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Interviews for humans...not robots.

A platform that helps candidates and employers to humanise interviews and ensure both get the most out of the process. Everyone hates interviews - the interviewer and the interviewee. They feel like an obstacle course, full of trick questions and surprises. Nerves mean no one acts themselves and the forced questions become a rigid chore rather than a natural conversation. From the invite to interview to the interview outcome, this platform makes the process easy to manage, more personal and helps both candidate and employer to find a real match. It includes scheduling functions, profiles of interviewers, information on interview format and a "reveal" of questions so everyone is prepared and able to shine.

Photo of Sarah Owusu
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Interviews don't work... I have been on both sides of the interview table and believe me, no one likes it! Interviews should not be a dark art - they should be an opportunity for both sides to have a great conversation and get a deeper understanding about the fit; they should allow both the recruiting organisation and the candidate to show their best side.

Update 20Aug: See images for a sample current interview process with some of the thoughts/feelings the candidate and interviewer are having to express some of the potential painpoints and opportunities for improvement.

This platform will:
- Remove some interview nerves by co-creating the interview questions
- Make preparation for the interview easier and more relevant
- Ensure the interview timeline and format are more transparent
- Simplify the logistics of the interview process 

From the moment a company decides it wants to interview a job applicant, they send a link to the platform and the interaction begins here.

The features of the application
- Update 15Sep: An online-dating inspired matching service that connects employers and candidates for initial screening (upload CVs and profiles, browse jobs and "wink" at employers)
- A congratulations and warm welcome from the recruiter so you already begin to put names to faces
- Information about the interview format, the full job description and company details
- Profiles of the interviewers (including more personal facts) so you get a feel for the human you are meeting
- A scheduling function that helps you organise / select the best time slots for both parties (notoriously difficult to juggle)
- A space for co-creation of interview questions allowing both sides to prep and gather really relevant answers, as well as an option to add questions you would like to answer. Update 20Sep: Could also include pre-interview assignments that emulate the job tasks, environment and activities. This would both give a candidate an understanding of the job and give them time to prepare how they would demonstrate their suitability to the work.
- Update 15Sep: a space for recruiters and candidates to share Hints & Tips on the interview process
- Feedback on the interview from both sides to ensure contiunous improvement

Update 20Aug: See images for a little drawing of what some of the features could look like if imaginary Jim at imaginary Int. Corp was interviewing imaginary Anya.

What are the next steps for implementing this idea?

1. Refinement of process (including better understanding of screening and in-interview stage) 2. Testing stages on real life interview process 3. Create matching algorithm for matching candidates and companies (needs tech support!) 4. Design and build platform 5. Spread the word Update 15Sep: INTERESTED IN HEARING FROM THE COMMUNITY: Anyone able to build a mock-up or wire-frame version of this to test out?

Briefly describe a user scenario which illustrates the specific need that your idea is trying to solve.

From the feedback, there seems to be agreement that this would be a useful tool, especially for small organisations. I have expanded my original scenario by building a use scenario for Jim, a Campaign Manager and in this case also the recruiting manager, from a small non-profit organisation. Without HR support or a company process, he uses the platform to guide him through (see uploaded visual).

Complete a User Experience Map. This will help you visualize how a potential end user will interact with your idea. Once you have completed it, upload it using the Upload File button at the end of this form. PDF files preferred.

  • Completed

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

This could be used by any employer and any candidate with access to the internet. I imagine the platform is most relevant for SMEs who don't already have an online recruitment portal. It benefits both the interviewer and interviewee by helping them through the logistics and preparatory considerations needed to run a good interview. Update 20Aug: Having done recruitment for a number of SMEs, I know that these organisations rarely have a recruitment procession place, limited or no access to HR support and often hire younger / less experienced candidates. With helpful hints and tips, a more inclusive approach and clear steps to follow this platform ensures that important parts aren't missed. It also allows for a fair process, with all candidates having the same framework yet allowing for individual input. Thoughts on who might fund such a platform?

