Vericant is a trusted name in third-party interviews due to its rigorous processes and consistent results. As a result, the Vericant Interview is accepted by leading secondary schools and academic institutions worldwide and is trusted by students not only in China but worldwide.
We’ve been doing interviews for over a decade, but the body of knowledge around interviews is a continuously developing space, like many other areas of knowledge. While Vericant now has the support of a global leader in assessment, Educational Testing Services, our teams continue to put a very strong emphasis on the feedback we receive.
We actively reach out to organizations which accept the Vericant Interview to make sure that we’re getting the most up-to-date and direct information on the impact of our interviews. High school, college and university admissions teams tell us what’s working for them in the interviews, and how we can improve to better inform their life-changing decisions to make offers to young people.
We take all this information and make careful improvements each year. This article explores the recent improvements which we have made to the Vericant Interview, and the possible impact on applicants.
Structure Minus Rigidity
Vericant’s interview formats have been consistent for many years, on the principle that fairness and objectivity come first. The timing of Vericant boarding interviews has been 11-12 minutes, while Vericant university interviews were 12-13 minutes. As a result, interviewers closely monitored response times for questions, and would politely redirect an applicant when a response was going over the allotted time.
Recently, several accepting institutions noted that Vericant Interviews could feel rigid, or unnatural in some situations. It’s quite rare for someone to interrupt you frequently when you’re having a conversation. The purpose of the interview is to learn more valuable information to inform decisions about students, so we made the following key adjustments:
For 2023, the Vericant Boarding Interviews can range from 13-15 minutes, while Vericant University Interviews can be 16-20 minutes. The final length of each interview is determined by the unique conversation which develops in the space, and so timing will rely upon the judgment of the highly trained interviewer.
Although this means the variance of interviews will increase slightly, we expect the applicant experience and quality of sharing will improve significantly. More time can be invested in warmup when needed, enabling applicants to build a stronger relationship with the interviewer they have just met. This change supports admissions teams’ need for deeper insight into applicants, while creating more ‘space’ for applicants to develop the confidence they need to share themselves and genuine experiences.
Interviewer Response Matters
Although fairness dictates it is critically important for interviewers to remain impartial, the human element is key to a successful interview. The comprehensive training given to Vericant interviewers addresses many facets of interviewer responses, but we received feedback that a lack of variety in interviewer responses can influence the applicant and viewer.
For 2023, the Vericant team has adjusted the way interviewers are expected to manage an interview to guard against the impression of an interviewer ‘checking boxes.’ Interviewer standards have been expanded with the awareness that authentic acknowledgement of a response has a subtle but powerful impact on the fluid conversation in a safe but neutral space.
Vericant interviewers now have the discretion to dig deeper in certain areas that an applicant is more passionate about, with more in-depth questioning to expand. Vericant interviewers continue to be strictly impartial, but they have the freedom to use more natural transitions and responses which support the applicant.
Balancing the Behavioral Approach
Behavioral questioning is a mainstay of the Vericant Interview and a trusted approach at well-respected organizations and institutions worldwide. Behavioral questions are regarded as effective indicators of applicants’ future choices and actions.
However, academic institutions vary in their needs and approaches, and oftentimes overly specific questions can have an impact on the scope of the conversation. The most interesting information in a conversation often comes out through unexpected points, and interviewers will be limited by the adherence to a strictly behavioral question set.
For 2023, Vericant interviewers are given the flexibility to leverage their training and apply our standards to evaluate which questions will uncover the applicant’s true self. While behavioral questions are the foundation of the Vericant Interview, alternative question types can be used as follow ups when appropriate to the conversation.
Vericant continues to avoid knowledge-based questions, which carry the risk of interview bias and can influence applicants’ confidence. We believe assessment of such skills and subjective abilities are best explored through other methods and application materials.