Move over extroverts, the introverts are here to interview

Interviews can cause a lot of stress for job seekers. The process is difficult for many people between articulating strengths and weaknesses, selling skills and adapting to unanticipated curveballs.

Introverts or those who don’t do well in stressful situations may find interviewing particularly challenging. Interviews traditionally favour extroverted and outgoing individuals who make great first impressions. This could mean some qualified applicants are turned down because they are introverted and don’t interview well.

Some HR managers have clued into this and are using new, innovative techniques and practices to seek out the best candidates. Read ahead to learn about some of these techniques and why HR managers are using them to transform the hiring process.

Soft skills assessments

Sometimes people will lie or exaggerate in an interview. According to an article published by CNBC, up to 78 per cent of candidates lie at some point during the hiring process.

“This can certainly be a problem,” Jennifer Kowalska, a Toronto-based HR manager, said.

According to Kowalska, soft skills assessments won’t eliminate liars from the interviewing process, but they help screen candidates and identify the right kind of person for the job.

Kowalska explained that soft skill assessments can come in different forms, but ultimately, they are tools to understand a candidate’s personality more objectively. Whereas an applicant can say whatever they want about themselves during an interview, a soft skills assessment gives hiring managers an idea about who they really are rather than who they are in an interview.

Kowalska said that she asks candidates to complete a 20-minute survey even before they get to the interview stage. The platform she uses administers behavioural assessment software, and after the candidate has taken the test, she can see the candidate’s personality type. This allows her to screen candidates rapidly and efficiently.

In addition to being easier for HR managers, Kowalska said the process is better for diversity. She explained that everyone has biases, intentional or not, and using software like this helps get the right candidate for the job, no matter their background.

One-way video interviews

Remote work is a new reality in the workforce. Although many workers are back at the office, some companies have seen the benefits of remote employees and continue to hire for these roles. This has created a unique opportunity for HR managers to ask for one-way video interviews.

Instead of scheduling many video interviews, which can be tricky to juggle with an HR manager’s busy schedule, a one-way video interview consists of a candidate submitting a short, introductory video explaining who they are. According to Kowalska, this is effective for certain roles, such as candidates applying for sales positions or other customer-facing roles.

From an HR manager’s perspective, Kowalska said that the main advantage of one-way video interviews is that it streamlines the candidate screening process. Where a traditional video interview may take at least a half hour, one-way video interviews are typically five minutes long.

As for the candidates, Kowalska explained that many of her hires have said they enjoyed having the time to think about what they want to say and like the flexibility to record the video in as many takes as they want, whenever they want.

Kowalska said she asks for a one-way video interview only for candidates she is genuinely interested in learning more about. If a candidate has an impressive resume and a good one-way interview, she will move on to the formal interview process. Kowalska says she can usually narrow the candidate pool to a few people so everyone’s time is saved.

Casual settings

Although interviews in coffee shops are nothing new, Kowalska said s that her HR team moved in-person interviews to casual settings after her company adopted a hybrid-remote work model. She explained that traditionally, a candidate would be brought into her office both for her convenience and to offer the interviewee an opportunity to see their prospective workplace.

Casual interviews, she said, can preserve HR managers’ convenience while giving candidates a sense of their potential workplace environments as hybrid-remote workers. In her workplace, many employees work out of coffee shops and at home and only go into the office occasionally. By hosting interviews at coffee shops and other casual meeting spots, candidates can see where they could work if hired.

Kowalska said that she also feels candidates are more honest and relaxed in these environments, which benefits both the candidates and the HR team.

It’s still about the overall candidate

According to Kowalska, the most important thing about hiring is the candidate themselves. She explained that almost nobody does everything perfectly or is expected to. People will still get nervous or mess up during their interviews, but that doesn’t mean HR managers will hold that against them.

“It’s about the role overall and who fits best in it,” she said. If she is screening candidates for the IT department, for example, Kowalska said she doesn’t care as much if they can’t sell themselves as it’s not a speaking or customer-facing role. Instead, she is more focused on whether or not they would be good employees and easy to work with.

More than anything, these tools are just tools. Hiring, to Kowalska, is more of an art than a science. She explained that she is constantly looking for new ways to improve the hiring process for both HR and the candidates. The biggest takeaway, she said, is that HR managers should think about what the role is and how a candidate would fit into it rather than rely solely on classic hiring techniques. That way, they’ll get the right person for the job.

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