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The future of the interview – what’s next for the fail-safe face-to-face

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Do you remember when job adverts were published in newspapers, when it was normal to accept paper CVs and all interviews were held face-to-face? With the rise of digital and social media, the traditional format once followed by recruiters is changing fast. It’s a new world for Employers and Candidates alike. So, if you’re planning to hire someone new in 2019, perhaps it’s worth trying some of these business trends.

Interviewing remotely

These days most interviewees are expected to be familiar with, and able to operate, technology. This has led to the rise of remote interviews, over Skype for example, which cuts out travel time and costs. Companies can speak to Candidates from different locations, even globally, before inviting their favourites in for a meeting. For businesses who operate remotely this is a chance to test peoples’ ability to communicate in a different way and whether they’re suitable for this type of job.

Computer games

Last year, management consultant company McKinsey came up with a new way to select Candidates. Job seekers were given a computer game to play and had to show how they’d use their problem-solving skills to build a healthy coral reef. This might sound like a strange way to hire someone, but one of the benefits of testing people this way is that you’re able to detect lateral thinkers. If you’re a creative business, where things are constantly changing, you’ll know how important it is to have this kind of Employee. It’s also a good way to choose between talented Candidates with a wealth of qualifications, to see which of them surprises you with their performance – so it could be that more and more businesses use this method.

Testing skills and personality

Face-to-face interviews remain a useful tool, but they don’t tell you everything about the person in front of you. If you’re looking for evidence of competence, or how a person will fit in the workplace, consider using a skills or personality test. These can be used to screen applicants before an offer to meet in person or can be used at the interview itself. Increasingly, these are taking place online, through remote skills assessment centres. Psychometric tests can show you how people will think or act in certain situations, and when used alongside traditional interview questions, can help you to build a fuller picture of a person. If you’re looking for specific attributes, such as coding in HTML, it makes sense to see how good someone is at this before they join you.

Video applications

This type of application doesn’t suit everyone, so it’s important to think about who you’re looking to attract. However, if you’re looking to appeal to millennials in particular, it might be worth a try. This new generation of Employees is familiar with the technology needed to produce a video and it allows them to express an interest without having to fill out a lengthy form. With a video, you’re able to see someone’s personality straight away, to get a feel for who they are and what motivates them. You can measure peoples’ enthusiasm for the role through body language and eye contact. For Candidates, it’s a chance to show some creative flair, as well as presentation skills, which can be particularly useful for industries like marketing, advertising or consultancy.

Job auditions or work trials

This is where you pay Candidates to work for you, so that you can observe them in action. Trials could take place in the workplace, or they could take a different form. For example, investment company Citadel decided to hold auditions for hundreds of university students who competed for cash by solving business problems. With this type of interview process, it’s important to make sure it’s beneficial for the Candidate as well as the business. The audition should be reasonable, in terms of time and effort, and exciting for those taking part. The advantage? This could be the closest you’ll get to seeing how applicants perform on a day-to-day basis in the workplace.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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