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The Death of the Job Interview, and How Top Companies Are Replacing It

Interviewing is a pain for anyone who has to pass this all-in-or-nothing round. However, as the person on the other side of that table, you cannot tell if people are honest and telling the truth in an interview, unless you can read nonverbal signs or their minds. According to Ron Friedman, an award-winning social psychologist, we are creating a condition where people are being dishonest because it is the only way for them to get a job. As employers, we are also influenced by different external factors and likely judge candidates based on their appearance, accent, voice pitch, and other features. In order to avoid dishonesty and prejudice and select the best candidate with the best talents, Marcel Schwantes suggests in an article for Inc. that companies should replace them with “job auditions” that are relevant to the tasks for the job.

Create a Fair Stage for Performance

Just like how actors and actresses audition for a role on television, you can make your candidates audition for a role in your company. If you’re looking for a sales rep, have that person sell you and other interviewers your product. If you’re looking for a writer, have him or her write a 500 to 1,000-word article about a relevant subject matter. In either case, you create a practical context for candidates to use and deliver their skills into a tangible product within a framed period of time. You won’t also doze off from the boring list of questions that you have to keep repeating to every interviewee. Friedman’s research also confirms that, with audition, we can create a far better approach to hiring people, and increase the probability of hiring the right people for our jobs and our organization.

Menlo, a Michigan-based software developer, applies this interview technique and calls it “extreme interviewing.” The company does not question any applicants, but brings in 50 job candidates at one time and pairs them for 20 minutes. What’s being evaluated in this audition process is whether job candidates can collaborate and get along with their partners, as Menlo’s culture thrives on an open-space, collaborative setting. Automattic, a web development corporation in San Francisco, goes as far as allowing every final candidate to work for the company for three to eight weeks on a contract basis, doing real tasks alongside their permanent employees. The goal is to assess effectively their performance and social skills needed to build relationships:

While traditional interviews aren’t going away any time soon, tightening up an interview process with tryouts or auditions is critical to hitting your target. It lessens the length of time from initial résumé-screening to hire, safeguarding companies from the loss of productivity that results when workers are pulled away to interview good “actors.”

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