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Novel interview strategies may help with hiring
Novel interview strategies may help with hiring

The hiring process is fairly standardized today - or it can be. It's easy to fall into a rhythm, using time-tested methods of candidate assessment to create a talent pipeline. However, breaking away from the basics and applying creative methods could help you identify valuable future employees. Especially in today's hiring market, with a focus on soft skills, this is a potentially useful approach.

The interview is one step that can change significantly from its basic form. At its most typical, a job interview is a very straightforward sit-down between the hiring manager, attempting to gain a more complete picture of the candidate than it's possible to glean from written materials. Breaking from this template could reveal still more about applicants, however.

Turnabout is fair play
Speaking with Business Insider, Indeed's Doug Gray proposed a novel kind of interview process, one that may reveal new sides to a prospect's character. He asks the candidates to interview his current employees while he watches, noting what each individual does when placed in the proverbial driver's seat. The exercise is designed to reveal the way a prospective employee would take charge in situations where leadership is needed.

Gray explained that he's looking for people who will be part of a team, collaborating with others naturally rather than digging in and taking charge. The reverse interview, in which the direction of the conversation is in the candidate's hands, reveals whether a prospect will show that kind of attitude. This ability to work well with others is one of the vaunted soft skills that have gained prominence in talent assessment - difficult to teach but valuable to possess.

Second and third opinions
Aileron's Forbes blog contained another possible twist on the conventional interview formula. In this version, the hiring manager brings a host of other team members into the process. Instead of keeping the application process contained to the HR department, this approach gets early involvement and buy-in from the people who will become new employees' coworkers once they come on board. Several of these current workers get to take turns speaking with applicants, from group leaders down to individuals who will work closely with new hires.

Such an interview process culminates in a presentation. The candidate comes into the office with a new idea to present, and faces the current staff. The rest of the team can inspect the prospects work and gauge the individual's work in the context of a group meeting. Everything from a candidate's understanding of the company to his or her ability to handle constructive criticism will be on display in this culminating interview, leading to hiring decisions based on a vast amount of knowledge.

Shaking things up
The idea behind novel interviews is not to be different for difference's sake. Every company will have a unique laundry list of traits that make candidates right for them, and should customize their processes to ensure they are screening for these abilities. Failure to innovate in this area may leave businesses with new hires who technically meet all their requirements but don't deliver their full anticipated value.
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