The Alternatives to Job Interviews


Are job interviews still the best way of finding the ideal candidate? Although a job interview can tell you a lot about a person, they aren’t always an accurate way of determining how good someone will be at a job role. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Leadership IQ, almost half (46%) of new hires will fail within 18 months of joining a business. But what other ways are there of assessing a candidate?

Tricky Job Interview Questions

It’s becoming increasingly common to ask slightly bizarre questions during a job interview, with the intention of finding out how quickly someone can think on their feet, and how good they are under pressure. For example, you might ask a candidate to give you a reason they shouldn’t be hired. Or if they were a biscuit, what type would they be and why?

The issue with these types of questions is that there is little evidence to suggest that they can emulate the stresses of a job role. A job interview where you’re asked peculiar questions may be fairly stress inducing, but perhaps not in comparison to a high pressure job.

There’s not really any evidence to back up the success rate of a job interview at all. We simply follow the same pattern because it’s what we’ve always done. Of course not all interviews are as formal as others, and some businesses may extend the job interview process over the course of several interviews, but for the most part they all follow a similar basic structure. The question is, have you ever asked yourself why you stick to this format? Does it yield consistent results?

If the answer is yes, you may not need to shake things up too much. But if you want to try different methods of hiring a candidate, we’ve explored a few novel recruitment methods below!

1. Virtual Reality

Back in 2017, you may have heard that Lloyds Bank became the first business to use virtual reality to assess candidates. And since then, they have ensured that any applicant going through one of their assessment centres has the opportunity to demonstrate their skills via virtual reality.

So how does this process work? Essentially, each candidate is presented with a computer-generated environment, in which they’ll be able to move freely, as well as pick up virtual objects. Within this environment, each individual will be faced with various scenarios and puzzles that simply couldn’t be recreated in a typical interview setup.

Sometimes, with a written job description, it can be difficult to fully articulate what a role entails. This means that some candidates may apply despite not being well suited for the job. But with virtual environments, you can ensure that nothing is left to misinterpretation.

2. Trial Shifts

Another great way to see whether someone would be a good fit for a role is to get them to do a trial shift. Obviously it’s sensible to have an informal chat with the candidate first, rather than just telling them to jump straight in, but trial shifts can test someone’s practical ability to do a job.

This method of assessing a candidate is probably most popular within the hospitality industry, such as with wait or bar staff. It’s easy to see whether someone has performed a similar role previously when you ask them to demonstrate their skills, and with these types of jobs, the skills are pretty interchangeable from role to role.

A trial shift can also be useful for people who are not great at articulating themselves verbally. For instance, a candidate may find it hard to answer questions under pressure in an interview setting, but perform brilliantly when asked to write computer software. You don’t want to overlook outstanding candidates simply because they get nervous during interviews.

3. Anonymous Voting

If you’re looking for a more unusual approach to hiring candidates, you could put the decision in the hands of your employees. The general practice is to get an interviewer to make an assessment of whether someone is a good candidate. But they won’t be working with them. So you can ask the team who would be this individual’s coworkers to make the decision instead.

The idea is to get the candidate to come in for a trial shift, and then ask the people they worked alongside to vote anonymously as to whether they’re a suitable fit for the role. The candidate won’t be aware that this is how they’re being assessed, so should be less nervous throughout the process.

The benefit of this approach is that your employees are the ones who know what skills and expertise are needed to do the required daily tasks. They’ll also have a good idea of what sort of person would fit well in the team and company culture.

4. Bring Your Own Team

While this was an experimental hiring approach trialled by Stripe, a technology company that builds online economic infrastructure, it is based on very logical ideas. When growing your business, you’re trying to build cohesive teams that work well together. So why only hire individuals?

With this approach, businesses can hire a small group of people, usually between three and five, who are already well connected and have worked together previously. The trial was discontinued at Stripe, as the logistics of hiring multiple applicants at the same time proved to be too difficult, but this doesn’t mean it won’t work in some instances.

This out-of-the-box thinking may also encourage other businesses to consider less traditional hiring practises too. Perhaps there are other innovative ways to find the best candidates that we haven’t thought of yet!


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