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The evolution of the interview

The past two years have been anything but normal for recruitment. From video calls and virtual onboarding to online applications and remote working, HR teams need to adapt rapidly to the changes and challenges of finding new talent.

With the UK unemployment rate dropping to 4.7% and job vacancies topping one million, what should employers be looking for when interviewing for new talent?

At TheSoul Publishing, we are throwing out the old standards and re-evaluating what we ask at interviews to help us find the best possible fit not only for the role itself but also for our company culture.

Rethinking recruitment:

Is it time to re-think the recruitment process?

A new model for company culture fit

Shift resources away from selection to ensure recruitment success


Out with the old

The most typical question in an interview is ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ The purpose of this question is to show forethought, goal setting and ambition in candidates.

However, it’s hard to believe anything has gone to plan over the last two years, so we knew we needed a new approach. We’ve adapted the question to: “where do you see yourself in the next two hours?” This tests candidates’ adaptability and creativity, whilst also having some fun.

Take a long look at the questions you currently ask, and say to yourself, ‘why do I care about this?’ You’ll be amazed how many times you can’t answer your own questions.


Choose the right questions for you

Every company is different, but all are brought to life by their people. Interviewers should focus on questions that identify communication skills, culture fit and capacity for learning.

Everyone imagines that perfect interview question. Candidates know what makes them stand out, but some may not get a question that allows them to talk about it. So why not ask them what the perfect question would be? That way, you find out what they think makes them stand out, and the candidates know you care about their input, even at the interview stage.

Much of our hiring is for creative roles, but creative capability is hard to gauge at the interview stage. Experience is always relevant, but you can add in some extra questions to see who has the most interesting answers. One popular option is: “If you were a dinosaur, which would you be?”


Leadership qualities

There are 1,001 questions on leadership, with every hiring manager having their favourite. Every candidate may have leadership potential, and many of them discover that potential by evaluating the leaders they are closest to. 

One question you could ask is: “If you were CEO of your current company for one week, what would you change?” This is interesting as it shows what the candidates prioritise and if they have an entrepreneurial mindset.

A simple question like this can save a lot of time in interview processes deciphering if someone could take charge of a certain department or team.


What to say on remote working

Many companies are embracing the work from home revolution. This is an issue that is more prominent in interviews now than ever before.

As a remote-first company, TheSoul Publishing knows the importance of understanding whether a candidate can handle the remote working world. Digital skills are crucial, especially when most contact with clients, employees, managers or investors will be online.

Important things to consider are home setups, video capabilities, internet speed, computer skills, familiarity with key software, and general computer competence.

All of these factors make remote workers successful, so don’t be afraid to ask about their perspective on working from home.


Who is interviewing who?

With way more jobs available than suitable candidates, top applicants may have their pick of opportunities. That means the interviewers also need to put their best feet forward.

Elaborating on the company culture during the interview is a good start. Keep your attitude friendly and give an overview of who you are, how you got there and what you personally think of the culture.

This will help the candidate build more of a picture of you as a potential manager too.


Get on camera

You may be sick of video, but it’s not going away anytime soon. Recruitment processes are using video tools more and more, and it is better to embrace it than be left behind. Pre-recorded interviews are a good way for multiple team members to get a feel for a candidate in the initial stages, without monopolising valuable team time interviewing someone who may not be right.

This is also a good way to interview candidates in different time zones.

If a candidate is uncomfortable with video, this may be a problem if the role requires video calling. This speaks to the need to tailor your interview to meet the needs of your company.

Anyone hiring right now should take a strategic look at their priorities. The working climate and landscape have changed and the most important considerations may have dramatically shifted compared to a year or two ago.

Hiring teams at TheSoul Publishing are encouraged to evolve, to ask the unexpected questions, and, just as importantly, to inject some fun into the interview. You’ll be surprised how much difference it makes in building the right teams for your company.


Aleksandra Sulimko is HR director at TheSoul Publishing