Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
The Interview Process Alternative Approaches That Really Work

The Interview Process: Alternative Approaches That Really Work

Imagine you’re a manager looking for the best and brightest talent to hire for your company. You look through hundreds of cover letters and resumes. Casually you toss aside the ones you don’t like, while highlighting the ones you do. You finally have narrowed down the qualified candidates you think will fit the position.

Now you have your five best potential hires, but three of them don’t seem as strong after speaking with them. So with two candidates left, you schedule in-person interviews. One candidate drops the ball, but the other candidate is so impressive you hired them on the spot.

You rest easy, thinking you’ve found the perfect new hire for the job and everything will take care of itself.

Except, it doesn’t.

After a few months, you realize the new candidate you’ve hired is having a hard time. Adjusting to his surroundings is proving far more difficult. You thought it’d be a smoother transition, but he doesn’t seem to quite gel with the rest of the team. The work you thought he was capable of doing isn’t up to snuff. Now you have a decision to make.

Do you start the entire process over? How long should you give him a chance to redeem himself without drastically impacting the performance of the entire time?

In 2015, the Brandon Hall Group (BHG) published “The True Cost of a Bad Hire.” In the study, BHG found 69 percent of companies say a bad interview process is the reason for low quality hires. Those bad hires are expensive too. Costs range from nearly $40,000 for individual contributors all the way up to over $150,000 for executives.

Have faith though! There are ways to change up the interview process to ensure you get the right people into the right position. And to make the process simpler for you, we talked to a few experts.  Here are their favorite interview processes and questions:

Using Predictive Analytics

Google has a reputation for hiring the best and brightest minds in the business. For all the talk of how extraordinary they are, however, their interview process isn’t as complicated as one might expect. In June 2015, Lazlo Block, Google’s former Senior Vice President of People Operations, wrote “Here’s Google’s Secret to Hiring the Best People.

Companies have long been in favor of using assessment tests to judge candidates. Where Google differs from most companies, is they use a combination of assessments in order to find the best employee.

Research shows that combinations of assessment techniques are better than any single technique,” Block said. “For example, a test of general cognitive ability when combined with an assessment of conscientiousness is better able to predict who will be successful in a job.”

Block said Google has an internal tool called qDroid, where interviewers “pick the job they are screening for, check the attribute they want to test, and are emailed an interview guide with questions designed to predict performance for that job.”

Block believes the combination between personality and situational assessments give “a little nudge toward better, more reliable interviewing.”

Spotting Signs of Leadership

It’s important to think ahead. You might not be looking for a leadership role when hiring for an entry-level position, but whether or not that candidate will make a great leader in the future could have an impact on whether you should hire them from the outset.

In March 2015, Saba and Workplace Trends produced the “The Global Workforce Leadership (GLW) Survey.” The survey found 46 percent of companies noted leadership skills were the hardest to identify. A good way to spot these skills within a potential hire is to have your interview process designed to identify specific leadership skills.

Part of the reason companies aren’t getting this right is because many don’t exactly know what it takes to be a leader. Although 68 percent of workers, according to the survey, see themselves as leaders, 47 percent of HR leaders judge their pool to fill new roles within the company as just “adequate.”

The GLW survey found the cause for the gap between viewpoints is due to employee development not being personal enough. While 52 percent of companies conduct annual performance reviews, less than a quarter worldwide use advanced technology for insights into their people and effectiveness of their talent programs.

If you’re looking for new employees you want to really stick within the company, your interview process will need to change to spot these leadership traits early on.  

Using Video Interviews

Interviews might not be your idea of a date, but at least one CEO would disagree. Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse, talked about job interviews with Business Insider in September 2016.

Minshew’s interview, “A CEO explains how interviewing for a job is just like dating” presented the parallels between job interviews and dates. She said a mistake she often sees is that people want a job in general, not the one in particular they’re interviewing for.

“From a hiring manager’s perspective, you’re looking for someone who is excited about this role or this company,” she said. “It’s kind of like dating [and] no one wants to date someone who just wants a girlfriend or boyfriend. People want to be with people who are interested in them.”

A great way to screen for this is through video interviews. They allow you to see a candidate’s body language, how they handle themselves with tough questions, and their tone. All which reveals clues of their true interest in the job.

