When it comes to the interview process, many of today’s companies are either stuck in the past or unwilling to accept that their methods might not work. In any case, issues like interviewer bias, high-pressure questioning, and a lack of preparatory materials have come to diminish the candidate experience.
As one of the leading producers of branded interview kits, Speak_ has a vested interest in knowing how the interview process can be improved. While candidates and hiring parties alike have valid complaints about interviewing, they also have some helpful insights into ways that things can be changed for the better.
Speak_ reached out to several top-tier professionals to learn how the interview process can be improved in order to revitalize the candidate experience. In turn, these individuals shed some important light on ways that creativity and innovation can be used in interviewing to make better connections between candidates and hiring parties.
Creativity and innovation are paramount in reimagining the interview process and enhancing the candidate experience. In today’s rapidly changing hiring climate, traditional interview methods simply don’t provide the depth and personalization needed to make quality hires. As such, applying more creative approaches to interviewing might enable you to uncover talents, skills, and traits that are otherwise left unseen.
By embracing novel techniques like bias training, real-world job scenarios, and creative problem-solving, organizations can adapt to changing times and gain a competitive edge in talent acquisition. Not only do creativity and innovation hold the key to more inclusive, efficient, and effective interviews, but novel approaches can also positively impact your employer brand in the marketplace.
Charmain Green-Forde is a foremost authority on recruiting and talent acquisition. As the Founder of Chapter tOO, she has seen firsthand how personal biases and outdated techniques hinder the overall productivity of interviews. For Green-Forde, such issues are systemic and can only be overcome by rethinking the entire interview process - from training questioners to heeding the feedback of candidates.
Here is what Green-Forde had to say:
“The lack of transparency in the interview process is something that continues to impact the candidate experience. Other than varying salary transparency laws in the U.S., candidates often find themselves in the dark regarding the internal decision-making timeline [after the interview]. Since they don’t know what’s expected in terms of follow-up, it often results in frustration and dissatisfaction. Moreover, biases such as ‘similar-to-me bias,’ as well as inconsistent assessment criteria among interviewers can lead to unfair evaluations.
While there is no easy fix, standardizing assessment criteria across all interviewers and roles within an organization could be a good first step. I also recommend that companies provide ongoing training for interviewers in order to recognize and mitigate unconscious biases. Outlining and communicating accountability measures for interviewers and candidates alike [during interviews] would also go a long way.
Lastly, leveraging technology, such as AI, to assess candidate feedback anonymously and objectively could provide valuable insights. This tech-driven approach can help identify patterns and areas for improvement in the interview process without compromising privacy.”
Leslie Dobson is a successful entrepreneur and psychologist who understands the anxiety and stress that candidates experience while interviewing. One of the biggest challenges that Dobson sees is candidates being placed in uncomfortable situations during interviews that aren’t even job-related. For her, the best way to get a feel for how a candidate will perform is by putting them up to real, work-related tasks and assessing them along the way.
Dobson explains her thoughts like this:
“Interviews are filled with unnecessary pressure, stress, and anxiety. Even more, interviews are not reflective of the candidate’s actual skill set or their ability to do the job. I educate and train people to prepare for interviews and have found [time and again] that the interview process is not genuine.
I wish interviews were not panel interviews or ‘ring of fire’ questions. From my experience, we can still objectively interview if we have personality when asking the questions. I think it would be better if interviews were actually during the job, or a probationary period. This would yield better results than the 15 minutes of dry questions with no real-world content [commonly used in interviews today].”
Alicia Outridge is an extremely accomplished businesswoman who has held CPO, CTO, and other key roles at companies such as Facebook, AOL, iHeartRadio & TuneCore. In such high-level positions, Outridge has had a firsthand glimpse into challenges faced with the interview process - especially pertaining to technical hires like Software Engineers. She encourages hiring managers to employ creative problem-solving scenarios to revitalize the interview process for these types of technical jobs.
Here is what Outridge has to say:
“For Engineering hires, the current candidate experience is severely broken for all parties involved. Mainly because the interview process is overly concentrated on 'leet coding' or puzzle and syntax solving. This focus inadvertently overshadows the essential aspects of creative problem-solving, practical experience, and project building. These components were once central to the hiring processes in the 2000s and are still necessary to be good engineering employees today.
Whether it be engineering or another discipline, all hiring managers need to reevaluate their balance between assessing technical knowledge and [that of] applied, creative problem-solving. Doing so will allow them to cultivate a more well-rounded and effective engineering workforce that aligns individual capabilities with organizational needs more harmoniously.
If companies fail to make this shift, they will end up building engineering departments full of people who have to learn on the job because they are only good test-takers who [happen to] interview well. These mistakes result in teams that move slowly because they are still learning [on the job], while also creating less diversity in approaches to solving problems.”
As the founder of Product League, a company that offers mentorship programs for product development, Moriya Kassis knows the many challenges that young applicants face during the job search process. For Kassis, many of these issues can be rectified by simply rethinking the ways we ask questions during the interview process. This notion applies to both candidates and hiring parties.
Kassis explains her thoughts on interviewing like this:
“The lack of clarity in the interview process often leaves both candidates and hiring managers with mismatched expectations. In turn, this leads to suboptimal hiring decisions.
Here's a game-changing tip for candidates: during interviews, don't hesitate to ask the hiring manager about their 'ideal candidate.' If you do this, it’s like getting the inside scoop on what they're really looking for. This not only sharpens your understanding of the role but also sparks an open and candid conversation that can transform your interview experience.
Hiring managers, here's a power move: invite candidates to dive deep into your company's north-star objectives and specific key performance indicators (KPIs) tied to the role. Encourage them to challenge the status quo and bring fresh ideas to the table. This [type of questioning] not only sets the stage for a dynamic, collaborative interview but also paves the way for a game-changing hire who can truly make a difference.”
A lack of connectivity in the interviewing and hiring process has created a situation where good jobs are left vacant, while qualified candidates can’t seem to find work. In other instances, companies hire the wrong candidates, creating even more problems down the road.
Whether it be a job searcher or a hiring party, the writing is on the wall: we need to start reimagining the interview process with both creativity and innovation. Dynamic interviews where candidates feel truly engaged are the best avenue for hiring top talent. By breathing life into the interview process, you will also improve your employer brand among relevant candidates.
At Speak_, we firmly believe that improving the candidate experience will lead to better overall hires and increased employee retention. Speak_ developed branded interview kits specifically to help candidates feel more confident during interviews. When candidates bring their very best to the table, it empowers hiring parties to make the best possible hiring decisions.
Contact Speak_ today to learn more!