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To hire better, revamp the "classic" interview.

The One Big Idea:  Traditional interviews can be great for getting to know an applicant, but provide little insight into their ability to perform the job. Incorporating a test run scenario in the interview process increases hiring effectiveness by providing performance insights.  

 Why it matters:  The classic interview fails to capture whether the candidate possesses the necessary skills to excel at the role. Simply asking questions to the candidate produces meager results leading to wrong hires, costing roughly 30% to 50% of their salary. Yikes. Alternatively, deploying bite-sized projects or scenarios resembling the core work of the role provides richer data on candidate viability. We say that's a win! 

 How to deploy this concept: Rather than a classic interview, we suggest blending elements of an introductory screening interview, a test project, and a debrief conversation. This approach increases the likelihood of a hiring manager assessing the candidate's ability to perform the role. With 74% of employers reporting, hiring the wrong person for a position, it's time to embrace a new blended method.  

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How to design a test project or scenario: 

  • Identify a key function of the role for a "test run." For example, we would consider a social media post for a social media manager.  
  • Craft a simple prompt that captures this key function.   
  • Create a rubric to assess the results. Strive to clarify what is a poor versus stellar project result. 
  • Review and tweak after each new hire process. 
  • Maintain a database of submissions for future intel. 

Critical items needed: 

  • A well-defined prompt that is simple for the candidate to do.  
  • Clear candidate communication defines what to expect, how to complete the prompt, why it's necessary, and how it is reviewed.
  • Well-trained hiring managers who understand the prompt, the process, and the rubric.  
  • Solidified prompt rubric to assess results.  

Keep in mind: This is not generic skills test. 

  • Generic off-the-shelf skills exams are perfect to narrow down an initial candidate pool; however, they do not test if the candidates can perform this job.  
  • A custom-designed test scenario for this specific role will showcase how the candidate will approach the key function of this role.  

Interview misconceptions: 

  • A good interview doesn’t predict a good employee.  
  • Past performance doesn't predict future performance.  

Dive deeper:

Harvard Business Review article "When Hiring, Prioritize Assignments Over Interviews" from 2022: