Rethinking the Interview

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The practice of hiring new employees has persisted on, unchanged despite a constantly evolving professional atmosphere. It’s easy enough for the would-be interviewee to Google interview questions and look at the search results.

Countless articles will spout great advice. Hiring websites will direct readers to top five and top ten lists with tips on how to answer these questions. And those lists will help, but it’s time to rethink the interview, at least in the traditional sense.

Apart from the worst applicants, the advice espoused in an interview how to lists will be beneficial within most interviews. The reason: more interviews than not follow the same format.

The Process Doesn’t Seem to Change

Reading things like “what is your biggest weakness,” “Tell me about a difficult supervisor,” or “Tell me why you want the work here” do not represent good questions mainly because they don’t get real responses. Just like the carefully crafted online personas of so many people, each of these questions has become so cliché that even the most basic of applicants can fine-tune a response.

For a while, the antidote to these bland questions seemed to be asking situational questions that have become just as clichéd. Most applicants have ready-to-go responses to questions that ask them to describe situations where they’ve collaborated or persuaded or worked on a tight deadline. Asking these questions will garner nothing more tangible about the applicant than asking him about a time he failed. If this sounds familiar, it might be time for a switch.

Change Things Up

Realizing that a change needs to be made is half the battle. So throw away the questions and situations and get out a pen and paper. The next task is simple. What aspects do you see in your best employees? Write down the hard skills, the soft skills, and any specific adjectives that come to mind.

Next, think of what tasks, projects, and problems you need the new hire to be able to handle. Think of both now and the future. These skills and abilities are what you need to cater the interview around. It’s time to cater the application process to them.

Apart from standard resumes, there are two main aspects you’ll want to put applicants through: pre-interview assessments, and the interview debrief. There is an option to expand these as well if you have the time and think it necessary.

Some pre-interview assessments might include a video interview, completing a short challenge such as a real life problem they might face in that role. These assessments can help minimize bias while giving you a more holistic view of candidates. There are many options. Get together with your team and hiring manager to determine which is the best set of pre-interview assessments.

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