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

Although this could be used for anyone, it is youth that are most disadvantaged by the "traditional" interview process because they aren't familiar with the "etiquette" of interviews, so information about format takes out some of the fear factor. For example, knowing who you will be meeting (and a reminder that they are human) and what the company dress code is means you can relax and focus on more important preparation. Further, less experienced interviewees don't often take the opportunity to ask lots of questions about the company, it's culture and the job - this encourages them to think these through and to upload them in advance so the employer can gather a meaningful answer. Perhaps this could expand to be a job listing / job matching platform too that focuses specifically on young people - thoughts from you all? Update 15Sep: Following great feedback from a recruiter in India, and my own experience of working in Africa, a concern was raised about how to gain access to candidates and their networks. There could be an opportunity here to create an app for the platform that links to social media etc to make this more accessible and social in nature. I am also thinking that in Africa, EVERYONE has a mobile phone (but often a very basic one) and as such there has been a lot of innovation in using text messages for money transfers, knowledge exchange and campaigns. Perhaps, there is an opportunity to send text updates of job listing to remote youth once a job is posted on the platform. And also to use text to invite youth to relevant job fairs in local towns. This might gain access to a group of people that isn't often targeted or accessible. Thoughts on this welcome.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Hold a series of conversations of "mock interviews" - some where participants have had a chance to see interview topics and questions in advance (or even co-create them), and others where they don't. Objective would be to establish whether people: - Feel less nervous as a result of having time to prepare - Are able to give a fuller picture of themselves as a result - Want to add questions to those they would normally be asked Also, could do some focus groups about what the most annoying, complicated, nerve-wracking, etc aspects of the interview process are for people.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Questions for the OpenIDEO community: - What's the best format for something like this - an online platform, an app...other? - Should the platform expand to other parts of the recruitment process? - How would you improve this idea? - How do you integrate the "values" match and get more of the qualitative aspects of recruiting into this platform? - What are your experiences of good and bad interviews? - ...any other thoughts?

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to be involved in prototyping but need partners at some stage
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Team (3)

Sarah's profile
Christin's profile
Christin Parma

Role added on team:

"Great insight from the perspective of the candidate - how can we make the process more relevant to a candidate? what would help to take away any feelings of inadequacy? what would make it easier to match job descriptions to experience and education of candidates?"

Dave's profile
Dave Zinsman

Role added on team:

"How could you take this further? Would it benefit from including other parts of the recruitment process ie. screening CVs? What might some of the challenges be?"

61 comments

Join the conversation:

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Photo of Aparna Bhasin
Team

Hi Sarah,

I am really excited by your idea as I do a lot of hiring, and it would definitely improve my experience. I work in the development sector in India, and with many organizations there isn't usually an HR department available, and even if there is they often don't manage the hiring process. I thought perhaps I could highlight some quick thoughts from my experience with interviewing and hiring youth...

1) It is hard to reach out to youth here unless you have access to some of their networks, which a lot of people who hire just don't, and as a result a lot of young people who would be a good fit for the job just never hear about it. I'm not sure this is relevant to the platform, but is a big challenge that we often face.

2) I've found that tackling an assignment, something that emulates what the job would entail, really helps both in identifying good candidates, and putting them at ease during the inerview. If we send the assignment out before hand, it gives candidates a chance to see if they are interested in the type of work they will be doing; and also allows you to focus on their thought process in the interview without asking abstract questions.

Additionally, I am at the beginning stage of hiring 3-4 new people on the team, and would be happy to try out parts of your idea!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Aparna and Sarah!
I agree Sarah's idea has loads of potential!

Aparna your comment about lack of access to youth is so surprising and relevant to this challenge. Wow! What a missed opportunity. Much of the discussion during the challenge has been lack of access to networks by youth, particularly youth in low income communities. Hearing that employers do not have access to youth networks is very concerning. How do youth find out about jobs in India? Do you have any ideas on how this situation can change?

I posted an idea for this challenge that might interest you. I posted a comment below to share it with Sarah and she posted a comment on the idea as well. If you have time check it out. The PreInterview - A New Stage to the path to employment. It is an idea to create an opportunity for applicants to express themselves so that employers can "see" them in a way that current recruiting tools may not afford. It is an opportunity for employers to observe and assess applicants, to gain information on an applicant's thought process, based on an exercise of observation, collaboration, and reflection at the work site, prior to the personal interview itself.

Excited to watch as your idea evolves and develops Sarah!

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Aparna (and Bettina : thanks for staying connected)

Thanks for the feedback! If you are up for it then the main thing I would like tested is the idea of a pre-planned interview questions or as in your idea, job-specific assignments that candidates can prepare for in advance. Your thoughts on this from experience, or if you want to test it out in you coming hiring process then I would love to hear how it goes.

In terms of reaching the right people and access to the right networks... I echo that. I work a lot in Africa, and a huge part of the community is inaccessible so gets overlooked. Again, like Bettina, I would like to hear how you overcome this challenge? In Africa, EVERYONE uses mobile devices, but not necessarily smartphones - as such there has been a lot of innovation in text services that can be used by very basic mobiles...perhaps there is a way to integrate this? A text service to young mobile users when jobs are posted, text message invites to recruitment style fairs in the local towns...?

