Interviewing is a critical element of the hiring process. Poor interviewing not only leads to costly bad hires and high turnover, it can also result in low employee morale, damaged customer relationships, and reduced productivity.
That’s why it’s critically important to accurately assess candidates and identify the top performers who will also fit into your organization’s culture. But obtaining useful information about candidates can be difficult when they only want to reveal certain facets of themselves, and it can be challenging to choose the best person for job among two candidates who appear to be equally qualified. That’s where alternatives to the standard interview can be especially helpful.
Birds of a feather flock together. While it’s not always easy to uncover the important details about a candidate, research has shown that traditional, unstructured job interviews aren’t the way to go about it. For instance, LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report notes that old-school interviewing is especially poor at assessing soft skills and weaknesses. These interviews aren’t an accurate indicator of a person’s true potential, and if you’ve ever been passed over for a job you knew you were qualitied for, you probably already know that. In truth, hiring managers often pick candidates based on traits they identify with, and that can mean anything from their religion to their clothing preferences. It’s a sociological principle known as homophily: people tend to prefer those who are relatable to themselves. Traditional job interviews can encourage homophily because they’re filled with the theoretical and the abstract, as opposed to focusing on concrete skills and behaviors. Fortunately, there are a number of effective alternative interviewing techniques that can help you find the most suitable candidate for the job:
- Behavioral Interviews: This type of interviewing is based on discovering how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. Instead of the candidate theorizing about how he or she would behave, you’ll ask how they did behave and then follow up to obtain more detail. Behavioral interview questions are more pointed, more probing, and more specific than traditional interview questions. These interviews come in a two primary forms:
- Situational: Instead of asking candidates about their work experience and ‘where they see themselves in five years’, the situational interview asks how they reacted in specific situations. This might involve dealing with clients, solving office-based problems, or working with colleagues. For example:
- Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.
- Have you had to convince a team to work on a project they weren’t thrilled about? How did you do it?
- Have you been faced with a difficult situation with a co-worker? Describe the situation and what you did about it.
- Self-assessment: The self-assessment interview asks candidates to answer questions designed to evaluate their characteristics and skills, as well as their readiness and appropriateness for the job at hand. For example:
- Would you describe yourself as confident? Tell me about a time you demonstrated confidence.
- Describe a situation where you demonstrated value to a company you’ve worked for.
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision.
- Job auditions: These ‘tryouts’ can be used in conjunction with other interview types and can take place before, after, or during the interview. Create several tasks typical for the position so you can observe candidates as they work and see how they resolve issues. This type of interview will allow you to determine if they have good problem-solving skills and how they handle time pressure and deadlines.
Interviews are about much more than asking questions from rote. With the right interviewing techniques, you can take an active role in finding a candidate that fits your vacancy and your culture. For additional guidance with your organization’s recruitment processes, please contact the experienced professionals at The HR Team.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.