In July 2015, Korn Ferry’s company published the “Futurestep Executive Survey” to show how commonplace video interviewing has become.

The report shows 71 percent of companies are using real-time video interviewing. Moreover, 50 percent are using them to narrow the candidate pool. Additionally, 24 percent of companies surveyed are using recruiting focused video on their career websites.

So, if you’re looking for ways to make sure you’re hiring the right people, making video interviews a part of the process is a great way to screen potential new hires.

Asking Candidates Oddball Questions

If you’re a hiring manager searching for new talent, you need to put time into finding the right questions. This helps you to properly assess candidates for the exact role they are interviewing for. A lack of good questions is a sure-fire way to extend the time it takes for you to hire someone. Throwing curveballs toward a job candidate is an effective method to see how well they think on their feet.

Pete Abilla, founder of Find Tutors Near Me, says he likes to flip the tables on candidates. “I play the interlocutor to the candidate,” Abilla said. “They will ask me a series of questions where new information will emerge about the business situation. [Then] they will begin to form a hypothesis and arrive at recommendations.” Abilla said he’s not so much focused on the right or wrong answers. He’s looking to see how they think.

Max Page, founder of Coupon Hippo, asks candidates something a bit more personal. His question to candidates is “if you started this job on Monday, what would your day-to-day look like that would make you say to yourself, ‘I made the right move to X company?’”

Page said he’s looking to hear what candidates “really” want to do. “It also can tell you what they aren’t getting out of their current job if you follow up with, “what part of this day-to-day you want are you not getting at your current job?’” He believes if you can’t offer the things the candidate wants to do in that role “he’s not a good fit.”

Gene Cabellero, co-founder of Greenpal, wants to know what a candidate is passionate about. He also asks candidates what they’re passionate about outside of their family. “If a candidate is not passionate about anything, he will not be passionate about working for my company.”

Changing the Screening Process

In addition to asking oddball questions, influencers are known for changing the entire interview process.

Robert McGuire, CEO of Mcguire Editorial Content Marketing Agency, likes to “plant a ‘paying attention’ test” into the job ad. Mcguire typically works more with freelancers and independent contractors, so his process for screening them is different.

“I ask them to do some particular small thing in their application,” he said. “For writers, I will often ask them to look at an existing article and to suggest one or two follow-up topics as a demonstration of their thinking.”

Angela Copeland, author of Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job, also has an interesting process. Copeland says, during the interview process, she’ll have a candidate organize their reference checks. “They’re asked to walk the future hiring manager through their entire work history and why they left each job.” Copeland says it’s a “comprehensive and enlightening” process.

Taylor Dumochel, the executive recruiter at Peak Sales Recruiting, uses structured interviews. A slight twist for their interviewers, however, is they use scorecards to help remove bias. “It’s the best way to hire A-level talent,” she said.

Dumochel also says the biggest advantage for having a scorecard is that “when you have done the work to break down the candidate profile and the job profile in terms of measurable attributes, you’ll find more qualified candidates.”

Dumochel further went on to say “people who have experience in a similar selling environment will also be qualified along with people who have experience in the same role in the same sector.” She believes the criteria they’ve created eliminates subjectivity.

Including Potential Co-workers

When you’re looking for a new candidate to hire, sometimes two or more heads are better than one. Having more than one person evaluate a candidate can be a fantastic way to see how the person’s qualifications are viewed from multiple perspectives.

In a recent Business Insider interview, Facebook’s global head of recruiting, Miranda Kalinowski, and VP of people, Lori Goler, spoke about their interview process. Kalinowski said after candidates have gone through the multiple interview steps, they turn it over to their employees.

“They’re the closest to the work being done, so they’re able to impart a lot of firsthand experience about what it’s like to work on that team in that role, as well as answer any question the candidate might have,” she said. Facebook looks to make sure they match the right people with the right opportunities.

In the end, your goal is to always look for the best person for the job. Although that can be a tall order for anyone, having the right process can go a long way. Whether it’s assessment-based, new processes, or oddball questions, the more committed you are to sharpening your interview process, the higher the chance you’ll find the perfect candidate for the job the first time.

What are some of your favorite interview processes? Let us know in the comments!

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.

Add comment

Leave a Reply