Stay connected and good luck with your recruiting, Sarah :)

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

You might both like to have a look at my 15 Sep update above to this question: How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?
I include my thoughts in response to your thought-provokers... S.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great discussion, guys! Sarah, regarding mobile job portals – have you seen Babajobs? Was posted to our Research phase: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/research/connecting-youth-to-jobs-mobile-portals and seems to be finding success in mobile job listings in India. It's more focused on jobs which are traditionally in the informal sector – but there may be some learnings from their approach: http://www.babajob.com

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Nice pull Meena - that needs to spread to the African continent!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Sarah,
I was pointed in the direction of this author/communications expert by a friend who volunteers at a pre college program in an inner city young woman's leadership high school in NYC. She volunteers with her workplaces's community outreach program. One topic covered at a recent event looked at some tools in this book - "Brag..." - by Peggy Klaus. I was curious so went to her website. I found this post on her blog which has many tips on interview prep for "millenials." Do you plan to include tips for youth as they prepare for the interview process in general?

http://www.peggyklaus.com/learning-center/tipsandquipsnewsletters/recent-posts/item/new-college-graduates-what-employers-are-really-looking-for?category_id=4

Photo of Aparna Bhasin
Team

Hi Sarah (and Bettina & Meena)

I'm sorry it took me a while to respond to the various comments....

I am conducting phone interviews for candidates next week as they are scattered all over the country (which I often find even more daunting than in person interviews) and will send out pre-planned questions and let you know how it goes.

Thanks for sharing - I had read about babajobs in the news earlier this year - great way to integrate the much used mobile phone!

My comment about reaching youth perhaps is more specific to the development sector - a lot of small not-for-profit organizations that could do with the energy and motivation of young fresh people but are often unaware of how to reach them (because of the lack of youth employees to start with). It is a strange problem because in my experience there is interest from both sides but somehow a disconnect in between....

Will be in touch soon, post the interviews.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

A challenge indeed, Aparna – which presents lots of opportunities! Feel free to add updates from your end over on our newly added Impact phase when you're ready: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/impact/ We're always keen to hear how folks are taking forward ideas (or parts of ideas) generated by others on OpenIDEO – and the impact they're achieving.

Is there an online forum / website in India that attracts youth interested in the development sector? If not, that seems like a great opportunity for someone right there! Possibly not what you're wanting to do personally – but could certainly invigorate the sector if someone put their mind to centralising young hearts and minds in this way.

Photo of Ferenc Boroczky
Team

Hello Sarah,

I do agree with you we have to do something to find out more about the candidates. My idea was to make the whole process more fun. This is why I would introduce the Lego Serious Play concept to the process.

What is the concept?

Lego Serious Play is a methodology for exploring and dealing with real issues and challenges in real time. It is not a training course to attend. It’s a science-based process and draws on extensive research from the fields of business, organizational development, psychology and learning.

Lego Serious Play methodology is a facilitated thinking, communication and problem solving technique for use with organizations, teams and individuals.

So why not we use Lego Serious Play or something similar to this in the interview process? To make things a bit less serious or fun?

Good luck to your idea!

Best,

Ferenc

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Ferenc, thank you for your input - I have used Lego Serious Play before and really like it. I think it is a great addition to the interview stage (particularly where there are groups of people being assessed at the same time). It is something that this platform could include in the Hints & Tips section for recruiting managers. It also makes me think that there needs to be a space for recruiters and recruits to share experiences and best practice. Thanks for stopping by and contributing, Sarah :)

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congratulations on making it to the Youth Employment Challenge Refinement list, Sarah. We were excited to see how this idea explores an often overlooked but critical part of the employment process – the interview. For this next phase of the challenge you might want to consider surveying potential users in your community – both prospective employees and employers – to understand other challenges each side has faced in the interview process. What questions might you ask each potential user? We are eager to learn your insights and how they inform the next prototype of this idea. Additionally, we are interested in learning what does this lightweight version of the platform look like? You might want to consider leveraging the collaborative power of the OpenIDEO community, once you have gotten user feedback, to start sketching some wireframes. We are also eager to learn about the next steps for implementation: What is the pathway to launching the platform? What skills and partners are needed for driving this forward? Post-launch, how might this platform be promoted amongst potential users? Lastly, we are curious to know how might the platform support youth who participated in the interview process but did not get selected for the job? We look forward to seeing this idea continue to develop. Check out more tips for Refinement: http://bit.ly/oi-refine

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

You can now grab some challenge-specific Refinement tips here: http://ideo.pn/ye-refine-tips Looking forward to your agile refinement-moves to strengthen your idea for impact!

Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Sarah,
Excited to learn your insights on the questions above. Keep up the great work!

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi there - thank you for the nudges. Unfortunately, life outside of this platform took over for a moment so haven't been as involved as I would have liked. Will do a little updating today and see what comes of it. Sarah :)

Photo of Christin Parma
Team

Hi Sarah,
I like your idea. I've been nerve-wrecked going to interviews where no amount of research would give me an idea of why the company would need someone in my field and also where while my degree was relevant, my major wasn't. It left a feeling of inadequacy. I feel like your idea would help us to find better positions for ourselves and really break the ice for companies and candidates to know more about what they are both looking for.

As Dave said, an online platform would be great for this. Looking forward to seeing more and helping if I can.

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Christin, thank you for sharing your experience. I have updated the entry to show a sample interview process and have included your insight in the "what's going on in the candidate's mind" part. Would love more feedback on examples that would have helped you feel differently about the interview process...?

Photo of Christin Parma
Team

Hi Sarah, this took a while. The interview process should be about how can both parties work together to make the company the best its ever been and move forward to new higher levels of production. Something like "Tell me about yourself" with are met with general responses that seem rehearsed. A conversation with specific outcomes rather than a vague evaluation will help for persons to get a better idea of who (on both ends) they will potentially work with.

Maybe questions about "So we know that you have these qualifications (clearly on resume) but we want to know a bit more about you:"
- "Where do you live? Do you live on your own?" (panel would need to know if they job requires long work days, would this candidate be able to accommodate this?
- "Do you live with your family? How do you feel about travel?"(panel would need to know if this person would travel frequently if the job position requires it?
- A detailed job description would be given, for this person to apply they would have been attracted to it. Tell me a bit about why this job stood out to you?"

Yes, skills are important but passion and dynamic learning are too. The interview process should be structured in a way that skills and character hold equal weight (maybe character should be weighted a bit more)

Photo of Christin Parma
Team

Hi Sarah. The excitement is building :) the user experience map looks amazing. I would be happy to try it out as a candidate and recruiter if you like. Please let me know if there is anything else you need.

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Hi Sarah, my blog featuring your new experience map just went up. Check it out here!: https://openideo.com/blog/youth-employment-challenge-community-ambassador-update-5

In addition to your experience map, I like how you're thinking of using "mock-interviews" to simulate the experience of this idea. Perhaps you can grab a few friends or colleagues and role-play out a portion of this idea with flash cards or other analogous prototyping tools? Gaining feedback from potential users would be a great way to refine your concept further and it will also bring your idea to life!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Sarah. Great post with lots of interesting conversation in the comments.
I have some thoughts to add.
I have experience as an interviewer for my medical school - I have interviewed candidates for admission for several years. I enjoy doing it. I see you note the opposite for most interviewers so I thought I would share why I enjoy it. I find it inspiring and it renews things for me, reminds me of the bigger picture. I have sometimes been blown away by the empathy and insights that candidates have shared. It excites me to recommend them and share what I find out when I write my evaluation. I like your suggestion to choose questions together or to allow the candidate to choose. I have used questions in the past. The process at my school is really up to the interviewer but they do have a list of questions we can use. I like to use them as a way to keep the conversation moving. I like your idea as it could change the tone of the interview from the start.
I am interested in this aspect of the path to employment as you are and have posted two ideas here. I would love to get your feedback if you have the time. The first is about a process which would happen before the formal interview - I call it the PreInterview Stage. In essence it is a step that would provide applicant and employer an opportunity to learn more about each other - perhaps some things that might not be accessible in other ways. The second is an idea about using Improv and Role Play to teach kids how to handle "situations that are interviews." I see in your post that you touch on practicing for interviews with role play.
https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/the-preinterview-a-new-stage-in-the-path-to-employment
https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/improvisation-working-it-out-on-the-path-to-employment

Tino has commented on the Improv Idea. He works in admissions for a business school and has insights into the interview process as well. I will post to him to check out your idea here as well.

Looking forward to seeing the idea develop.

