Interviews can be so awkward, both for the interviewer and the candidate. On top of the awkwardness, there is also a lack of transparency and maybe even honesty. Candidates spend a lot of time prepping for a job interview, where they will rehearse what to say and be on their best behavior. Interviewers are used to asking the same questions again, which makes the interview lack-luster, boring, and too formal. Because of this, both the company and the candidate can really fail to see what each other really is about.
Companies want employees that are eager to work for them and want to grow within the company, and vice versa.
Asking the same questions in an awkward interview like: “What is your biggest weakness” or “What is your biggest strength” companies won’t get the results they want and need. When you ask the right interview questions, you get what you need. Plain and simple! The challenging part is when you have to figure out what questions you need to ask, what order to ask them in and how to conduct a successful job interview with a prospective candidate.
With the job market being so competitive now, candidates are looking for companies that “wow” them, as opposed to something they feel they could get anywhere. With that being the case, how can you hold an interview that is both telling and interesting?
Here are four different and creative ways to conduct a great interview:
1. Offsite Job Interviews
Holding a job interview offsite in a restaurant, a hotel lobby, over a game of golf, or wherever else is a great way to get to know a candidate’s personality and how they adjust in different situations. Choosing a more casual setting over a traditional setting is beneficial as chances are they will be more at ease and comfortable as opposed to stiff, rehearsed, and uncomfortable.
Getting to know their personality is extremely important as it will help you determine if they are the right fit for the position and the company’s culture. This is also a great opportunity to evaluate candidate’s soft skills and give you a chance to engage in a conversation as opposed to reading off a list of predetermined questions.
Conducting an interview over a meal can be super telling about a candidate. For example, Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab corporation does his hiring in a unique way offsite. He’ll meet someone for a breakfast interview, but before the interview takes place he’ll get there early to talk to the manager. He asks the manager if they would mess up the order of the person who will be joining him. The reason for him doing this is not to play a prank but to see how that person responds in the face of adversity. Does that person get upset or are they understanding?
Being able to see how someone interacts with waiters or others is an excellent way to evaluate how they will act in the workplace and with clients. Do they have the ability to communicate well, problem solve, etc? These are all factors that you wouldn’t get a glimpse of in a traditional job interview.
This is a chance to observe how they interact and conduct themselves in a public setting because sure, “they can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?” The interactions that take place between them and anyone they might encounter are extremely important to take note of. For example, how do they act towards someone clearing the table? Being able to treat everyone with respect is extremely important, no matter what their job is. These interactions will also display leadership qualities and the ability to get along with others.
2. Technical Interview
Holding a technical interview is probably the most revealing type of interview that could take place for both the interviewer and the candidate. What better way to see if someone is qualified for a job than having them do the actual job.
Most chefs don’t get hired because they say they can cook well, they get hired because the interviewer tastes their food. The same concept should apply to any other job as well. If you are hiring a programmer, have them program something. Content creator? Write a blog post.
Google is famous for their unique technical interviewing methods. Candidates that interview for software engineering or any technical roles will be required to undergo a technical interview in which their skills are tested. Candidates are typically asked to code something on either a Chromebook or a whiteboard while explaining what they are doing throughout the process. This allows the company to see if candidates possess the skill level needed to work for them.
Another excellent way to conduct a technical, hands-on interview could be a projectship. A projectship is basically a remote online internship where candidates are given the chance to complete a company’s project while getting trained in specific skills. In addition, candidates will be more attracted to work for a company that is dedicated to producing quality results and employees.
Here at ProSky we offer projectships through our platform as we believe that it is both beneficial to the company and the candidates. Projectships are so beneficial because companies will get the chance to evaluate candidate’s performance, how they interact with others, and determine if they fit in with the company’s culture and vision.
3. Group Interviews
Holding a group interview is an excellent opportunity to evaluate how candidates interact with others in a good setting. To take group interviews to the next level, consider having the group work on a project together, or work through a scenario placed in front of them.
Holding group interviews can be tricky, as not everyone might get the opportunity to shine like they should, and that’s why having them work together on something would be much more beneficial. Before proceeding with the interview, be sure to discuss any questions candidates might have about the basics of the roles they are interviewing for, and provide an overview of the company and its goals.
Before starting the interviewing process, give the interviewees a chance to interact and get to know each other. This is also a great time to evaluate their soft skills. I personally dislike group settings where you're asked to go around in a circle and tell everyone what your favorite food is, or whatever “ice-breaking” question asked of the group. Instead, consider having a quick mingle with light refreshments or an ice-breaking game.
