Put a New Spin on the Traditional Candidate Interview Model

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Dec 22, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

How do you feel each time you schedule an interview with prospective talent? Perhaps you have recently found that the conventional Q & A model has grown stale and that you walk away from each interview feeling unsure that you've learned enough to make a solid hiring decision.  

Your talent pool is a high-caliber collection of professionals, so you need to find a variety of metrics that will ultimately make it easier for you to separate the top group of candidates from the one perfect candidate.  

Develop a New Strategy to Mine Unique Information About Your Top Candidates  

If you are in an interviewing slump that leaves you with more questions than answers each time a highly promising candidate—at least on-paper—walks out the door, you may need to switch up your interview game.

There are many ways that top staffing professionals have come up with to freshen up your interviewing strategy. By the time the candidate walks in the door, you already know about their education and experience. The interview is the time to dig a little deeper.  Try out these four ways to tune up your interviewing skills. 

1. Involve Department Management and Staff  

Request questions from the department manager and fellow employees. Who knows better about the daily responsibilities and goals of the department than those who work in it each day? Why not invite them to help vet their future team member? Department staff members might ask questions as simple as whether the candidate prefers shooting off an email versus walking down the hallway for a face-to-face discussion of an issue. The answer reflects a certain personality and how well that personality is suited to a specific working environment.  

You may also ask a few department members to sit in on the interview for 15-20 minutes to give everyone a chance to candidly interact. The candidate has the chance to ask questions about management style and general department dynamics while the team members' feedback can reinforce or challenge your own feelings about the interview. 

2. Take the Interview Off-Site  

Sometimes it helps to shake things up by taking the interview to a new location. It might help your candidate relax since it feels like you are on more even footing than if you met in the office. Take your promising candidate out for lunch at a nearby favorite spot of your employees. Whether you reserve a private room at the local library or sip lattes on the patio of a cozy café, you may find that you and the candidate can relax and enjoy a highly productive, frank and upbeat interview session.  

3. Show Off Your Powers of Observation 

You may catch your candidate off-guard by asking about some seemingly minor detail, such as the story behind their college's unique mascot. If possible, you can also relate a genuine story of your own to put the candidate at ease. You might find that this strategy, while worthwhile on its own in gathering information, it is a good icebreaker.  

4. Pull Out the Stops and Bring on the Quirky Interview Question 

You may or may not want to make the quirky interview question a permanent part of your repertoire, but it can be effective from time-to-time. Developing interview questions to determine the best IT, accounting and finance, or legal and compliance professional can be tricky since you are working from cover letters, resumes, applications, transcripts, and referrals that offer similar core information. 

A solid, quirky question or two—maybe related to their field—can shake both of you up and ease you into the moment. Most importantly, these questions can help you learn about a truly unique facet of the candidate's skills, background or personality.  

Experts in staffing solutions for corporate support recommend sprinkling in questions like the following:  

  • How would you describe your profession to a child?  

  • Are you in the career field you have imagined for yourself in high school?  

  • Are you a better gift giver, or do you prefer performing deeds for people in your life? 

  • What is your favorite pastime or pursuit outside of work?  

  • Have you traveled outside of the country, and if so, where and why? 

  • Have you ever solved a Rubik's Cube, or do you know what a Rubik's Cube is?  

  • Tell me one thing you would like for me to know about you that I won't find on your resume. 

  • Why shouldn't we hire you?  

Again, these questions and others like them can help add spark to what might be an otherwise standard, by-the-book interview.  

Do You Need Additional Ideas on How to Gain Valuable Insights from Your Interviews?  

Our ICS team is constantly exploring new ways to learn more about our talented pool of candidates. We know they have the skills that our clients need, but we know how important it is to find ways to help ease the decision-making process. Sometimes it comes down to personality or rapport. 

We are to help you find that special candidate quality that makes your choice clear.  

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