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi Sarah, totally excited to see what you think about my comment because I am on the other end of the spectrum, like Bettina, as I love interviews. I will write from the top of my mind, which is why some thoughts might not be developed that well; but I would love to discuss them with follow up questions to clarify certain things if you want.
In connection with your idea, I would like to add a couple of insights and hope you find them useful. Based on my experience, below are a few problems with standard selection processes that candidates have mentioned to me:

- The overall process consists only of interviews; it is too simple
- The interviewers are not the right fit to analyze human behavior and personalities
- The interviewees are afraid that they are not given a fair chance to do their best, as they assume that interviews are there to detect mainly weaknesses instead of strengths
- The interviewees don’t understand what the overall questions are supposed to demonstrate, which is why they act instead of being themselves
- They think that being themselves is not good enough and that they have to shine to make an impression

The first two points deal with the actual evil – interviews in the hands of those that are untrained. We probably agree that human beings are too complex to be analyzed by a certain set of questions only. One simple reason is that they don’t take into account actual behavior (except nonverbal), which is why interviews alone might not be sufficient enough to truly see who somebody might be. This is not rocket science, and any person probably would agree with these statements as well. So why are interviews usually synonymous for the entire selection process of a company? Because, besides being powerful, they are a cheap and easy way to compare candidates in the quickest amount of time. However, due to the fact that many companies still don’t understand the importance of their human capital and the power behind finding the right job for the right person, many HR departments are insignificant on the Richter Scale of importance in many companies; the reason for why untrained interviewers, although they might be great employees at what they do, conduct bad interviews. Everything works similar to the GMAT for example. Ask yourself, who is more intelligent, the person with a 600 GMAT or the person with a 700 GMAT? A “trained or experienced person” (for the lack of a better word) might answer, that we don’t know because we neither know the people nor the stories behind the scores, while we cannot even be sure of the degree that a standardized test score, for which people can prepare, has in regards to the overall intelligence of a person. However, what a GMAT score also represents, is a tool for basically ANYBODY to compare one candidate with another based on the difference of one variable, which might come to the conclusion that a GMAT of 700 makes somebody more intelligent. The same happens with many interviews these days, as simple lists of questions are used for untrained interviewers to analyze candidates in a cheap and easy way. Thus, to solve these problems, it might be a good idea to actually also push the wagon from the other side by thinking that the interviews are not the problem, but the people administering them in the companies that they are working in. Putting people in charge of interviews based on their job expertise will only end in conclusions that are mere opinions of whether they can see themselves working with this candidate or not (after an interview during which they didn’t listen to understand but to see when they can ask the next question), instead of a true analysis of someone’s fit. Again, if we agree that humans are very complex individuals than we have two options: we can either make the entire process more complex the less experienced the people are that are doing the selections, or we use trained individuals that can conduct kickass interviews by listening to understand and not to simply respond.....and trust me, I have gotten some "kickass bad" responses about my interviews as well haaha

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

This brings me to my next point: how can interviewees feel comfortable in a process that is designed to minimize their own complexity by asking a few questions? I think that many people simply don’t trust that they are given a fair chance to be evaluated correctly, which is why they freak out and start acting the way they think they should act to appear as valuable as possible to the interviewer as part of this one interview that they might have. What does this result in? Not only in people drawing blanks regarding the behavior that they are trying to remember, but also in many people giving the same answer because they don’t trust that who they are is good enough. Thus, maybe wanting to design questions together and offering the degree of transparency your were mentioning might further lead to everybody giving the same answer, as it doesn’t take away the thoughts of having to impress, instead of really thinking about oneself, the company and simply why synergies exist between the two.
From my experience, I do believe that people need to be put under a little bit of pressure during an interview because it keeps them on their toes and the magic of a selection process alive because behaving the way you are in a stressful situation is often times what interviews are about and as we can see the most difficult part. Too much transparency might lead to too much preparation, and to too many people rehearsing their answers to do exactly what you said: to shine.
If you ask me, people don’t need to shine, but they might need to be given a complex enough process that will allow them to show their true behavior in many different ways and the confidence that the interviewer is skilled enough to make decisions on the basis of if somebody is truly a fit for the job and not because he or she has done a bad interview.

When people ask me now how they can best prepare for an interview I tell them basically that it is not that difficult: put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and try to understand what s/he would be interested in knowing about you to see if you could work in this company or not. For the that the candidate might need to do a little self-reflections and research on the company but that is very important.,.. because of the candidate´s own analysis of what the company is all about and what the company´s needs are. In the end people often don’t realize that the interview is not about them really, but it is about the company´s needs for which they are trying to find the best fit.

wowww...I know I went totally overboard on this one :) :)..but hope it helps your idea in some way

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi both Bettina and Tino. Thanks so much for taking the time to input here - I do agree. Actually I do like interviewing myself, for many of the same reasons you explain. What I think is common in small organisations though, is that there is no standard process and no support and that can often be daunting for a recruiting manager. And where there is "discomfort" in the recruitment process it is usually because of the lack of transparency (on both sides).

Bettina: totally love the Pre-Interview idea. Will comment over there :)
Tino: Wow - what a lot of insight :) super helpful. I will digest and see what I can build into the refined idea.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Sarah and Tino!
Just had time to really digest your great thoughts Tino. Happy to be part of this great conversation with you guys!

