What Is A Working Interview? How It Works

A working interview has become an essential tool many companies employ today to find the best hands to occupy vacant positions in their establishment. Hence, many people are familiar with a working interview. Even so, some people still need help understanding the concept.

Besides a working interview, companies may utilize various interviewing techniques to select the best candidate. The methods may be anything from a classic sit-down interview to something that resembles a typical day at work.

Hence, as an applicant, you should be informed of the type of interview you’re consenting to so you can prepare accordingly.

Below are some essential factors you should know about a working interview. 

What is a Working Interview?

A working interview is one way employers find the best candidate for a position in their company. It’s just not enough to rely solely on verbal questions for some job opportunities. Hence, many companies today look for a more in-depth method to test their prospective candidates.   

Consequently, a working interview may follow verbal interviews. In this case, the company invites the prospective candidate to spend anything from a few hours to an entire day at the company, executing job activities. 

 A working interview demands a job prospect to show their talents and competence to the company before employment. Lately, this “try-before-you-buy” strategy is becoming preferable among those in the field of research and sciences. 

While working interviews are inappropriate for executives and employees who require judgment and other intangible qualities, they are suitable for scientific and technical professions.

Also, a job prospect may be on their best behavior during a verbal interview. However, their temperament might alter radically in a working interview when faced with a stressful or harsh environment.

Hence, the working interview helps the firm assess how well the candidate’s true personality matches the team they would join if employed.

Another advantage of a working interview is that it helps potential employees get a greater sense of the company and the job they’re applying for, allowing them to determine whether your firm and the position are good for them. 

The mismatch between the job candidate’s idea of the job and what it entails causes many hiring disappointments.

Therefore, working interviews can ensure that candidates have a realistic understanding of the position they’re interviewing for, increasing the likelihood that the candidate who accepts your offer will stay on for the long haul. 

What are the Advantages of a Working Interviews? 

While this may not be a typical interview style in some industries, it is more frequent in others; you should not be surprised if you find yourself in this circumstance.

The format has many advantages. A working interview can assist both companies and candidates because:

#1. It shows your ability

A working interview allows you to show your abilities to an employer rather than having to explain your qualification verbally. 

It is best for highly skilled professionals who must complete a set of technical tasks rather than a generalist job. A job interview should be a straightforward process for you if you are confident in your work. 

There are a few essential skills that can make any employer want you. Check out: Top 20 Employability Skills: Definition and Examples

#2. Allows you to Have an Expereince of the Task Ahead

The difference between reading a job description and doing the work can be significant. A working interview will let you see what working for this company is like.

You can choose whether you prefer their management style and the responsibilities they assign you. If you get a job offer, this type of interview allows you to get a firsthand look at the job you’ll be doing.

#3. Educates employees on company culture  

Although some employers send assignments home, others prefer you complete them at their office. The latter allows you to observe how the organization functions and the personalities of your coworkers.

Note the company culture as you work and see if you can see yourself working here.

Effective Working Interview Tips

You can demonstrate to companies that you are the proper fit for the position by following these guidelines: 

#1. Set clear expectations from the start

You should inquire about the labor you will do and the working interview pay before going for the interview. 

Many firms will pay you a set rate or hourly rate for the work you accomplish during your interview. If they do not intend to pay you, you must decide whether you will accept. 

#2. Investigate the business

Although this isn’t a standard interview, it’s still critical that you learn about the organization. You’ll be able to reflect their values in your work this way. 

#3. Pay close attention to the details

Since you want to impress the employer, reread the directions and double-check that you understand the requirement. Utilize the most of the time they provide you to ensure you do the job correctly.

#4. Put on a successful outfit

Although it is a work interview, wear the appropriate attire as you would for any other interview. It entails wearing professional work apparel that is well-fitting, clean, and wrinkle-free. 

Some colors would make you look competent when you put them on. Discover: Best Colours To Wear For An Interview In 2022.

