Are traditional interviews becoming irrelevant?


Interviews are by far the most common method used to assess an individual’s suitability for a job. And yet, when the pros and cons of this approach are compared with the alternatives, it is hard to think of the traditional face-to-face, question-based interview as anything other than an old-fashioned exercise which could potentially be a waste of candidates’ time and a company’s money.

Traditional interviews can be a frustrating experience for both parties. Often unstructured and littered with generic questions, candidates find themselves resorting to practiced answers and the interviewer is left to make an important decision without the required level of information. Not to mention this format also allows for discrimination or unconscious bias to play a role in the hiring decision. Many recruiters and hiring managers appear to have a never-ending love affair with traditional interviews, but do they know there are alternatives out there?

“I think the reason a lot of hiring managers and recruiters go with traditional methods is largely down to, like you said, not knowing any other way. Or, even if they are aware of other methods, not having the required level of training or fully understanding the benefits can make someone less confident in exploring them”, explains Amber Dique-Bellette.

“Most recruiters and many hiring managers have been taught how to conduct a traditional interview and this means they have confidence they can accurately assess a candidates suitability for a position. If you’ve never used a non-traditional method to recruit, it can certainly feel like a risk using one you don’t know! Given how important successful recruitment is to a business, it’s understandable that many hiring managers like to use a process that they know well.”

As Recruitment Team Leader for Employment Office – one of SCOUT’s valued partners – Amber is well acquainted with a variety of interview and assessment methods, carrying these out on behalf of a number of clients. And, it’s fair to say, some are certainly more interesting than others.

“We do a lot of assessment centres for our clients, which have included some very different things! There have been a lot of customer service role plays. We even had one client get candidates to leave a voicemail in a role play environment because they wanted to hear what they sounded like when doing so. We’ve got candidates to do role-specific tasks, like writing a performance review or some kind of reporting. We’ve had them show us how they’d handle an aggressive client or a complaint. And we even had a prospect once that assessed people’s hand writing as part of the hiring process!”

Alex Hood, SCOUT Training and Implementation Specialist, has worked with many clients in implementing the system to match their recruitment process. As a result he has seen lots of different recruitment strategies and approaches.

“Hundreds of Australian companies use SCOUT to manage their recruitment and interview processes, and the variety of interview types that are conducted within the system is really interesting. I’ve seen clients experiment with everything from 10 minute phone interviews to Skype interviews to video interviews to group assessments,” notes Alex. “We’re seeing a rise in the “2 minute video resume” which gives the Hiring Manager a good feel for the candidate before deciding whether or not to interview them at all.”

With so many alternative approaches available, we would love to hear your thoughts on what you think interviewing will look like in the future. Please feel free to leave a comment below and join the discussion!

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