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Beyond the interview: Are trial periods the way into the future?

Entrepreneur James Sackl questions the value of interviews when organisations look for new talent, and suggests alternative ways to select staff.

To interview or not to interview, that is the question

The hiring process is a crucial part of any business, as it determines the quality and productivity of a company’s workforce. The most traditional method of hiring is through interviews, where potential employees are questioned by a hiring manager or a panel of interviewers. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that interviews alone may not be the most effective way of determining a candidate’s qualifications and suitability for a job.

I’ve found one of the main limitations of interviews is that they rely heavily on the candidate’s ability to present themselves well. Some individuals may be skilled at answering interview questions and making a good impression, but may lack the necessary skills and experience for the job.

Additionally, interviews may not accurately reflect a candidate’s ability to perform under pressure or in a team setting, as they are typically conducted in a controlled and structured environment.

Putting future hires to the test

An alternative, or addition, to traditional interviews is the use of trial periods, where a candidate is given the opportunity to work on a temporary basis before being offered a permanent position. This approach allows employers to assess a candidate’s skills and performance in a real-work setting, providing a more accurate representation of their abilities.

Trial periods also allow employers to evaluate a candidate’s fit within the company culture and their ability to work well with other team members. It also gives the candidate an opportunity to see if the company and the role is a good fit for them, reducing the chance of employee turnover in the future.

Ensuring a good fit for the job remains a crucial factor in the hiring process, as there is cost in both time and money in choosing the wrong person. It is also tiring as the entire process has to start again.

Another advantage of trial periods is that they can serve as a training period for the candidate. During this time, the employer can provide additional training and resources to help the candidate acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for the job.

Hiring the best person for the job – A balancing act

While trial periods have many advantages, it’s important for employers to find the right balance between traditional interviews and trial periods. Interviews can still serve a valuable purpose in the hiring process, providing an opportunity for employers to assess a candidate’s qualifications and experience. However, it’s important to supplement interviews with other methods of evaluation, such as trial periods, to ensure that the best candidates are selected.

Furthermore, with technological advances and their increasing acceptance in the workforce, more employers and job seekers are turning to algorithms as a way to streamline the hiring process. This approach allows for better matches between employers and employees and a significant reduction in the time spent on interviews and screening.

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