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Is the Job Interview Dead? 5 Recruitment Alternatives for Smaller Businesses

Is the job interview dead? Not just yet. But there are a number of serious alternatives small business owners and hiring managers should consider when selecting new employees. This post offers a brief overview of five major alternatives to the traditional job interview. We’ll cover each of these, and others, in more detail in future posts.

Alternative Recruitment Strategies for Smaller Businesses

1. Situational Interviews

Situational interviews are somewhat related to behavioural interviews except that during a situational interview, candidates are asked to describe some future performance rather than an action of the past. Situational interview questions pose a scenario and ask candidates to specify what they would do.

Examples: How would you handle a situation in which you had to….

  • Inform your manager that you do not agree with how a project is to be carried out?
  • Let your supervisor know that your work will not be delivered on time?
  • Notify a customer that there will be a week’s delay in completing the work?
2. Group Interviews

Group interviews are a cost-efficient method of interviewing candidates while also providing an opportunity for your company to evaluate candidates on several dimensions: interpersonal skills, dress, attitude, and body language. You’ll also be able to evaluate such critical competencies as verbal communication skills, problem solving, and leadership potential. Top candidates may then be invited to continue the process with a one-on-one interview.

3. Video Interviews

Video interviewing is emerging as a cost-effective approach that saves time for both employers and candidates. Traditionally, employers might have considered video interviews only for candidates in remote geographies. But innovative alternatives are emerging – including RecruitLoop’s recorded video interviews.

Some of the benefits of recorded video interviews? Apart from the obvious time savings, they allow employers to standardize interview questions; review the same interview multiple times; and share interviews with colleagues. Typically video interviews will be used as an efficient screening tool, to avoid multiple first-round in-person interviews. However, for some roles they might be used for the entire interview process.

4. Employment Testing

Employment tests are an objective method of evaluating whether candidates possess the requisite skill set and knowledge to successfully perform in a given role. Many research studies conducted over the past twenty years have indicated that the results of cognitively-based assessments (eg math proficiency or word usage) are highly accurate in predicting future performance in those jobs where these skills are critical for success. Behavioral testing is also important as it adds the dimension of cultural fit and work style, thereby providing a 360° perspective of each candidate.

5. Knowledge Testing

Knowledge testing is used to test a candidate’s knowledge with regard to specific skills needed to perform the job successfully. In contrast to pre-employment testing, knowledge tests are most appropriate to use when a new employee will need to apply those skills immediately rather than being trained after hire. Licensing exams, such as that required to become a financial advisor, would be an example of a knowledge test. Knowledge tests may also be in the form of situational assessments in which candidates perform the job during a trial period that can last from a few hours to a full day.

Not all of these alternatives will be appropriate for every role. But employers should be aware of genuine alternatives to the standard interview process, to ensure they make the best hiring decisions.




Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. Previously with McKinsey. Passionate about startups, health and technology. Surf when I can; ride a bike most days. Follow me @mboverell.