July 23, 2019
Hiring 30 October 2018
This Is the Future: 10 Non-Traditional Interview Techniques to Distinguish Top Talent
Ester Brierley

Traditional interviews no longer satisfy the needs of modern hiring managers. Innovative interviewing methods help find the best talent, saving time and effort.

For many decades, hiring managers have used the same traditional interviews. They’ve been asking candidates about their experience and skills, trying to determine whether a certain person fits for the job. 

Traditional interviews may be conducted in person or on the phone, they may include structured or unstructured questions, involving one-on-one or panel approaches. These traditional methods are familiar to everyone and reliable, so there’s no reason to expect interviews to go anywhere in the near future.

On the other hand, traditional interviews are not necessarily the most effective. According to the latest Global Recruiting Trends report, traditional methods don’t work when hiring managers and recruiters need to evaluate weaknesses and soft skills. In addition, traditional approaches involve a certain amount of bias. They take a lot of time, and their efficiency directly depends on the skill of the recruiter and properly chosen questions. 

Fortunately, modern hiring managers don’t need to rely solely on traditional methods as there are many innovative interview techniques that allow us to tackle the most common problems associated with interviewing candidates.

Interviewing Innovations and New Hiring Trends

The latest hiring trends are aimed towards eliminating hassle, improving hiring strategy, and detecting talent with the highest potential. According to statistics, the three most popular hiring trends that are becoming more and more important due to their efficiency are:

  • New tools
  • Diversity
  • Artificial intelligence


There are many new tools that allow recruiters and hiring managers to improve the traditional interviewing models. For example, online assessment of soft skills helps assess personal skills and teamwork abilities, allowing for better understanding of the talents each particular candidate has. 

Modern companies can also benefit from casual interviews. Carrie Lewis, a recruiter at College-Writers, notes: 

“You can take candidates to lunch and ask a waiter to intentionally mess up their orders. You will see how they react to unforeseen circumstances, getting a better understanding of their characters.” 

Another innovative approach is holding job auditions and paying candidates to complete real tasks. This allows companies to evaluate the candidates’ skills in action. Some companies as Lloyds Banking Group even use virtual reality to simulate different environments and increase candidate engagement. 


A recent strong trend in hiring is diversity. Almost 80% of hiring managers note that the factor of diversity directly impacts their decisions. Successful companies realize that diversity in the workplace leads to more creative solutions and so increases profits

Obviously, diversity also improves corporate culture. Diverse teams demonstrate better productivity and are more engaged. However, not all organizations manage to create diverse teams, as it becomes crucial to know where to look for the candidates. For example, there are many female engineers, but some companies just don’t know where to find them.


Artificial intelligence is another trend that impacts many industries. This technology is already popular in recruiting and it’s going to take over many repetitive aspects of your profession. Linkedin Recruiter is a great example of an AI-based solution. It helps quickly analyze thousands of profiles and find candidates who match the given criteria. Various chatbots can answer common questions from candidates, saving a lot of time.

Practical and Non-Traditional Interview Techniques for Hiring the Right People

1. Analyze how they resolve problems
One of the easiest ways to improve your interviews is to focus mostly on experiences instead of qualifications. Ask your candidates about professional experiences where they didn’t perform as great as they wanted to. Ask them about the lessons learned. The main thing is to see whether the candidate is able to quickly answer this question in a clear and specific manner — that’s how you can spot an accountable and self-aware person.

2. Organize a hackathon
Watch the best candidates compete against each other. This approach is a perfect choice for the technology industry but it also can be tailored for any other industry. The point is to create a unique, extraordinary problem and to see whether the group is able to solve it. The competition will surely motivate candidates to look for the most effective and creative solutions, demonstrating their best skills. In addition, you will get an opportunity to see how different members of the team deal with conflicts.

3. Start with the personality assessment
Asking candidates to complete a personality assessment even before you start interviewing them is a useful practice. You get a chance to understand the personality of the candidate deeper, looking at him or her from a different angle. You can also discuss the results of the assessment with candidates and see how they react to criticism and acknowledge their weak sides. By doing so, you can quickly understand how they react to feedback in the workplace.

4. Let your candidates join your team for one day
If you’re satisfied with a phone interview, invite the candidate to spend a day alongside your team and see how he or she adapts to the working environment. Most likely, they won’t do any actual work, but 
this method is good for several reasons. First of all, your candidate will get clear expectations of the position and the team. In addition, you will get a priceless feedback from your employees. This method may be not equally effective or viable for every company, but it’s worth trying it if you want to determine whether the candidate fits into the existing working environment.

5. Ask your candidates what they do when they get to work
Ask them to list the first three things they do in the office. You will understand whether candidates are organized or not, and how they set priorities. It’s also an opportunity to understand their work ethic. Get to know their work habits and how they process tasks or handle responsibility. In the future, helping employees develop time management skills and self-organization will have great benefits for your company.

6. Make the first interview a group interview
Teach for America and a few other organizations make good use out of group interviews, utilizing them in many different ways. Group interviews allow you to evaluate the collaborative potential of your candidates. At the same time, it’s important to let your candidates know about such an interview in advance so that they won’t feel awkward or stressed out. In addition, you should properly organize your group interview so that the candidates won’t interrupt each other.

7. Play board games
It’s hard to imagine a less traditional approach than playing board games with candidates, however, a board game can be a good icebreaker that helps your candidates calm down. During the game, you can ask questions and see how the candidate acts in an informal environment. If you check around, you can 
find games related to your particular industry and use it to assess some basiс skills.

8. Make a group happy hour
Another way to make an interview a little more fun is getting candidates together for a happy hour. We also suggest inviting active members of their potential team to see whether some candidate fits for it or not. It’s a good way to see how different candidates interact with other people and their future coworkers if they get hired. Cultural fit is among the most important factors to determine whether or not a candidate will succeed in your company. 

9. Ask candidates what kinds of people they don’t like
This is a very helpful question. First, it helps you evaluate how the candidate will fit into the team. Secondly, it allows you to learn more about their personality. If somebody can’t stop listing people that bother them, it’s obviously a red flag! However, people who say that they love everyone in the world are likely not honest with you, which is also a bad thing. Find the balance between both extremes.

10. Don’t underestimate video interviews
Video interviews are nothing new, however, many recruiters don’t realize that they are a real win-win solution! If your organization is innovative, then 
video interviews are a must-have technology. With video interviewing, you are greatly reducing the costs associated with hiring. Your candidates can save a lot of time with no need to drive to your office, while you can interview much more applicants quickly. Optionally, candidates can also pre-record their responses on their time and you can watch them on yours. 


This is an incomplete list of modern hiring trends. New tools and methods are always appearing, and if you don’t want to lag behind, you need to embrace them. Look for diversity, try non-traditional interview techniques, and find talent faster than ever before using innovative AI solutions. 

Fortunately, modern hiring managers and recruiters don’t need to rely solely on traditional approaches, which have their weaknesses and are quickly becoming obsolete. New interview techniques allow you to better understand candidates and to evaluate their skills more accurately, therefore making better decisions.

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Ester Brierley is a QA Engineer in a software outsourcing company and a competent virtual assistant for College Writers. Adores researching cutting-edge digital trends and sharing them in her writing pieces as a seasoned content creator for many websites. Follow her on Twitter.

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