#5. Find your self-assurance

Remind yourself that you can complete the tasks at hand. The employer may notice your confidence if you keep upbeat and assume you know what you’re doing.

#6. Pose intelligent inquiries

Read the guidelines thoroughly before approaching the employer with any questions.

If you have any questions, ask them to clarify so you can complete the work appropriately. If you were an employee, you’d be permitted to ask informed questions, so feel free to do so now. 

#7. Display your zeal

Demonstrate that you can handle anything while maintaining a positive attitude, even if the task is complex. Employers can tell you work well under pressure if you remain calm and collected during your job interview. 

#8. Make an impression that will last

A working interview will not only allow employers and their workers to assess your job. It will also enable them to get to know you better. If you will be in the office for a day or two, try to introduce yourself to your coworkers and demonstrate that you’re a team player. 

See also: Performance-based Interview Questions: A Full Guide.

Working Interview Alternatives 

Employers may choose to examine your talents in other ways than working interviews. Although working interviews can be a valuable tool. Here are the following alternatives to working interviews: 

#1. Using A Temporary Staffing Agency

Some employers use temp firms to assist them in identifying and hiring qualified staff. In essence, you will become an employee of the temp agency if you complete the company’s tasks for the number of days they want.

The firm that hired the temp agency may offer you full-time employment through their company rather than the temp agency by the end of your temporary job.

Companies that want to conduct many interviews prefer this strategy since it eliminates the need for an employer-employee relationship with their prospects.

#2. Testing of Abilities  

A skills exam is a simplified version of a job interview. Rather than assigning you to a few hours or even a full day of labor, the company will assign you to a single assignment or a test. For example, if you apply to be an editor, you may be asked to revise a few paragraphs.

Employers usually save skills testing for prospective individuals. Hence, a skill test is frequent with a second regular interview. Since skills tests typically require an hour to complete, it’s doubtful that you’ll receive any compensation for them. 

Check out: Problem-Solving Skills; Definition and Examples.

Is it Illegal to Conduct a Job Interview?  

As appealing as they may appear, working interviews are only legal if they follow the entire employment process. Consequently, choosing to operate beneath the radar increases rather than decreases your level of accountability. 

Job interviews, while employed, are often frowned upon. It is especially true when a job candidate comes in through temporary employment agencies. Employers should avoid using this interview technique during the hiring process.

When you hire someone new, go through the complete hiring process, including background checks, US employment status verification, and handbooks distribution.

You might be interested in Top 50+ Software Engineer Technical Interview Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are working interviews paid?

Yes. Whether you hire the person or not, you must reward them for their time spent in a working interview from the employer’s standpoint.

What does the law say about a working interview?

According to the law, the working interview is effectively a trial period of employment, not unpaid training before hiring.

Are you required to pay the hourly rate after a working interview?

Both yes and no. You are not required to pay the “hourly” rate for the job as an employer, but the minimum wage rate is the base hourly rate at which you must compensate employees for each hour worked during the interview.

What does the term work interview mean?

It is a practical interview where employers have firsthand experience of how their potential employees handle a given task.

How long is a typical working interview?

How long the interview will last may vary from one company to the other. While some companies may require you to work a whole day, others may require you to work for a half day. No matter what, always ensure to ask your employer how long the interview will last.

What should I expect during a working interview?

Expect the employer to ask you to show your skill set. Also, the employer will want to see how well you fit into the company. Hence, you should show utmost professionalism and act like you are already part of the company.


Working interviews are a fantastic way for an employer and a potential applicant to assess each other and see whether they are a good match. 

While a working interview might help a firm select the appropriate individuals and reduce turnover, it can also put your company in danger if correct procedures for ensuring legal compliance are not followed. 


  • Indeed— What to Expect at a Working Interview
  • BetterUp— Why a working interview can help you land your dream job (and candidate)
  • My Job Search—Working Interview
  • Totem Pool— What Is A Working Interview And How To Outperform In One?


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