The interview process is past-due for an overhaul. Before you meet your next candidate, try one of these job interview techniques that bring a little humanity to the process.
Hiring managers don’t have it easy.
Not only do they have to worry about asking the right questions — they also have to worry about the anxiety of meeting a total stranger. Even worse are the clammy handshakes, endless yammering that never seems to answer the posed question, and sometimes the overly insistent use of “sir” or “ma’am.”
You want the interview process to be smooth and fruitful, but more often than not, it’s an exercise in pain for both candidates and hiring managers.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are five bold job interview techniques hiring managers can use to make the process enlightening, more focused and even fun. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Have candidates fill out a nonsensical pre-interview questionnaire
This is not a new concept, but its current use is horrendously broken.
Generic questions such as “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “do you have any supplemental skills?” do little to shed light on the candidate’s character. The answers to both of those questions should be on a candidate’s resume already!
Rather, pre-interview questions should reflect the company culture and be light-hearted in nature. Examples would include:
“If you could pick one superpower, what would it be?”
“What is your spirit animal?”
If effectively posed, not only can you display your company culture; you can also reduce the candidate’s anxiety and elicit more truthful answers. The NFL is notorious for asking prospects off-the-wall questions that have little to do with football, often with hilarious — yet effective — results.
2. Conduct the interview at a restaurant
Are you curious whether or not a promising candidate is a megalomaniacal serial killer? Conducting the interview at a local restaurant can offer many benefits for all parties involved; the interviewee doesn’t have to languish in a stuffy waiting room to be led to an even stuffier interview room, and the hiring manager can see how the candidate really acts in various situations.
Even though there are countless articles that tout the same dribble (“get something easy to eat” and “have the manager order first”), there’s no covering up certain personality features. A lack of emotional control is a serious red flag for recruiters, so focus on whether candidates possess grace or turn into The Incredible Hulk when the waiter puts too much dressing on that Caesar salad.
3. Order alcohol after building rapport
Wait — what? How can encouraging a candidate to drink during an interview help this situation?!
Hear me out.
You might discover through your pre-interview questionnaire that the candidate listed “home brewing” as their hobby, which means imbibing could be a great way to break the ice and put the candidate at ease.
To even get to this point, you need to build rapport with the candidate and get to know who they really are. This approach could have the opposite effect, so do your homework to discover if drinking alcohol during an interview would have the desired effect.
Shots for the table? Probably not a good idea. Having a pint with lunch? You just may learn something new and exciting about your candidate.
4. Focus on talent
In your standard, stuffy interview setting, too many hiring managers focus on intrinsic, yet entirely inconsequential, data when making a hiring decision. Even with a light-hearted pre-interview questionnaire, a stellar resume and all the research in the world, the candidate might still be a flurry of nervous emotions and stutter like a faulty record player at the mere mention of an interview.
During these times, it’s important to remember that hiring talent can take your company far. Even a potential hire with the social grace of a wounded duck could be a better fit for the role than a smooth talker who says all the “right” things.
5. Practice transparency
Here’s where a lot of recruiters biff it. Even if you made the decision two minutes into the interview that the prospect “doesn’t have it,” there’s no reason to cut the interview short and never speak to them again.
If you want to hire the perfect candidate, it’s important to treat them all like royalty, even if you have to give them the big, ugly axe.
No one likes hearing “no” after a job interview, but a savvy recruiter quickly learns the tactful art of letting candidates down gently but swiftly — thanking them for their time, providing constructive feedback, and asking them to refer qualified friends and family to the company.
If you treat them like royalty and respect their feelings and time, you just might get a resounding “yes” when you ask candidates for help.
Finding the absolute best candidate really boils down to being real. The archaic practice of interviewing needs a serious update, with a boost in the “humanity” department.
Are you ready to take your tired recruiting practices to a new level? Do you have any other suggestions on how recruiters can make the interview process more organic and enjoyable?
Robert Conrad is a former business student who wages war on archaic business practices by day, and plays video games in his downtime. Follow him on Twitter for more of his insights and favorite industrial developments.