 to move someone internally or via referral, leaning on your network and making it known you’re searching is the first step. Start by taking note of your friends, colleagues, and connections on LinkedIn. Would any of them be open to helping or referring you to a hiring manager or a recruiter?

From one study on referrals, Career Pivot found that those who came into the hiring process through a referral have a 50% higher chance of getting an interview. Though referrals only covered 7% of applicants in the study, they accounted for 40% of who ultimately was hired. Reaching out can be momentarily uncomfortable or feel like a big ask, but the payoff is worth it.

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The Internet Leaves No Stone Unturned

Once you’ve landed the interview, remember the internet can be both our friend and our foe. This rule applies when researching the company you’re interviewing with, and their ability to research you. Take an inventory of all of your online presence, social networks included, to ensure no unsavory posts or surprises that may come back in the interview process. Similarly, if you have concerns about the background check process or any other important discussion points, make sure to be transparent and candid.

The accessibility of information today allows candidates to easily find out more on employers as well. With Google at our fingertips, there’s really no reason candidates shouldn’t prepare for interviews by vetting a company’s culture online, or learning more about their technologies and services. When you know more about the company you’re targeting, not only do you feel more confident going into an interview, but you show sincere interest. In this way, it’s easy to tailor your responses to what matters to the company, bolstering your first impression with the hiring team.

Testing Remains An Important element of interviewing

If software engineers are the Olympic athletes of the tech world, logic follows that some qualifications are in order. Expect to be tested, and go into testing phases of an interview with an open mind. More and more, testing is a trend that is not going away, and helps companies truly determine the viability of a fit when making an important hire. While we agree there is a balance of good testing and excessive testing, it is best to prepare yourself for a more intricate and dynamic interview process.

Especially lately, it’s not just engineers that are being tested. It makes sense that with the rise of remote work and dispersed teams, companies want to be confident in their decision to hire someone new. Testing is one way for them to ascertain more detailed information on how someone works and how compatible that style is for the role at hand.

Relish In the Advantages of Virtual Communication

Perhaps the most obvious evolution point of interviewing is the digitization of the application process. From signing offers virtually to Zoom interviews, these aspects that have become more dominant since COVID are not going anywhere. Particularly when vying for tech talent, maximizing that individual’s time is now a higher priority for hiring managers.

The rapid pace of the talent acquisition market has also pushed hiring managers to make the process faster and more accessible for candidates. Not so long ago, candidates were expected to take time off of work and make the journey to a physical space for an interview. These days, it behooves everyone involved to rely on video conferencing tools to at least start having those conversations so candidates stay engaged in the process.

While Zooming with someone you’ve never met may always be a tiny bit awkward, think about how much better we all are at video calls one year later! Think of video calls as any other face-to-face interview, the goal is to make a good impression by smiling, looking at the camera, and doing your research on the company and role ahead of time. Check out our full post on making virtual interviews easier…

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The Push For Transparency

Companies and recruiting agencies are having to be more creative when it comes to making roles appealing to potential candidates. Use this to your advantage by asking questions about the interview process, the company’s culture or benefits, and any other topics that are important to you.

General Manager Sara Luther from Lucas Group suggests that the more creative organizations are in wooing talent, the more attractive they will appear. For example, some companies make interactive training experiences or have fun cultural activities that bring people together. These ideas are like an extension of benefits, and should be a part of the recruiting process. It’s important as a candidate to get the full picture on what the company potentially offers, and how they take care of their employees.

Overall, job seekers gravitate towards employers that are flexible and creative, so there is no harm in asking what that company has done or are doing to prioritize their workers. The pandemic shifted the paradigm on interviewing and hiring talent, and HR leaders and recruiters alike are being asked to show how far they are willing to go for their employees.

In conclusion, interviewing has come a long way. Even fifteen years ago the process of finding a job was entirely different. But as humans we adapt and evolve, and we hope you’ve found these tips useful during your job search. If you’re still searching, find BWBacon’s open tech roles here.


Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

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