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  • Sarah Learney

Innovate the Interview Process

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

In a society governed by the impact of COVID, recruitment (for those companies fortunate enough to be recruiting) has changed dramatically. As businesses we have evolved and so to have our recruitment practices. To protect our workplace ‘bubbles’ direct contact has been minimised, and remote on-boarding is becoming the ‘new normal.’

So how do we adapt that process without jeopardising the quality of our hiring process?

How do we ensure that we are still selecting the best candidates in the market and not diluting excellence in favour of efficiency?

Innovating the interview process, without losing sight of traditional techniques, provides a balance between change and continuity. Whilst recruitment today is reliant upon telephone interviews and video conferencing, this isn’t to say that the human element should be lost. Rather, we need to work harder to ask questions which encourage greater depth in their answers.

For years, companies have trialed new techniques to innovate the hiring process. It is a practice which will continue to evolve and rightfully so. However, remembering the basics of a standard Q&A should not be overlooked. Building a rapport between prospective employer and employee is still an essential requisite. How else will we know if that new recruit will not only ‘fit’ our existing culture, but also enhance it?

Same Questions, Different Answers

Adapting our interview questions requires us all to think outside the box. So, lets look at the standardised questions and seek to revitalize them. The following are some examples of how we can achieve this, and thus ensure quality hiring decisions continue to be made in highly unusual circumstances.

By asking typical questions, we learn to expect traditional answers. These may have been rehearsed and therefore require minimal thought from the prospective candidate. Innovating the interview process will allow you to see how candidates think on their feet and answer questions which they have not necessarily prepared for. It’s less about tricking them than encouraging them to think differently.

Personal Fit vs. Professional Competence

We are frequently guilty of spending more time in the workplace than anywhere else. Therefore, having positive working relationships amongst our teams is essential for morale and productivity. Whilst each of us are different, building teams who complement and enhance one another’s strengths and weaknesses, even whilst working remotely, is essential when considering on-boarding a new employee.

Personal questions, those which give us a genuine insight into a prospective employee, are often problematic. Equality laws and the need to remain compliant and professional, often deter us from asking things we would really like to know about a candidate. However, they need not be controversial or risqué. Instead we can ask questions which will elicit a personal response and help build a deeper rapport and mutual understanding.

Examples of more innovative, personal questions include:

  • What was the last gift you gave someone?

  • What qualities do you like least in a potential friend?

  • What would be your theme song?

  • Do you personally change the oil in your car?

  • If you were a brand, what would be your motto?

  • If you were to raise money for a charity, who would it be and why? And what would you do to raise the money?

  • Would you consider yourself lucky?

  • Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?

These questions, though not strictly linked to the technical requirements of a role, do provide an insight into soft skills and personality traits. They help us establish as Hiring Managers, where within our existing function will this candidate sit? how will they be received by the team? and will their contribution enhance our product or service offering?

Can you tell me 5 things you could do with a pencil other than write?

Curve-ball questions, often completely ludicrous and irrelevant, shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked either. Asking a candidate their thoughts on pizza toppings, or their preference towards being a Ninja or a Superhero, can give us an insight into ‘culture fit’ or ‘culture add.’

We all know that it’s not just about recruiting someone with the technical ability to undertake the role, but also work well within the existing team. We may want someone who won’t make waves, or indeed someone who will start a tsunami! Asking questions which the interviewee isn’t expecting, provides an insight into how they react within unusual circumstances and how they instinctively respond to change.

Aspire, Innovate, Evolve

Change will always have positive results as well as negative implications. To be fortunate enough to still recruit amidst a global pandemic and economic recession, is success in itself. However, changing the way in which we onboard staff doesn’t need to dilute the quality of those we onboard. A positive recruitment strategy remains the cornerstone of business growth. Innovating that process during a period of relentless change, will ensure holistic growth.

Aspire to work in partnership with ambitious individuals, committed to personal and professional growth

Innovate the recruitment life-cycle to ensure a positive on-boarding experience

Evolve within a changeable economy, utilising a variety of digital platforms, without compromising on traditional values.

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