In the quest to discover the most effective ways to identify exceptional candidates, we’ve gathered insights from top recruiting experts and company leaders. From implementing simulation-based interviews to testing candidates with the challenge of quickly explaining a product, here are seven innovative interviewing techniques that have revolutionized their hiring process.

Implement Simulation-Based Interviews

One innovative interviewing strategy we’ve embraced at Aeroflow involves a simulation-based approach, distinct from traditional behavioral interviews. Instead of hypothetical scenarios, we simulate real-life work situations that candidates might encounter regularly. This method offers deeper insights into their reactions, problem-solving skills and how they’d navigate day-to-day work scenarios. Beyond skill assessment, it enables a more comprehensive evaluation of cultural fit and fosters an objective selection process.

This technique originated from our engineering team’s initiative, using a tailored simulation related to our Magento product line. Candidates were tasked with diagnosing an issue and proposing a solution, allowing us to assess their Magento expertise, problem-solving acumen and task approach. This approach not only evaluates technical skills but also provides valuable insights into a candidate’s critical thinking and problem-solving strategies.

Natalie Cates
Recruiting Manager, Aeroflow Health

Observe Authentic Candidate Reactions

In my interviews, I always look for that pivotal moment when a candidate lets their guard down. It’s fascinating to observe when and how this happens, as it often reveals a lot about their fit within our team.

By the time someone sits across from me, their resume has already passed that test. What I’m keen on is their reaction to questions, the way they think and respond under pressure. Technical skills aside, I place a high value on diversity of thought, how uniquely someone sees the world. I’m drawn to those who challenge my perspectives, who bring a different angle to the table.

This approach to interviewing helps me find individuals who are not only skilled but also bring a richness of thought to our team. It’s about creating a dynamic where, even though we may start with differing views, we come together to create something extraordinary.

Kimberley Tyler-Smith
VP of Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded

Employ Role Reversal Interviewing

Here’s a unique approach I’ve used for interviewing candidates: the Role Reversal Interview. In this technique, I ask the candidate to take on the role of the interviewer for a portion of the interview. I provide them with a hypothetical scenario or a real challenge our team faces and ask them to evaluate how they would interview someone to address that challenge.

This approach not only assesses their problem-solving and critical thinking skills but also reveals their understanding of our company culture and values. It’s a powerful way to identify candidates who not only possess the necessary skills but also align with our organization’s ethos.

Albert Varkki
Co-Founder, Von Baer

Conduct Post-Interview Team Reviews

One classic, innovative interviewing technique that I use is using a post-interview review to further analyze potential employees. I would meet with my team and ask questions like, “What do we like about them? What do we dislike? Do we think he is a good fit for the team?”

By looking into the candidate as a team, we can better get everyone’s input on whether or not he would be well-matched for his role. This has helped to both encourage collaboration within the team and also gain further insight into what every single interviewer has to say.

Saneem Ahearn
VP of Marketing, Colorescience

Ask the Piano Tuner Question

We’ve tried something different in our interviews: the Piano Tuner Question. It’s not about discovering if someone knows about pianos or New York City. Instead, we ask, “How many piano tuners are in New York City?”

This question is about something other than getting the correct number. It’s about seeing how candidates think on their feet. We watch how they break down complex problems, handle uncertainty and use logical reasoning in situations they’ve never considered.

This technique has changed how we look for talent. It’s not just about what’s on the resume anymore. We’re more interested in how candidates think. Those who can work through this unusual question often show us they’re adaptable and innovative—gold qualities in our fast-moving industry. It’s a way to spot people who aren’t just skilled but are also ready to tackle new challenges and keep learning, which is precisely what we need.

Shane McEvoy
MD, Flycast Media

Introduce a Three-Part Assessment

I would like to share an interesting three-part assessment. It’s nothing new, fancy or complicated, but I’m confident that it will select the best talent for the job. It’s not a sequential process, but three separate questions will be introduced to a candidate at various interview stages.

These seem a bit silly: one is purely theoretical, one is practical or situational, and the one I like the most is the impossible question. The first two are self-explanatory, but the third one looks for an answer that doesn’t exist yet or at all. I can only say that it shows the candidate’s thinking process and how they might deal with a new environment and try to find ways to solve an impossible situation. It’s something you can’t specifically prepare for, and the only thing you need on the spot is the best version of yourself.

Kristel Kongas
CMO, Inboxy OÜ

Test with a Quick Product Explanation

A game-changing interviewing technique I’ve employed is the “explain our product/service as quickly as you can” question. This question serves as a litmus test for candidates’ commitment to research and their ability to articulate complex concepts concisely.

One memorable instance involved a candidate who not only provided a concise overview but also injected a unique perspective that resonated with our company’s values. This innovative technique enabled us to identify individuals who not only understood our offerings but also possessed the creativity and adaptability to communicate effectively.

By implementing this approach, we’ve not only ensured that candidates possess a fundamental understanding of our company, but also gained insights into their communication skills and cultural alignment. It has transformed our talent selection process, helping us identify top talent with a holistic view of their capabilities.

Justine Perry
Managing Director, Cariad Web Design