Why you don’t need to interview job applicants and other recruitment tips

07 March 2016 -


Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart ditched the face-to-face interview for three of its recent hires. Insights looks at this recruitment innovation and 6 other ways you can ensure you hire the right candidates for your business

Jermaine Haughton

After sifting through hundreds of CVs and cover letters, interviews are often one of the final, yet critical, parts of the hiring process, whereby managers come face-to-face with their prospective new employee.

And with nearly half of British businesses anticipating that finding the new talent they need will be very difficult in the coming years, the importance of recruiting the right staff is sky-high.

But some companies are doing away with the traditional application process and taking a new (and novel) approach to selecting their future employees.

Tech company Flipkart has made the bold move to dump the interview process to find a less time-consuming and more objective alternative, with the Indian e-commerce giant hiring three graduates from Udacity’s Android Developer Nanodegree programme without interviewing any of them.

“The conventional hiring process often comes down to the performance of the candidate on that specific day, which may not be a true reflection of their skills and temperament,” said Peeyush Ranjan, chief technology officer at Flipkart. “This is where a partner like Udacity comes into the picture. We met them a few months ago with our case and wanted to try out this new space.

“The shortlisted profiles provided by them and the in-depth data we received were very helpful and allowed us to assess the candidate’s competencies in a much better way.”

This ‘interviewless’ approach may not become the path of choice for the majority of organisations, so here are six ways you can ensure you hire the best candidates on the market.

Figure out what your firm actually needs

Whether your firm requires a marketer, auditor or programmer, employers should identify whether there are particular skills or experience they need on their team.

Managers must also work out how they will find the evidence, and that may include certifications, specific accomplishments, the right references, or even an on-the-spot test.

The right cultural fit must also be identified, and employers must think carefully in choosing the environment, conditions and settings at which they examine staff.

For example, would a group interview be a better test of teamworking and leadership skills, which may be more vital to your business goals?

Describe the process

Honesty and transparency should be a two-way process during job interviews. Managers need to ensure candidates know exactly what to expect, from the location of the interview, the date and time, to who will be involved.

As well as reflecting a sense of professionalism, being clear and direct in providing candidates with all the necessary interview information provides the perfect foundation for them to concentrate on marketing their skills and personality effectively.

Find out how applicants think

Setting out short, timed problem-solving and scenario-focused tasks for job applicants is an ideal way to examine how he/she thinks and attempts to complete duties while under pressure.

While tasks shouldn't be too taxing, having a small task related to a current project can quickly distinguish between the strong and weak prospects.

Provide them with a description of an actual problem that they will face on their first day then ask them to walk you through the broad steps they would take in order to solve the problem.

Prior to the interview, make a list of the essential steps. Deduct points if they omit important steps like gathering data, consulting with the team or customer, and identifying success metrics.

Listen to what they aren’t saying

One of the most important reasons for face-to-face job interviews is that employers are able to physically meet and communicate with applicants.

Managers can observe the body language presented by candidates. Is he slouching in his chair? Is she not looking in your eyes when talking? All of these are key indicators on how applicants may conduct themselves when communicating with stakeholders in pressurised situations.

The general rule of thumb is that a person who can't make an effort for the interview certainly won't make one on the job.

Conversation is vital

A razor sharp knife couldn’t cut the tension in the room of most interviews, but it doesn't have to be that way. Rather than being stressed or focused on your notebook and the questions in it, be open and expansive with your interactions with the applicant.

Mix competency questions with queries on their interests and past enjoyable experiences and always be ready to answer follow-up questions.

If you want to get a little bit more out of them or something original, wait for five seconds after they finish their last sentence and do not say anything. The pause is likely to encourage them to continue speaking, breaking away from rehearsed answers.

Let them quiz you

Always leave time at the end of the interview for the applicant to ask questions and pay attention to what he or she asks.

Up to this point you are likely have rambled on to excess about current projects, goals, strategies and business objectives. Asking more questions about those topics may show the candidate was actually listening and shows an interest in the firm.

Also, by allowing candidates to ask questions, managers could pick up further understanding as to what the applicant wants from the job role and organisation, as well as assess which applicants have really done their homework and researched your company and the industry.

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