Traditional interviews don't have the best reputations. In fact, some research even suggests that interviews can actually do more harm than good -- if not managed appropriately. 

In a LinkedIn Talent Solutions report, Richard Nisbett, professor of social psychology at the University of Michigan, went so far as to say that "when it comes to choosing a candidate, [traditional] interviews are as much use as flipping a coin."

As a recruiter, I'd like to think that the odds are a bit better than a coin toss. But I can see where Nisbett is coming from. If left unchecked, unconscious bias, a lack of structure, and poor interview questions can make selecting the right candidate extremely difficult.

To address these concerns, my team has provided interview training to reduce bias and revamped our evaluation process to drive consistency and objectivity. 

In addition to these solutions, many organizations are exploring new ways to improve their recruiting processes.

LinkedIn surveyed 8,815 talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers from around the globe and identified five new trends reshaping the candidate experience. 

1. Soft skills assessments 

One of the major limitations to traditional interviews is the ability to assess candidates' soft skills (i.e., grit, curiosity, and teamwork). If well prepared, candidates can easily over-embellish these abilities or, on the flip side, they can be ruled out if they don't articulate their capability in these areas. 

To measure intangible abilities, organizations are taking a look at soft skill assessments. For example, Citi uses Koru (provider of predictive hiring technology) to provide a more complete view of their candidates' strengths. 

Courtney Storz, Citi's head of global campus recruiting, is convinced that soft skill assessments are here to stay: 

We all want information to make better hiring decisions, to better understand who is most likely to be successful at our firms, and who is most likely to stay. These assessments are meant to do just that, hence our interest in testing and learning.

In my organization, we utilize a tool called the Predictive Index (PI). The PI helps us uncover individual work styles (soft skills) to better understand the motivators behind employee behavior. These motivators and strengths can be leveraged to increase employee productivity and effectiveness. 

Soft skill assessments provide organizations with additional information that can help you make better decisions while positioning employees for success. 

2. Job auditions 

I loved the metaphor LinkedIn referenced -- "NFL coaches don't ask a prospect to describe catching a football -- they watch them catch a football." 

Similarly, many organizations are switching to "auditions" rather than traditional interviews. Citadel, for instance, has designed all-day job auditions in which students compete for cash (and jobs) by solving real business problems. 

In the process, Citadel recruiters assess the candidates' troubleshooting capabilities, see how they perform in high-pressure situations, and reduce unconscious-bias risk by measuring actual performance instead of interview skills. 

3. Casual settings 

When it comes to assessing character, formal settings leave little room for personalities to shine through. Character is so important to Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger that he invites candidates to breakfast and asks restaurants to intentionally mess up their orders: 

Are they upset, are they frustrated, or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that. It's just another way to get a look inside their heart rather than their head.

Casual settings in general help candidates relax and elicit more natural responses. 

As part of our interviewing process for internships, my organization offers prospective interns the opportunity to network with our employees through coffee chats, lunch, and informal Q&A sessions with former interns. 

4. Virtual reality assessments 

Can a candidate really do what they say they can? This is a common fear among recruiters and hiring managers. Virtual reality (VR) solves for that, says senior recruitment manager Arbi Rai from Lloyds Banking Group: 

Using virtual reality to assess candidates has helped us predict real life behavior more accurately. By revealing authentic ability rather than practiced responses, it's leading us to better hiring decisions. 

As part of their final interviewing process, Lloyds Banking Group candidates are immersed in a virtual world that allows them to put their problem-solving skills to the test while an evaluator simultaneously rates their performance using standardized metrics. 

5. Video Interviews 

Traditionally, phone interviews serve as your first interaction with a prospective employer. Without the ability to see and read each other's body language, phone interviews make it difficult to "jump off the page" and engage your audience. 

To improve the experience, KPMG is turning to video interviewing technology. Nikki Harrison, KPMG's head of people and culture transformation, said offering video has been a huge help. "These more relaxed videos help us assess candidate impact, communication skills, and answers to behavioral interview questions."

While it might have been difficult to assess a candidate in these areas before an onsite interview, it can now be done through live and pre-recorded videos, further streamlining the recruiting process. 

I don't think organizations are ready to give up on traditional interviews just yet. However, there are definitely areas of the recruitment process in need of a makeover. These tools can help you streamline and improve the candidate experience while enhancing the quality of talent you hire.

Published on: Feb 26, 2018