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Exploring traditional interview models in the modern work world

Dec 31, 2020

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As the employment market continues to improve and candidates have more options in choosing how and where they want to work, engaging top talent has become increasingly difficult for employers -- so much so that only 7.7% of organizations admit to being able to successfully attract quality talent, fill positions quickly and optimize costs.

Yet, when employers do engage the talent they need, the onus is then on them to convince the best ones to stay. And this critical sale should be a top priority during in the interview stage. Because as an employer, it isn't all about you anymore.

But, how are talent leaders doing it?
It's a matter of making the interview process work for the organization and the candidate. Because as the world of work continues to evolve, and the modern worker along with it, it's become critical for organizations to re-visit their talent acquisition strategies, but not completely re-invent the interview wheel, to remain competitive.

Does the traditional interview model have a place in the modern work world?


It's a complicated question. In the end, however, the answer is yes -- for now.


Although traditional models vary from in-person, video or phone interviews to one-on-one, group and panel meetings, the fact of the matter is that while some may consider these models mundane or tedious, they've been industry standard for decades, and they're still considered highly effective by talent leaders when screening for the skills, experience and abilities needed to perform a job. 

LinkedIn recently surveyed over 9,000 recruiters and hiring managers from 39 countries to gain insight into the popularity and effectiveness of traditional interview models. The survey found 74 per cent frequently or always use a traditional structured format with an 88 per cent success rate.

But there is room for improvement
Here's the confusing part.

Despite the preference and popularity of traditional interview models, they've also been proven to be almost as ineffective as they are effective. 

While traditional models are great for assessing must-have skills and qualifications, research finds they also have a limited ability to assess important factors like soft skills and weaknesses. Moreover, traditional models are also prone to introducing bias into the interview process - whether on a conscience or unconscience level.


Top talent is only on the market for about 10 days, yet the average traditional interview process will last around 22, and 36 per cent of candidates will go ghost if they think the process is too long.


Yet, there are tools that can help fix the problems
With the rise of technology, combined with the wave of millennials and Gen Z in the workforce, attitudes towards employment have shifted, forcing engagement strategies to grow with the generational upsurge. This means that recruiters and hiring managers must get creative in how and where they engage the new wave worker in order to bring them in for an interview.

Further research from LinkedIn finds 55 per cent of talent leaders and hiring managers say that new interview tools are the top trend impacting how they hire.

These top five identified trends by LinkedIn are:

1. Soft skill assessments (59%)
Interviewers can get a more realistic snapshot of the candidates' traits like teamwork, adaptability or flexibility, gaining insight into whether he or she is the right skill and cultural fit. 

2. Job auditions (54%) 
Organizations like Citadel are paying candidates to do real work in order to observe their work ethic and skills in action. 

3. Meeting in casual settings (53%)
Casual interview settings over a meal or coffee offer a unique glimpse into a candidate's character and can limit any bias that occurs in more traditional formats. Organizations like Charles Schwab, for example, have taken this approach a step further by planning ahead to ensure candidates' meals are prepared incorrectly to observe how they react when things don't go according to plan.

4. Virtual reality assessments (28%)
Skill testing can be done by immersing candidates in simulated environments to test real-life skills in a standardized way. Lloyds Banking Group, for example, immersed candidates in scenarios they would face at the bank, although one was set in a Greek temple.

5. Video interviews (18%)
Whether they're recorded or happening live, video interviews are tapping into much broader talent pools in less time it takes to bring candidates in for in-person interviews. 

The role of the government
As the “world of work” continues to evolve and incorporate more non-traditional employment models, we believe that this will only continue to grow and shift.  Employers will continue to become more sophisticated in their own talent acquisition abilities and will do more and more of it themselves, relying less on the current service provider mix.   

However, this shift will not be without its challenges, as the governments (and special interest groups) who are currently reliant on the traditional employer-employee model, scramble to modernize their own business processes in an effort to keep up.  

As this modernization takes flight, we think it is critical to maintain a dialog between employers and the government entities to ensure that the inevitable evolution is well constructed and properly executed so as not to force employers to find refuge in other geographies (and economies) who are friendlier to the employers.  

Conclusion: Organizations need to re-visit rather than re-invent 
Globalization, ever-emerging technologies and demographic change are having a profound impact on both our society and workforce. The future of work is now, and organizations need to re-assess rather than re-invent their interview models in order to meet the challenges of a changing world. Would these modern trends compliment your traditional interview model? 

How is your organization engaging and keeping in touch with talent? Learn how a Direct Sourcing program with a trusted partner can help you stay connected to qualified candidates with our Free Guide: What is Direct Sourcing?DOWNLOAD WHITE PAPER

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