After reading hundreds of resumes, you’ve narrowed your applicant pool to a handful of qualified candidates for employment. It’s time to pull out your old, worn copy of the interview questions that have been circulating since the company began.

Be honest. Does asking your candidates where they see themselves in five years really shine any light on their twenty-first-century skills?

Hiring fresh new talent requires bold, unique interview strategies that address the skills and abilities your company needs. We’ve collected eight contemporary interview techniques that will help you find employees with impressive skills that don’t come out in traditional interviews. 

Effective interviewing begins with innovation. Read on to discover eight types of interviews to help you find the most qualified new talent for the role. 

1. Meet Them Where They Are

Interviews can be stressful for employers and applicants alike, and no one involved is acting entirely like their most authentic selves. Instead of a stuffy, performative interview at an office, consider meeting your candidates where they are. Invite candidates to interview at a local coffee shop or a restaurant for a light lunch.

What’s a more telling way to learn about a person than watching how they treat the waiter? Plus, the more casual pace and tone will allow for more authentic and genuine conversation and connection.

You may not be dating your candidate, but you’ll be sharing an office for years to come—you might as well get to know who they are as a person! 

2. Bring In Your Staff

Who knows more about the culture of your company than your hardworking staff? Invite individuals from the prospective employee’s department to sit in during the interview. Invite them to ask the types of questions you wouldn’t think to ask.

Likewise, make sure to consider their opinions when making final decisions. They’re the ones who will have to work alongside the new employee every day. If a few of your best employees get a bad vibe from your top candidate, that’s telling information. 

If you’re interviewing for an executive or c-level position, make use of Confidential Executive Search and Recruiting, and include many employees at that level. 

3. Try a Team Interview

If you like the idea of involving your staff, consider incorporating their expertise beyond the formal interview. Set an authentic work task for your candidate and have them work with your team to accomplish it.

You’ll be able to see how they fit in with your existing employees in an authentic atmosphere while you assess their technical skills and expertise. 

4. Begin With Cognitive Screening 

In this day and age, nearly every candidate will have a solid educational background. A degree won’t tell you about their genuine cognitive ability, however. Many contemporary employers are using pre-interview cognitive testing to see where prospective employees fit in with existing hires.

To begin, all of your existing staff will take a norm-referenced or standardized cognitive test. Applicants can take the same assessment as part of the interview process. That will allow you to directly compare new talent to existing talent and find the new hire who will fit in. 

Furthermore, the results give you something different and concrete to discuss during the interview. 

5. Offer a Creative Challenge

Asking prospective employees about their strengths and weaknesses only allows you to assess their ability to come up with convincing elevator pitches. Curate unique questions or arrange a practical challenge if you want a genuine assessment of soft skills and creative insight.

You’ll learn how well your prospect can think on their feet and how they respond if they’re genuinely stumped.

Many Fortune 500 companies, including Google and Intel, have reputations for challenging their new hires. Ask prospective employees to solve a hypothetical problem, explain a complex concept as if addressing a child, or produce a bespoke work sample.

6. Deploy a Surprise Test of Character

While it may seem a bit underhanded, many employers are deploying surprise tests of character in the middle of formal interviews. This can be as simple as dropping a pen during a conversation and seeing how the applicant responds. It will immediately reveal your prospective hire’s innate drive toward empathy, which a person cannot easily fake.

7. Send Questions in Advance

Interviews are stressful enough without a barrage of mysterious, impossible questions. Your applicant is already out of their element, dressed in uncomfortable clothing, and feeling your scrutiny. Almost anyone would be more articulate if they had the opportunity to prepare responses to questions rather than come up with a spontaneous answer while nervous.

When you send the interview questions in advance, applicants will spend less time anticipating them. With one major stressor off the table, they’ll approach the conversation feeling confident. Given time to prepare, they’re far more likely to respond with answers of value rather than the first thing that comes to mind. 

8. Arrange a Working Interview 

You can learn a lot about a person after spending just one day in their presence. Invite your candidate to spend a whole day in the office shadowing an existing employee. Have them stick around for meetings, lunch, and any gatherings or office celebrations. 

This is a great way to see your prospective employee in multiple authentic contexts and gauge how well they fit in.

Only invite your interviewee to spend the day if you can compensate them for their time, however. They’ll have a more successful interview if they know they aren’t losing money in the process. 

Interview Strategies to Discover Your Next Great Hire

Choosing the right candidate for a position can feel like taking a shot in the dark. Rather than relying on outdated strategies and intuition, give a few of these contemporary interview strategies a try. You might find yourself considering a stellar, unexpected candidate and embracing a unique hire.

It’s time to bring your business practices into the twenty-first century. Check out the rest of the blog for more tips to help you transform your practice and discover great talent.