My Campaign to Ditch the InterviewNatalie Lewis
Do you dare to ditch the interview?
Did she just say “ditch the interview”? “Is she mad?”
Yes! I did say ditch the interview and no I’m not mad, bear with me on this one and I’ll explain why traditional interviews are essentially a waste of YOUR time!
I’m going to go on a quick tangent … So, the world of recruiting is moving on (if you don’t know this, you need to catch up!) Social recruitment is the new buzz word and is definitely in my opinion the way forward in finding the best candidates for your business.
It’s about time that HR woke up and realised that as a function, they are more than just contracts, policies and telling off naughty employees!
I’m assuming that you’ll have carefully thought out your external branding and that your business has a PR / marketing plan aimed at your dream clients.
Do you have carefully thought out internal and external branding for your current and prospective employees? If not then you need to crack on and get going on that quickly! To attract the best talent you should be investing in putting the right message out to the employees you have and the employees you’ll need in the future. A dedicated page on your website ‘what it’s like to work here’ with short videos, good news stories, celebrations, positive articles linked to your company values and then the same on dedicated social media channels are all recommended. This builds trust and reputation within your industry which will make it easier for you to attract top talent.
Ok so back to recruitment – you should be looking to attract active and non-active candidates to apply for your roles. That’s a combination of the usual job boards as well as social media campaigns and some head-hunting. You should also be looking for candidates with the best cultural and values fit. Get the right person and you can teach them anything. Get the wrong person and you’re looking at a huge financial loss (as well as time, morale and reputation).
Once you’ve got a list of cracking candidates, you’ll need to assess them. This is where my ‘ditch the interview’ campaign comes in to play.
Ok let’s face it; traditional interviews are about as useless as a chocolate tea pot. Looking at the extremes, you either get candidates who completely suck at interview but are perfectly capable of carrying out the job or you get candidates who are amazing at bullshitting for an hour but who turn out to be totally useless at the job. You then get people who fall somewhere in between. Those who are crap at interviews consistently fail and those who have the bullshit patter nailed tend to do best. Is that fair?
Also, have you considered how much time you waste interviewing each of your chosen candidates? Let’s say you have 6 candidates and you want to interview them all. That’s an hour’s interview each, plus prep time, plus each interview over runs … let’s put a conservative figure of 10 hours of your time to interview 6 candidates. At the end of that you’ve simply found out that some of those candidates can bullshit and some can’t. What do you understand about their skills? Only what they’ve told you. Could they be lying or embellishing the truth? Or worse still, under selling themselves?
So, this is why I want to ditch the interview in favour of skills assessments where candidates can show case their skills and actual capability.
The basic way you can introduce these to your company is by asking candidates to showcase their skills and values / cultural fit, either before, during or after a shortened interview. My preference is before as you’re also testing their commitment to the process.
An even better way is to run an assessment centre which gives you the added bonus of seeing your chosen candidates and being able to throw in some wild cards too. (You know – those candidates you see on paper and think “they might be ok but I don’t have time to interview them”). Bringing together 10-15 candidates and testing their skills (relevant to the job) and values over approximately 4 hours (usually a morning or afternoon), not only allows you to see many more candidates at once but it prevents those candidates who rely on bullshit to get them through an interview from prevailing. It also allows those candidates who aren’t good at interviews to showcase their skills.
Assessment centres don’t need to be expensive but they do need to be designed properly and professionally to prevent any bias / prejudice and to ensure that all candidates can be assessed fairly. There’s also an art to assessing cultural and values fit. You will need to have assessors, I usually pick a manager and a prospective colleague(s) as well as acting as an assessor myself.
Where I’ve run assessment centres for businesses, the successful candidate has not only been a better cultural fit but they’ve also ended up staying with the company much longer and have been far more engaged in the business than those who have gone through traditional interviews.
So, in a nut shell, I would like you to join me in ditching the bullshit riddled interview and give you and your company the best chance of finding top talent that fit your company values and ethos! Let’s champion skills based assessments instead!