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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Interviewing Techniques and Trends for 2021

Interviewing Techniques and Trends for 2020

Although lowering, unemployment rates are still much higher than we’ve seen in recent years. However, don’t let that fool you; as you can see, it’s still a very competitive job market out there.

Why? In part, because smart companies are examining their talent and prioritizing their top performers. When they know it’s time to let someone go, you can guarantee it’s not going to be their top people. However, while unemployment is higher, top talent is still scarce.

How can you structure your interview process to let top talent shine through? And beyond that, how can you change your traditional interviewing process to show top talent you have an adaptable, strong company culture?

Trends Shaping Selection in 2021

2021 Talent Magazine - Square ButtonThe talent shortage is a real issue in the current market. In 2020, almost three quarters (72.8%) of employers had a difficult time finding skilled candidates, and 45% of employers are still concerned about finding employees with necessary talents.

One of the top Selection trends for 2021 stated in The Center for Sales Strategy Talent Magazine is, “new interview tools and techniques like job auditions, role play interviews, and project submissions will increasingly gain favor as ways to augment traditional interview process.”

Selecting the right people is the key to company growth. And, for the candidates who truly care about working for an organization, how you adapt your interview process is one of the first signs of company culture

1. Talent Assessment

Start with a verified talent assessment that will help you distinguish between adequate performers and top performers. Before you meet a candidate face-to-face or over video, take a look at their talents for the job.

Some people make a great first impression and blind you with the “shine” of their personality, while others (especially over video) come across as hesitant or uncomfortable. Instead of being blinded by the shine, or turned off by a poor video interview, look at their talents first.

Do they have the talents that you prioritize for the position? A good talent assessment will help you to see past the interview to who they really are.

2. Be Thoughtful

Gone are the days when hiring managers would meet with candidates in full view of the team and quiz them while people walked by. A new interviewing technique that organizations are trying is conducting the interview in a setting that puts the candidate at ease and helps them connect while limiting distractions.  

Choose the most convenient place for the interview, whether that’s a comfortable place within your office, a quiet restaurant, or a coffee shop outside the office. But if meeting in person is not an option, try to find a place that will still put your candidate at ease. Instead of sitting at your desk, find a comfortable chair or couch in a quiet room. This will convey a relaxed setting to your candidate.

Whatever setting you use, make sure that you will be undisturbed and able to give the candidate your full attention. Silence your phone, as well as notifications on your computer, and let your team know that you’ll be unavailable.

3. Panel Interviews

Sometimes, several heads really are better than one. Having a variety of people, in various roles within the company, sit down and interview a candidate can provide interesting insights.

One interviewer may be particularly tuned in to the candidate’s positivity, while another picks up on an intensity that makes them uncomfortable. Listen to everyone’s impression so you have a well-rounded feel for this candidate. And remember, choose a comfortable setting at a round table so it feels more like a friendly get together and less like a tribunal.Avoid These 5 Biggest Interview Pitfalls

4. Job Auditions

You’ve invested time and energy into your candidate, and if they’re hired, you’re going to invest a lot more. No matter how great your interview process is, you can’t truly know how someone will fit in with your company culture and perform in the role until they actually do some work for you.

This is where job auditions are useful. Think about having a candidate come in for a “trial day” and actually work in the environment. Plan well in advance what projects you’ll have a prospective hire work on to get a good feel for their skills, as well as how you plan to compensate them for their time.

5. Role Play Interviews

Think about how your new hire will spend most of their time. Cold Calling? Working with existing customers? Whatever their focus is going to be, try doing some role playing around that.

Pretend to be the client or ask a coworker, who they have not met yet, to be the client and see how they handle a “normal” situation. Throw in some objections and conversation stoppers that are common to your business and community. How do they handle those obstacles? Pose a few specific problems they are likely to encounter and see how they react. This will give you a feel for how they will work with your clients and prospects.

6. Projects

Like job auditions, giving a candidate a project is a good way to measure their skills. Set the outline, expectations, and deadline as well as about how much time it should take (and how they will be compensated). Then evaluate them.

If the candidate is asked to create a proposal to your specifications, and you see poor quality or shoddy work, so will your clients and prospects. Did they finish on time, follow the rules, use well thought out research, and show creativity? If the answer is no, then think about whether they’re a good fit for your team.

It’s easy to get stuck in an interview rut and ask the same question over and over, but its important to find new and different ways to interview candidates. Find what works for you and your company so you can find the best talent!

Talent Insight


Editor's Note: This blog was originally publish in 2020 and has been updated with 2021 trends.

Topics: company culture recruitment sales talent