Why Businesses and HR Departments Need to Change Their Interview Process.

By March 1, 2017Education and Career
New interview format

Employers need to stop being so lazy and start changing their interview process.

It’s 2017 and the interview process has basically, remained the same since the 1980’s.  Whilst some of the questions have changed the process is the same.

For an interviewer, the process is boring.  For an interviewee, the process is boring, stressful and does not at any time highlight their real strengths and capabilities.

The best candidate could be the one who completely blew the job interview.  After all, how many times is a person going to be grilled in front of two or three people during their job? The closest thing that comes to this is sitting in court facing a jury – it’s the same feeling.  The expectations are unreal.

What I hear back from candidates and colleagues is “they were not experienced enough.”  Yet that person has the transferable skills to do the job, has excellent communication and interpersonal skills.  Time and time again, the transferable skills are ignored for being job ready.  Give them a chance to pick up the job and run with it.  If you are wanting someone who can already do the job, then it’s more of the same and certainly no change for the new employee.

Gone are the days when people learned skills on the job.  These workers loved their jobs, loved the challenges, and usually performed better, staying in the job for a longer.  Those who already know how to do the job get bored easily and will leave sooner rather than later.

Now, then there is the person who breezes through the interview process, gives the interviewer the answers they want.  Yet, this person may not have the best interpersonal or communication skills.  They could be interviewing a socio-path; very charming, intelligent and loveable on the surface.  Good choice?

So how can companies and HR departments change the way they interview?

Bring in Social Workers or counsellors to observe.  The larger business these days should already have then on staff.  They have the skills of observation. The interviewees are so busy asking questions they miss the all-important body language.  The non-verbal signs.  Someone can tell you what you want to hear but they can’t hide their body language.

Ask for a video and a short bio for their cover letter. People know how to answer questions.  People hire other people to write the answers to selection criteria so who are you really interviewing?  Why not give the questions so they can answer on the video.  Then use the face-to-face interview for general chit chat.  Great time to check out their personality. It takes the pressure off and brings a certain vulnerability to the occasion.

Pick the top 3 to work for a day.  Have each person on their own spend 1 day in the workplace under observation. This gives the candidate the opportunity to work out if they will like working there and if you and the other staff will enjoy their company.  Ok, so it takes up 3 days of your time.  It’s cheaper than having to go through the same process over and over again.  You will see how they interact with staff and how the dynamics works.  For that one day treat them as a member of staff.  If there is a sociopath in that bunch, staff may pick up on the traits.

Having a candidate work with staff for a day will expose their communication and interpersonal skills or lack thereof. So, what you saw in the interview may be completely different in the workplace.  Working with them for a day will give you 8 hours of first-hand knowledge and see how they can transfer their skills straight up. It will expose their communication skills, interpersonal skills, how they fit in with other staff – things you will never see during an interview.  Maybe have the staff answer a short feedback form.  The more the better.

Changing the interview format will give those candidates who have so much more to offer the ability to show who they are.  They won’t be judged by a poor interview process.  Video will let you see and hear the answers to the questions. Have them then write a short bio to see their written skills.

Chatting with them over coffee as a third part of the process will bring a vulnerability into the interview process and you will know if they are a good fit.

Never ever judge a person by their looks or age– that is superficial.   You are looking for the right person not a Christmas tree ornament.

While this process maybe a little longer, it’s fairer for the candidate and cost effective in the long run for the business.  By the time the candidate is ready to start, the first day nerves will be gone and they can jump right into the position as one of the staff.

Contact Pamela for interview counselling advice and to assist as part of your process


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