It is a good idea to break candidates into small groups and have them complete a small project together. This gives you a better idea of each candidate as opposed to a large group project. A good idea might be to pose a scenario that really happened within the company, and ask the group how they would have solved it. Have the group present their project to the rest of the room. After their presentation, be sure to ask individual questions and group questions on how the process they took to get to the solution.
Be aware of how they interact with each other. Is there a leader in that group? Do they have teamwork, or lack communication? How are their problem-solving skills, and how do they analyze situations? These are all things to keep an eye out for. Be careful of candidates that are adamant to do things their way and don't listen to his/her teammates. Conducting a group discussion afterward can also be an excellent way to get group feedback and give you a chance to see how they answer.
4. Video Interviews
Holding a video interview can be extremely beneficial as you get the chance to see candidates in an environment they are more comfortable in. As we discussed before, having a candidate be more relaxed and comfortable allows you a better chance to see what they really are about. Video interviews are also a good way to get a feel for the candidate before investing more time and money on them by inviting them in for an in-person interview. In addition, video interviews allow companies the opportunity to interview candidates globally.
Before holding a video interview determine what kind of interview you want it to be. There are two types of video interviews, one-way and two-way. During one-way interviews, candidates are given a list of questions and are given a chance to make a video recording of their responses. Usually, candidates are given a timeframe for these questions. While these interviews are easy for both sides, they don’t offer the chance to really get to know each other. Having someone answer a list of questions isn’t transparent enough to see if they would be an ideal fit for the company and the position they are interviewing for, and vice versa.
A two-way interview is where you and the candidate are essentially having a video call. This is probably the more efficient out of the two options, as being able to have a conversation will give you a better feel of the the other.
During a video interview, observe the candidate’s behavior and environment. Are they dressed up appropriately, or do they look like they just rolled out of bed? While the interview might be more comfortable, candidates that look like they put in an effort to get ready for the interview might deliver a better message than someone who is still in their pajamas. Take a look at their environment, is the room a mess, with loud music or the television playing the in background? This could be a huge indicator of their organizational skills, and show whether or not there is a lack of care. Also be sure to check their posture out. Do they look like they are still lying in bed? This will give you an idea of their level of professionalism.
Just like any interview be sure to engage in conversation and ask open-ended questions. Also, be sure to record the interview so you don’t forget anything!
Finding the right candidate can be tricky and challenging. But, it can also be fun and rewarding. By using any one or a combination of these methods, you will be more likely to attract top talent while staying interested during the process. Besides these types of interviews, it is also helpful to have good interviewers to conduct the interviews.
Here are 4 Characteristics of Good interviewers:
1. Be Inquisitive
Being inquisitive is very important to the interview process. When job candidates are answering your questions with yes or no answers, or, even when they give you long examples, having the ability to inquire further is one of the most important things an interviewer can do. Having the curiosity to learn and understand more can only help make the interview more successful because you are opening the doors to explanations of the answers and interacting on a deeper level.
How do you become more inquisitive? Be curious - and part of being curious is showing interest in what is being talked about. If you are finding that the conversation is not really holding your interest, make sure you do your part to pick up on those signals by tweaking the phrasing of your questions or even the timing.
2. Be Attentive
This may seem like an obvious trait of a great job interviewer, but often times, it is the most difficult one for people to grasp. If you are an inexperienced job interviewer, you may be a little bit nervous about how well the interview may be going. Oftentimes, the focus is really more on making sure all the questions get asked and that all the answers are documented. Listening to what you are actually hearing can get a little bit lost in that process. Even for more experienced interviewers, many times, recruiters are listening to respond not to understand.
3. Be Prepared
Preparing for a job interview is more than just reading a resume and having your list of questions ready to go. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely want to have your questions listed out, but there is a lot more that goes into preparation than merely that. The most effective interviewers are the ones that really know all their questions well.
What does this mean exactly? At any time you may need to scrap one question because it was already answered in another question and you are left flustered. To avoid being in this situation, listen to what is being said and ask more questions about what was just answered. Having the ability to improvise by reordering questions and coming up with new ones are very important things to be able to do well.
4. Be Confrontational
Being fearless enough to ask about things that provoke emotional responses can be very helpful for job interviewers. Seeing what makes them tick can tell you many things such as what they are feeling about the opportunity, if they can be a good cultural fit, or whether or not they are able to do the things they say they can do.
Throughout the interview, interviewers will have an opportunity to establish rapport with the candidate, and the interviewee has already opened up throughout the conversation. Save important questions for the very end because you will get a more honest answer.
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