The Best Uses For Face-to-Face Interviews

A recent Talent article by Frank Kalman poses a very relevant question: Are face-to-face interviews important anymore? Interviewing processes have changed a lot in response to the recent fluctuation in available talent. With more candidates available for a smaller number of positions, tactics have changed to ensure that the right candidate is selected for the job. How do face-to-face interviews factor into this differentiated hiring strategy?

These days, mining for top talent happens not just through a traditional face-to-face interview, but through an expansive process that includes assessments, simulations, social meetings and other experimental phases.

Some organizations don’t find face-to-face interviews to be relevant to their hiring strategies anymore. To some, it’s not about looking the person in the eye – it’s about finding the right fit for the organization. Think of it this way: “Don’t tell me you’re the right fit – Show me.” Many organizations are using simulation models when hiring new employees. They offer a two- to four-week simulation series, and if the candidate is successful, they are offered a position at the firm.

Today’s market and organizational culture just aren’t as interested in “Tell me about yourself” as they used to be … Today, it’s more about knowing from the first interaction whether or not the candidate will be capable of executing organizational goals successfully. In that light, internal hiring is a good policy. However, sometimes that isn’t an option. Outside hiring leaves recruiters with a more difficult job. When recruiters must go outside of the organization to find a new-hire, have them focus on these three questions during the face-to-face with the prospective candidates:

1. Can they do the job?

2. Will they love the job?

3. Are their co-workers going to be able to tolerate them?

Many organizations, such as Google, utilize off-the-wall questions during the face-to-face in order to confuse or surprise the candidate. Are you sure you want to do this? This puts the candidate under a lot of pressure to find the answer you’re looking for, but what is key is that the recruiter and the candidate can effectively utilize a two-way communication model. You want your recruiter to be able to say, ‘Yes, this candidate can do the job’ and you want the candidate to be thinking, ‘Yes, I can do this job and want to work for this company.

The face-to-face portion of the on-boarding process has become less relevant because as talent managers, you should want to focus on performance results. Your job is to be sure that the candidate who is hired will be able to enhance the organization’s overall success and progression. Make note, however, that there are many things to be gained from the face-to-face, like initial body language exchanges. During initial face-to-face interviews, the candidate knows that they are still fighting for the position, therefore their reactions will show your recruiter inside info, if they are apt to listening to non-verbal ques. Here are a few tips for your recruiters to keep in mind when conducting face-to-face interviews:

Prepare in advance.

Make sure the interviewer is well-trained.

Have a disciplined follow-up process.

Have an expert in the field present and involved in asking questions and vetting a candidate’s answers during the face-to-face interview.

The more you relay to your interviewers and recruiters about what kind of individual is needed for the organization, the better they can pick and choose during the on-boarding process. The more meticulous you are with who the right candidate for the job will be, the more likely your recruiter is to select the right individual. Having distinct guidelines about what you’re looking for will make it easier to see that the candidate actually embodies those traits during the face-to-face. To read more about how to discern the right characteristics in candidates for your organization, click here for more details about successful face-to-face tactics.


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