An increasing number of hiring managers is using a variety of interview techniques to weed out the best candidates. These techniques include putting interviewees through ‘curveball’ or unconventional questions of the “If you were a colour, which colour would you be?” variety; taking candidates out to lunch to test how they communicate in social environments; and asking impossible-to-answer questions to see how well candidates cope under pressure. These approaches therefore serve a purpose, so it’s worth being prepared for them. Below are five other creative interview techniques that are being used today.
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1. Perform an activity
A Caribbean restaurant chain based in Derby, England, asks prospective hires to showcase their limbo dancing skills during job interviews, according to this post in Recruitment Grapevine. This helps the company judge the attitude of the candidates: friendliness and an ability to make others feel relaxed are important attributes of people from the Caribbean, so it is key that candidates can embody this ethos.
2. Go for a meal
I once had an interview with the MD of a well-known copywriter agency – the interview was held over lunch in the restaurant of a large London museum. It was a lovely experience and one that I would be happy to repeat. However, not all employers are as gracious as my MD: some go as far as instructing the waiter beforehand to spill a drink or make an error with an order to see how empathic the applicant is.
Taking a prospective candidate out for lunch allows an employer to interview an applicant in more relaxed circumstances – when their guard is likely to be down. This encourages applicants to ‘be themselves’, enabling the interviewer to assess the cultural fit of the applicant.
3. Meet the team
This technique involves setting aside a portion of the interview time for the applicant to interact with current team members (the hiring manager is typically absent). Not only does this allow the candidate to ask questions of current team members, but it also gives the hiring manager the benefit of having different perspectives on the applicant. One hiring manager who uses this method will not hire a person if current team members do not believe the applicant will be a good fit.
4. Prove your fit
Direct Tire & Auto Services asks prospective hires to arrive for interviews as early as 7am, because that is the time customers leave their cars with the company. Candidates who are late for these early morning interviews are deemed to be a poor fit and are therefore not hired.
5. Show off your observational skills
Some interviewers will ask a seemingly benign question, such as asking for a description of the applicant’s university’s logo. This technique aims to assess the attention to detail of a prospective employee; what seems an innocuous question is often a surprisingly difficult one to answer.
These activities look to test how a prospective employee reasons, socialises and thinks on his or her feet. But interviewees should still expect a hefty dose of job-related questions. The trick is to be prepared – whatever the process used.