On December’s episode of our HR Insider Podcast, we sat down with Alyssa Light, a keynote speaker who is revolutionizing the interviewing process.
She has boosted companies’ hiring success rate up to 90% by innovating the way they conduct interviews. As she explains, “I’ve hired over 100 people in the last three years. For most people, that would be absolutely cringe worthy. What makes it more difficult for people to believe is that they’re all millennials.”
Below, she shares several ways to flip the interview process to recruit the most creative individuals.
Conduct a group interview
Alyssa explains, “When I did these interviews, I had between 5 and 15 people in an interview. I would do it with myself, and generally speaking, with two other people I had previously hired for our leadership team. People would bring three copies of their resume and one copy of their references.”
However, Alyssa does more than throw interviewees into a room together. Part of the requirements for the interview include certain items to bring and show to the group.
Bring things along
For interviews Alyssa conducts, applicants must bring three items. With her outside-the-box thinking comes a surprising list of items: “They had to bring an item that represents who they are as a person, a dollar store item that starts with the second letter of their middle name, and an activity that was between five and ten minutes long to do with the whole group.”
Each of the three items tells a different story about who the applicant is and how they interact with others.
For the item that represents you, Alyssa explains that each person partners up with someone else in the room. They discuss with their partner why they brought their particular object. Instead of reiterating this to the group, each partner is responsible for explaining how the person is most like their object. For example, if a person brought a soccer jersey, his partner could say something like, “This is David. I have this soccer jersey that is like him. It’s really fun because he likes to play games. He likes to get involved, and be careful because the man can be loud.”
Alyssa points out that there’s a big difference between making a connection about the person and items rather than saying “he brought this because he likes it.”
This truly allows a person’s charisma and flexibility to shine through.
The second item is something a person found at the dollar store that begins with the second letter of their middle name. Again, this encourages a person to display their creativity. One of the most common letters is A; there are many routine things people bring, but despite this, there’s still room for them to branch out and grab something uncommon.
The perfect example: a woman came in where the second letter of her middle name was U. Alyssa points out, “the letter U is not something most things start with. You think about umbrellas. This woman said, ‘Oh, I didn’t want to just bring an umbrella.’ Instead, she walked up and down the aisles looking for things until she found some utensils. She thought, ‘these are so practical because afterwards, I can actually use these, and I got them in my favorite color. They actually only had pink, and white, and blue out, and I really love green. So I had to go find somebody to ask if they could get me some green ones off the shelf.’” This woman was able to show her personality in a way people who chose umbrellas weren’t able to.
Do an activity
The activity portion of the interview creates the most possibilities. Not only does it allow a person to showcase his or her leadership abilities, but it also shows how a group member responds to that leadership.
Alyssa recalls one in particular that made an impact. “I had a young man come in, and he was learning to play the guitar. He said, ‘I’m not very good at it. I only learned two songs, but I really want to try because I’d really love to play for the kids at camp.’ He wasn’t great. By all standards, I didn’t have a clue what song he was playing, and I was supposed to know it. But it was so nice to see the people in that interview who encouraged him, who said, ‘Hey, really good try.’ Or, ‘Hey, I could teach you something later.’ Or, ‘Hey, why the heck would you do that?’ That’s the people we wouldn’t hire. So we’re watching the people participate and react to him as a leader more than we’re watching him lead the group.”
Flip the interview
The standard interview involves people from the company asking questions to their potential new hire. However, as Alyssa points out, “you don’t have to be the ones interviewing. You don’t have to sit there and prepare a huge list with checkboxes and score sheets. Certainly sometimes those things matter, but is the interaction not what matters more? What we’ve done is prepare a standard email that we send out to people who we’re inviting in. It says, ‘Hey, by the way, you’re interviewing us, you tenacious, charismatic, dynamic person.”
Sure, such an email might throw the candidate off-guard, but it will certainly keep them more involved in the process. You can also learn a lot from them based on the questions they ask you.
Ultimately, the interview is about having a conversation. Although, “At the end of your interview, you want to have about three standards questions that you ask that are asked to everybody. Remember that in some places, there are regulations or legal requirements for creating a fair and equitable interview. So make sure that you know what those are and you follow those.” It’s a great idea to make one of those three standard questions something about the worst part of the job they’re going to do just to see how they’ll react.
These innovative interview strategies are making a huge impact on the way companies conduct their business. And you don’t have to be a creative agency to utilize them; industries across the board can benefit from tenacious, free-thinking individuals.
If you’re interested in getting in contact with Alyssa Light, reach her at 519-362-3281 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.