According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it takes an average of 42 days and over $4,100 for companies to fill one job. And the price of making a bad hire—as about 74 percent of employers have done at some point—is high: an average of $14,900.  

 

To make your investment count and ensure that you hire the right person, one of the most critical parts of the hiring process is the interview. Yet many organizations continue to rely on a tired interview process that follows a predictable script, from the hearty handshake to small talk to standard questions that reveal little more than what’s on the candidate’s resume—and whether they’ve practiced their answers to the questions they know you’re going to ask.

 

To step up your interview game, consider these twists on the traditional interview format, which will help you better assess candidates’ skills and intelligence.  

 

Move around

There’s something about sitting across from a job candidate in an office setting that stiffens the conversation, leading both the interviewers and the interviewee to retreat to familiar territory. Instead, plan to conduct at least part of each interview on the move. 

 

Take job candidates on a tour of the building and watch how they interact with your other employees. Do they ask questions? Are they polite? Do they have a sense of humor? Sharing a coffee or meal is another way to break up the traditional interview flow. One thing you’ll uncover is whether the candidate knows how to keep a conversation going—a valuable trait for many types of jobs, from sales to leadership.

 

Ask the unexpected

Google is one of many tech companies that famously used off-the-wall questions to assess candidates—everything from “If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?” to “How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane?” 

 

But Google and others have largely dropped their quirky brain teasers in favor of questions that are both creative and relevant to the job. To come up with these questions, make a list of traditional interview questions and then come up with creative alternatives to them that will encourage greater thoughtfulness from the candidate.

 

For example, instead of asking what the candidate’s top three strengths are, instead ask them what their greatest natural ability is or what skill they have that stands out above all others. 

Instead of asking them what they perceive their weaknesses to be, ask them what others think their weaknesses are—a slightly different spin that will reveal more about their self-awareness and honesty.

 

Get the support you need

Insero & Co. is a public accounting firm with decades of experience working with businesses and nonprofits of all sizes. We provide affordable direct-hire solutions to companies of all sizes, as well as outsourcing and co-sourcing solutions on a temporary or long-term basis. Whatever type of help you’re looking for, we’re here to help you find the right solution in these trying times.