How the Best Companies Interview Top Candidates

When you want to learn a sport, skill or craft, what is the advice that people will give you? “Learn from the pros.” That’s right. It’s always wise to learn from the professionals, those people who perform a task the best. If you want to play tennis, you get a tennis pro or watch videos of Serena Williams. If you want to learn to play the cello, go to a Yo-Yo Ma concert to see the Chinese-American cellist. If you want to learn the secrets to running a successful business, read books chronicling business titans like Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet.

So, how can the every day recruiter or talent acquisition leader learn how to interview better? Learn from the best. Glassdoor recently revealed its Best Places to Work award winners, and as a part of the honor, we asked many of the companies’ executives to share with us their tips and tricks for interviewing top candidates in this ultratight labor market. Here’s what the pros say. Take notes!

Tip #1: Present a variety of candidates with a case interview

Behavioral, hypothetical and technical are the most common kinds of interview questions. Engineers are prepared to white-board in most interviews and marketers expect to present a campaign idea and walk through execution. However, recruiters and hiring managers may want to break out of the common interview confines by selecting unique elements to create a truly insightful interview process.

Bain & Companyvalues exceptional analytical and technical skills. We want candidates who take ownership for solving problems and overcoming roadblocks that they encounter,” according to worldwide managing partner Manny Maceda. If this sounds like the attributes you value, consider adopting a business consulting interview process.

“We use case interview techniques for some positions,” says Maceda. “Case interviews are, at their essence, discussions about a business problem.”

With there being an increased focus for all industries and teams on achieving the larger business goals, it may be helpful to ask candidates for legal, finance, sales, operations and product to engage in a case interview.

A case interview is a job interview in which the applicant is presented with a challenging business scenario that he/she must investigate and propose a solution to. Case interviews are designed to test the candidate’s analytical skills and “soft” skills within a realistic business context.

Tip #2: Work hard to get to know the real person, not the interviewee

As one of the 2019 Best Places to Work in Canada, Shopify interviews all candidates to asses their “growth mindset” and the candidate’s ability to have “resilience and a commitment to learning.” The tech company does this by putting candidates through “the Life Story interview.”

The director of employee experience, diversity and belonging, David King, shared, “It’s a process we designed in our early days to help us get to know the real person, rather than their interview persona. Essentially, it’s a two-sided conversation about what you’re interested in, how you’ve shown up in different areas of your life, and which accomplishments you value the most.”

Like Shopify, challenge your recruiters and hiring managers to look beyond the job titles and which school a candidate went to, in order to get to know the real person.

Tip #3: Interview for skills, not an exact role

In today’s job market, recruiters and executives at Facebook look beyond the job description and the handful of roles they may be hiring for, in order to assess candidates for skills that align with roles they know will be opening up down the road. This kind of forethought is essential in the future of work.

“We look for builders – people who want to work on some of the most complex and challenging problems facing the tech industry and people across the globe,” says Ruta Singh, Facebook’s VP of Global Engineering & Product Recruiting. “We want to bring in people who are passionate about our mission of bringing the world closer together to help build communities and create equal opportunity for communication within society.”

Therefore, Singh laughingly admits that an engineering interview isn’t all about coding. “Understand that it’s not all about the coding. Well, ok, it’s a lot about the coding, so take the advice our recruiters share and invest in your preparation (study!),” she tells Facebook candidates. “But we also want to know what motivates you. What gets you excited? How does working at Facebook fit with your strengths? What do you want to work on here? We want people who want to be here because their goals and interests align with Facebook’s mission. We want you to come in at the beginning of the day energized and ready to do your best work, and to leave at the end of the day feeling like you accomplished something meaningful. So when you’re getting ready to interview, understand that we really want to get to know you. Come ready to talk about what you know, but also who you are.”

 

Learn More About How to Interview Top Candidates:

Behavioral Interview Questions & Templates