Is the job interview dead?

The traditional hiring process of application, job interview and assessment is dying. Today's digitally-savvy jobseekers need convincing that a job is right for them, and expect employers to move as fast as they do.

by Sarah Hennessy
Last Updated: 20 Aug 2020

How many professional businesses can say they have plenty of 18 year-olds working for them? Not enough, and if you don’t, and you’re advising your clients on how to reach these so-called generation Z’ers, you are going to get left behind.

But these fast-moving, digitally savvy youngsters are hard to hire by conventional methods. The time-consuming business of CV writing, applying for jobs and attending interviews is not for them.

So within the next five years, we’re going to see radical changes in how we recruit people in many client service businesses – especially when it comes to attracting diverse young talent and overcoming unconscious bias.

People tend to hire others who are just like them, but this limits diversity and slows progress. I think we’ll see businesses moving away from asking their employees to recommend their peers, because you just get like for like. It might be harder to work with people from different backgrounds, but if you persevere, the results are much more worthwhile.

At MEC, we’re moving towards going ‘CV-less’ when hiring. If you only know a candidate’s experience and you don’t know their gender, race and age, it removes any early judgments and assumptions you might make.

One other trend that is emerging is the use of gamification. Apps are now available that help create business challenges online to help match candidates to the right jobs. These are great for assessing someone’s approach, the way they think, how they analyse data.

Years ago, in my business we knew exactly what we wanted: media planners and buyers. But now we are recruiting for roles such as open innovation directors, content creators and data directors. Some of these jobs didn’t exist until a couple of years ago, so we’re having to actively explore new talent pools to hire these people. The same situation is mirrored in many other sectors.

Speed is of the essence when you’re looking to hire Millennials or Gen Z’ers, they want instant answers and for companies to move quickly during recruitment. So we tried running a day-long #LiveHire scheme for 18-23 yr old apprentices at Advertising Week Europe in London, involving 15-minute speed-dating style interviews with senior managers.

Successful candidates were then texted with a job offer on the day and details of a bar nearby, where we met to celebrate their new roles. They started two weeks later. It was a great success, and we ended up hirng 12 apprentices in one day instead of 10.

Recruitment has always been a big challenge, and how you hire people is changing fast. But the good news is that if you get on board now, you’ll reap the future rewards while others are still wondering why they don’t get many job application letters any more.

Sarah Hennessy is managing director of media agency MEC UK


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