We want to start by saying that as a company, we don’t endorse many of the bleeding-edge methods mentioned below. However, it’s important to be aware of some of the more ‘out-there’ techniques that the world’s top tech companies use for identifying and screening key talent.
The methods below are used by employers that have such strong employer brands that they need to embrace extreme screening techniques to filter through the tens of thousands of applications that they receive. Try these at your own risk of chasing away good people!
Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook – the top tech companies receive tons of job applications and resume every week, every month. Considering that they are every job seeker’s dream company, it’s not surprising to hear that Google processes more than 2 million applications each year. Out of such an extraordinary amount of applications, they need to identify exceptional talent effectively.
So what are their specific strategies and tactics when it comes to candidate selection? Here are the top 10 tricks:
1. Start phone screens slightly off time
To find the people who are always ready for the job.
Any candidate can be perfectly prepared for interviews if you call them at the expected time. Then how about calling them 15 minutes before or after the scheduled time? Would they be eating? Sleeping? Still on the bus? Or being in the bathroom? This is how top tech firms find the talent who are always ready for the job.
2. Make the interview schedule somewhat confusing
To find people who don’t need instructions.
Don’t give specific details and directions about the interviews to your candidates and even to the interviewers. By doing this, you can assess your candidate’s behaviours and actions when no one has a clear idea of what is happening.
3. Make them frequently move between rooms during the interview
To reveal their real emotions in order to find out the ones who stay excited even in uncomfortable situations.
Don’t make the interview experience nice and comfortable. Make them move the rooms from one to another and never let them sit comfortably. This is how tech companies identify the candidate who is still excited and motivated even when they are feeling uncomfortable.
4. Let the candidate deal with some tech issues during their presentation
To test their ability to think on the spot.
Set up the candidate’s presentation in the room where the equipment has some issues with it. If they can adapt to the situation and roll with it, that’s great. You can mark extra points for those who have prepared a plan B and plan C, because that is an essential skill in the tech industry.
5. Ask questions based on incorrect assumptions
To test if they get annoyed or frustrated easily.
If the candidate previously worked at Apple, say, “How was your role at Microsoft?” Closely monitor their reaction and tone of voice when they correct your information. Do they seem to get frustrated quickly or stay calm and professional? This is how tech companies find out what a candidate would be like to work with when things inevitably go wrong.
6. Ask the same questions, again and again
To test consistency.
Don’t worry about asking the same question over and over again during the interview. That’s how you assess the candidate’s consistency in their responses. When putting candidates through online assessments, many questions are asked repeatedly, in different ways to measure consistency of answers. This same method can be used during interviews.
7. Start typing very loudly when the candidate is responding
To see if they can stay focused when there are distractions.
Ask the candidate a question. As soon as they start to answer, start typing loudly. Take notes or pretend that you take notes. You can observe whether the candidate can remain focused on the question or gets distracted. This is a great way to find the candidates who won’t let any small distractions get in the way of completing their tasks.
8. Give one specific problem in business and ask the candidate to solve it
Because you really need help with this problem.
Ask the candidates to come up with a solution to the actual business pain point during the interview. This is a quite popular approach among tech companies. You can observe their problem-solving skills and assess if that is beneficial for your business. You can also get some free help with those problems!
9. Conduct an interview in a “good cop, bad cop” style
To test if they can multi-task under pressure.
Have two interviewers at both ends of the table and make the candidate sit in the middle of the conference room. Can they direct an equal amount of attention to both interviewers simultaneously while giving adequate answers to each question? Or are they showing a sign of exhaustion or frustration? This is how you can identify quality talent who will perform under heavy pressure and stress.
10. Offer a job that the candidate didn’t apply for, 3 months after the interview
To find people with determination.
This is a great strategy to detect people who didn’t actually want the job in the first place. Does the candidate fight for the job he wanted? Do they take the offer because it’s the best they can get? Or do they turn it down because they already found another job?
This article originally appeared on Medium.
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