Interview techniques for assessing candidates

5 Creative Interview Techniques to Assess Candidates

How many of these cliché interview questions are you asking when you assess candidates?

  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • What are your biggest strengths?
  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why should we hire you?

If you’re asking at least a couple of these, the chances are that you’ll start getting similar answers in return – which can be soon become pretty tedious.

It’s time to get creative and think outside the box.

Taking a different approach can help you get to know a candidate better and make your hiring-decision 10x easier too.

Plus, it makes the interview process a lot more fun as well!

With this in mind, here are five top tactics to jazz up your next round of interviews.

Ask the candidate what they’d change about your business

The point of a job interview is to test a candidate’s ability to do the job and to get to know more about them from a work cultural standpoint.

However, trying to get answers that don’t sound premeditated is a totally different ball game altogether.

This particular interview question can give you a unique perspective on how your business is perceived in public, as well as test the candidate’s industry knowledge as well.

If they know their stuff, they’ll give you a detailed answer – highlighting various different areas like your website, marketing, branding and so on.

It often makes a candidate think on their feet too, as they’ll need to construct an answer without sounding too negative.

And who knows, they might just come up with a super idea you can implement yourself!

Challenge the candidate to review something bad your business has done in the past

Similar to the last interview question, this one will also test a candidate’s ability to turn a negative into a positive.

While you may not fancy reliving some of your company’s low points, this is a great way to see how much research a candidate has done on your business.

Ideally, the candidate will give you an example of a bad campaign or event and tell you how they would have approached it differently.

Watch the candidate in the reception

This may sound a bit strange, but you can get an invaluable insight into what a candidate is like by assessing them in a different environment.

The problem with interviews is that everyone can prepare for them. Whether that’s thinking about how they’d answer cliché questions or just making sure that they wear the right things.

But what are they like in the real world?

To observe their behaviours, you have one of three choices:

  1. Watch them on CCTV.
  2. Get the receptionist to watch them beforehand and report back.
  3. Get an employee to give them a tour around the building and use the time to get to know them.

As a result, you’ll see how they interact with other people. Do they exchange pleasantries? Are they friendly and approachable? Do they smile a lot? Are they nervous?

Once you establish how they act away from you, it’ll be easier to tell whether they’re being real or not in the interview.

Use a scoring system

Using a scoring system to assess candidates is one of the most effective ways of shortlisting them and making your hiring-decision easier.

After all, today’s world is all about data.

You should give points to candidates for demonstrating relevant attributes, key skills, pleasant behaviours and overall fit for your work culture.

For example, are they experts in a desirable area?

Do they come across as approachable and nice to be around? Do they keep up with industry developments?

If so, what sort of publications and websites do they refer to?

Remember, it’s about finding a candidate who doesn’t just have the skills and experience, but who has the enthusiasm, work ethic and right personality to fit into your business too.

Ask relevant brain teasers

Brain teasers aren’t always the best idea.

However, if they are relevant to the job that you’re hiring for, they can give you a fascinating insight into how a candidate works under pressure.

For example, if you are hiring for a data entry role which requires a high level of precision, you may want to ask:

Katy’s mum has 4 children. The first child was named April, the second was named May, the third June. What was the 4th child called?

The answer is Katy!

This particular brain teaser interview question tests how well a candidate listens and pays attention.

While this shouldn’t completely determine the outcome of their application, it’s certainly a good basis to go off.

Alternatively, if you were trying to find an accountant professional, you should ask a brain teaser which involves numbers.


So there you have it!

The main thing to remember when assessing candidates in an interview environment is to try new techniques.

Just because an interview is generally perceived to be a formal occasion, it doesn’t mean that you have to stick to the status quo.

Candidates are assessing your business too, so it’s vital that you come across as forward-thinking, passionate and unique.

Throwing a few creative interview methods into the mix may just help you make the right first impression and make identifying top professionals a whole lot easier.

Enjoyed reading this? Then you may find our previous blog useful: ‘5 Types of Bad Interviewers’.

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