Tino two things you bring up stick out for me -
1 - "they might need to be given a complex enough process that will allow them to show their true behavior in many different ways" - I agree that this is important. Challenging one during an interview is important. I don't mean this to be negative, rather to be provocative. How do they respond? Do they take a few minutes to think? It is not always about the answers themselves.
In the idea I posted, "The PreInterview Stage", the idea for the applicant to write a reflection on what they have observed in the workplace is in essence a challenge as well. In this path they have time to think about the challenge as they sit and write. In this case it is a way to learn about their observation and critical thinking skills. Perhaps they will express empathy. It will not be an opportunity to "observe their behavior" obviously which is why a multifaceted approach to evaluation is a good idea.

2 - The other point you bring up is that the interview is really about the workplace and employer needs. It would be good to emphasize this in pre employment programs because youth do not often understand this and really why should they? They are not experienced in the workplace, and as children and teens much of the focus by the adults in their lives has been on them. I do not think this has always been the case. In previous generations youth were perhaps raised differently? Was the general culture towards youth different? Whatever the back story we need to do more to educate youth during the transition to employment.

Sarah, Your comment about there being no standard process and no support is spot on. I had to feel my way into the process. Making decisions that concern someone's future without guidance is an uncomfortable position to be in. If you can develop a tool that can be applied across industries that would be awesome!

Tino - One thing that has been emphasized on this challenge is that current screening tools are not successful in noting applicant's soft skills. Do corporations use interviewing tools specifically for this purpose? (You may have answered this already. I will recheck.) Perhaps they should focus on choosing employees that are adept at recognizing these skills or have been tasked to focus on this? I see that you started a conversation about who is actually doing these interviews. Interesting.....

Sarah - Happy to hear you like the PreInterview Stage idea. I will check your comment there as well!

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi sarah, hi bettina, hope you had a good weekend; I just came back from a recruiting event and will get back to you two once i get settled...looking forward to read your responses....cheers, t

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Great!
Looking forward to hearing about your recruiting event and whether you approached it or thought about it differently based on your participation here!

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Bettina, regarding the first point you are making: I think that the observation exercise is great; the only thing to make sure of is to give the interviewee the feeling that they can be 100% honest about their observations. Oftentimes people, when given ample time, rather come up with an answer that they think they should come up with, instead of what they have truly observed. Thus, to get around this problem, it might be a good idea to have this observation exercise come as a “surprise” at some part of the selection process. This way, two things might happen; first: The interviewer might be able to actually find the people that naturally pay attention when having been shown the workplace (which might translate to the internal motivation of the candidate) in comparison to a situation in which all people pay attention as they have been prompted that this will be an important part of the selection process. Second: By taking time away from the candidates, their answers might come more naturally, as they won’t have time to rehearse their possible answers already during the observation of the actual work place.

About your second point: I completely agree. I think we could have a long-lasting discussion about generational differences  What I wanted to share with yall, is something that came to my mind after my recruting event last weekend; in the end, an interview for me is like taking a test in school. The professor should prepare the students well enough to successfully complete the test, without giving them the actual questions before it, as only that way, s/he can be sure that the students actually are “learning and understanding” instead of only reciting facts from memory. In my opinion that same might have to happen with interviews: Preparing candidates well enough, by giving them clues on for example what an interview is all about alongside some practice questions, without serving them the actual plate on a silver platter beforehand.

Photo of Liz Duffy
Team

Congratulations, you've identified a real obstacle both to finding a job and to hiring good people -- the interview. For what it's worth, my favorite interview question is to ask candidates to "walk me through their resumes" describing why they made the choices they made. A resume is good at conveying what someone did but not why. Everyone loves talking about themselves and sharing their story, so it puts candidates at ease and you learn a lot about a candidate. Best wishes fleshing out your idea further.

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Liz - what I really love about your comment is the idea of a "story". Everyone has one, so how could you make the interview process more personal and real by encouraging people to tell their narratives: using visuals, bringing in photos or personal affects, using comic strips or thought bubbles to express thoughts, talking in and explaining with metaphors... You really got my imagination sparked :)

Photo of Liz Duffy
Team

...and you got my imagination sparked. I love the idea of including pictures, cartoons or objects or even just asking a candidate what object they would bring if asked. Happy interviewing, Liz

Photo of Dave Zinsman
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Love where you're going with this, Sarah!

I think that a platform that can help people communicate with companies would have a lot of potential. I also admire your foresight in focusing on SMEs. "Premium talent management for SMEs"--you've got my attention!

