Alternatives to the standard job interview

A barrage of questions to a nervous potential new recruit is seen by some as a dated way of interviewing for jobs. Here are a few alternative ideas…

Gone is the 9-to-5 working day. Gone is the idea of having your own desk. And now, gone is the job interview. Well, not totally, but in a changing office landscape, how you hire new employees is changing.

Here are a few alternatives that could help you unearth the right person for your new role…

3 People Interviewing one man

Situational interview
These are similar to your standard interview. But instead of asking about their work experience and ‘where they see themselves in 5 years’, you’d ask them how they’d react to a certain situation. This could involve dealing with clients, solving office-based problems or working with colleagues.

It provides more insight into their working techniques, how they handle pressure and their interpersonal abilities.

On the day test
Like situational interviews but with a much more specific task. This can be run alongside other interview types and can take place either before, after or during the interview. It could be a short time test to see how they handle on-the-spot thinking. Or you could create a longer task in which you can watch them work, and see how they solve problems.

Things to watch for are whether they ask questions when stuck. It’s worth not including all the information they need to complete the task to see if they reach out for help.

Discover if they have good problem solving skills and how they handle time pressure and deadlines.

Group hire
In companies that like to put their workforce at the forefront, group hires are becoming more popular. The HR team or boss selects a handful of potential new staff members. They then have a day or afternoon working with the team. After the day is complete, it’s then down to the workers – not the boss – to choose who will be hired.

The new hire won’t know it’s a group hire situation, so hopefully will work as they would in a real life situation.

Find out whether they can work with your current staff. Also, the current team can often have a better idea of what kind of skills are needed to succeed than the boss.

A Woman sat Next to 3 Empty Chairs Holding Some Paper

On the job monitoring
If you’ve got a couple of people who are both very good and you can’t decide which to hire, then offering them both a week-long trial period could help.

This technique works best for graduates as it may be difficult for people in other jobs to take time off work, or to get permission from their current employer to work for someone else for a week.

It’ll give you a real sense of how they’re going to handle the role, and how they’ll fit in with people in the office.

Random questioning
This one has been popular for a while, and although there are some who feel it has had its time, there’s still something to be said for the technique.

It involves asking interviewees random questions. Some are problem solving questions like how would you empty a plane full of jelly beans, while others are more obscure, such as if you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?

You’ll get something different from the practiced rote answers and you’ll see some creative thinking. Not every day at work is going to be the same after all.


Posted by Ashleigh Sharp


Share this post


Blog Latest