Is the Traditional Job Interview Dying Off?

Despite how much industries have evolved and personnel responsibilities have changed, the job interview process has gone relatively untouched for decades. Are things about to change?

You have a phone interview. Then you have a few face-to-face interviews. You’re asked about your strengths, weaknesses, etc. Some companies try to get creative with “tricky” questions, but all in all, it’s the same dog-and-pony show.

In reality, this rarely gives the hiring manager or the candidate a good idea if a fit exists. Studies show that the majority of people lie on interviews (even if it’s minor) and with everyone putting their best foot forward, much of the interaction turns into illusion.

This is why some companies have decided it’s time for the interviewing process to evolve. Rather than a question-answer dance, they want the process to be more like an audition. It’s a time to really observe what a candidate can do, rather than just what they say and offer on paper.

At its basic level, this means asking candidates to complete a sample project. A writer would take a writing test. A web designer would create a landing page. A sales rep would be challenged to sell a product to an internal team. All these examples will provide deep insight into how a candidate will really perform on the job.

Some companies invite worthy candidates to job shadow for an entire day. This allows the candidate to get a good feel for what they would be doing and helps the team learn if a cultural fit exists or not. After all, if the team is happy, the hire will be a successful one.

A few organizations take this further by inviting high-quality candidates to complete short contract stints. They pay for a week or two of real work, with the idea that at the end of the period the candidate will be reviewed for permanent hire. This lets a candidate start to sink their teeth into the real work, which provides valuable insight for them and HR.

A related trend that’s happening more and more is “faceless interviews.” In an effort to eliminate unconscious biases, companies will interview candidates without ever seeing what they look like. This could be all via phone or online. Some tech companies have even been known to stick only to online interactions, knowing that the sound and tone of a person’s voice also can influence biases.

Does this mean you’ll never again step into a meeting room to face a team of people asking you about your resume? No, not likely.

While many HR departments are starting to evolve the interview process in order to best serve their hiring needs, most continue to see the value of Q&A interviews. But don’t be surprised if you see a hybrid between the traditional and the new age, because it’s likely both will be part of the hiring process of the future.

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