And as Meena mentioned, a great way to shape the idea is to post a really basic kernel. Doesn't even have to be a prototype, could even be a basic mockup on a napkin. I'd love to help you shape it; looking forward to seeing more!

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Dave - well, not quite a napkin but I have added some doodles that I hope get across what I see in my mind. Would really welcome your thoughts.

Yes, I think SMEs are a great target - I have worked (as an Organistaion Development consultant and recruiter) in a number of them and often there is no robust process, no time to think through how best to run the interview, little planning and little or no HR support. They also often attract young / less experienced candidates, who don't feel they can assess the organisation...

Interested to hear your specific thoughts on how you see this benefitting an SME and also how you feel this also benefits young people (as that is the name of the challenge!)?

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Hey Sarah,

The doodles are great! From there, you could get a deeper understanding of what hiring managers want. You can do this through things like expert opinion articles, interviews, etc.

Just a quick google search:
http://www.pongoresume.com/articles/48/interviewing-tips-hiring-managers.cfm
http://www.hcareers.com/us/resourcecenter/tabid/306/articleid/1074/default.aspx

The reason why I think SME, particularly small business represents a significant opportunity area is because they generally don't have HR departments. If you look at many of the posts in the challenge, "adjusting hiring practices" is a focal point, because many current HR practices are a pain point for many job seekers.

Although, for companies to retrain and retool their HR practices would be in itself a pain point. Change is one of the most avoided things in business, even when there is a clear benefit. Keep in mind 70% of change initiatives fail. The great thing about most small businesses is that you don't have current HR practices to adjust. In many cases, you'd be simply adding features to a non-formal hiring procedure, as opposed to changing an existing deep-rooted process.

Regarding "benefiting young people," any solution that helps small businesses understand and connect with applicants more efficiently will directly benefit 16-24-year-olds. There are two basic users most of our ideas address: youth job-seekers and companies. Some solutions address how to equip the youth, some seek to equip the companies, or both.

To start thinking about the framework behind possible design options, I like to think of parallel examples from different industries. The youth employment pathways challenge is a focused segment of a larger unemployment phenomenon. While the focused youth segment may have unique factors, there are more universal factors than unique. For instance:

The auto industry in the 1950s. "How may we prevent head trauma occurrences among 16-24 year-old passengers?" Answer--seat belts, the same seat belts that every other passenger above 6 years of age will wear.

If the challenge were "How may we prevent head trauma occurrences among passengers below the age of 6," the answer is altogether different--a car seat. I really don't think that is where we're at with this challenge. I feel like solutions should be closer to "seat belts"--universal solutions.

It may help to do a design challenge reframe. Breaking down the design challenge into its component parts, you can easily reframe your specific design challenge: action, utility, users, location.

How might we:

Specific Action: Build; Increase; Equip, etc.
Specific Utility: Access to clean water; micro funding; computer skills
Specific Users: Underprivileged youth; firemen; SMEs
Specific Location: Los Angeles, CA; Austria; BRIC

Reframing may make it easier to tease out exactly what pain points you'd like to address. Hope this helps!

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Sorry it has taken me a while to respond here, but I have been mulling over this fantastic contribution, thank you. I really like the idea of reframing, and the scenarios I have just uploaded are more focused on: How can we make interviews more effective, by equipping recruiting managers (in small organisations) with tools, prompts and guidance. Still a bit broad, but getting there...

Photo of Louise Prideaux
Team

Hi Sarah

I really agree that interviews can definitely be a big obstacle to young people finding work. This is a great idea to overcome that.

I was wondering, is the idea to actually carry out the interview itself on the platform? Via skype or other video / interview software? Or is it more about the before and after stages?

I think it would be great if it did include the interview itself. One of the things that my friends and I found when we were looking for a job after University, was that applying for jobs is a really time-consuming process. This is especially the case if you have to travel for the interview, which can take a lot of time and also be quite expensive, as many companies don't pay travel expenses for interviews.

Interested to hear what you think. And Good luck with the idea!

Louise

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Louise - thanks for your comments. Really like the idea of building in interview capacity - like a FaceTime function. I have interviewed many people over Skype (at least for the initial screen) and I think it is a nice, informal way to kick start the process and to avoid some of the obstacles you have pointed out. I have added the idea into the user scenario I just uploaded. S.

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Sarah,

How do you tackle the problems with filtering candidates. Say there are 20000 candidates for 5 positions in a company? I am talking about hiring freshers.

Very interesting thought.
Thanks,
Pri

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Pri - great point. I tried to keep the scope of this idea narrow but would welcome your thoughts on whether including other parts of the recruitment process (ie. screening) would improve the idea?

The difficulty with screening is that by nature it is quite in-humane (you never get a true sense of who the people you are rejecting / keeping really are from just CVs - so how do you humanise the screening stage?

Perhaps we can learn from online dating sites where a basic algorithm pairs some core values and then suitors self-organise and match up...? (Could a candidate "wink" at a company and vice versa? What information would you need to start matching people?) At least this seems more inclusive than just the company screening...

Thanks for spurring more ideas and questions. Your input really welcome.

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Sarah,

Wow! watta comparison. Dating sites!! That looks so cool, Yes, that eventually gives opportunities for everyone to gets a date.
Angelist.com is doing something close to that. Check it out.

I received an IV call from them recently and I will give you some feedback on this. Keep up the good work!

Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Very interesting conversation. I love looking at analogous processes like dating. Great thinking.

Sarah I would love to learn more about the specific questions or specific changes to interviews that would support youth to highlight their skills.
This is an idea ripe for experimenting, don't be shy to gather some young people and try out different methods of interviewing and report back on your learnings.

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Pri - great spot with AngelList (https://angel.co/recruiting); do keep me posted on what you find out.
Luisa - thank you, I have a lot of experience with online dating :) so my mind would naturally go there! Agree, there is a real opportunity to flip interviews to better promote and support youth.

Photo of Geordie McClelland
Team

Hi Sarah - the initial filtering question is one that we are trying to answer with theThings.biz. By focusing on transferable soft skills proven in diverse environments as the initial screen for candidates we hope to humanize that filtering process. Our hope is that a focus on how people think and work versus specifically what they've done will bring a more human perspective to the hiring process - here's our contribution: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/start-your-career-wherever-you-re-starting-from

Also, if you'll indulge some thoughts we wrote earlier in the year about the need for a more human approach to human capital which references some interesting new companies like HireVue (http://hirevue.com) who are also trying to evolve interviewing:
http://blog.thethings.biz/post/71648088198/in-2014-lets-take-a-more-human-approach-to-human

Photo of Christin Parma
Team

That article really hits the nail on the head, good read. I'm not embarrassed to say that I did an online course to help with exactly what that article talks about. https://www.coursera.org/course/career

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Have you seen this? May be a learning: http://hirevue.com/

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Sergio - thanks for sharing that. Looks fantastic and very aligned - answers some of the questions about how you could do the first stage of screening in a different way. Still seems very focused on the company and not so much the candidate... will build this into my thinking. Keep connected - would love to continue to get your feedback.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

It is very focused on the company, thought it be a potential solution to move toward how you would interview these candidates in a more human manner, just sharing for learnings...

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Sarah, great idea here. I think you need to include something about "tell us about yourself" that is one of the hardest parts of the interview because people don't know who they are. But like you stated, that is a key link between the candidate and the job. Secondly, would this be like a real interview scenario where someone practices like how people practice for TOFEL for example?

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Rehmah - thanks for your input. Yes, I totally agree - the crucial part is figuring out how to get "the real person" across. I have spoken to a few young people about there experience, and the number 1 feedback is that they want someone to ask them more about themselves. Your challenge is good though - do people really know how to talk about themselves in a meaningful way?

I don't know about the TOFEL example - please share. Thanks, S.

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Sarah. TOFEL are English exams people have to take to join studies in USA, and one has to practice from speech to written English, it is so practical see this link: http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/prepare?WT.ac=toeflhome_prepare_121127

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hey Sarah – we notice this idea is currently unpublished. We'd love it if you might get it to a stage you're ready to share and add it to our Ideas phase! It sounds like a really exciting idea and it'd be great to get some collaborative input from our OpenIDEO community to strengthen it further, together.

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Thanks for the nudge... :)

Photo of Jean-Marc Mercy
Team

Great thought, Sarah. I would be interested to explore your idea and work with you on refining it further by devising together how best recruiters can 'humanise' interviewing processes.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

aw shucks :)

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great thinking, Sarah – interviews are certainly an opportunity which could benefit from some innovative re-calibration! Perhaps you might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some example scenarios which describe user journeys through some of the proposed activities you've outlined. Check this example: http://www.openideo.com/open/e-waste/concepting/neighbourhood-e-waste-champion/ where a few simple scenarios were created in an attempt to explain the goodness on the idea in a human-centered way. (You can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.)

Might also be interesting to start interviewing some potential end users (youth and employers) to learn more about the nuanced pain points that they experience which your idea could help address. And as always – we'd encourage you to make a start on sketching out parts of the idea (more tips: http://ideo.pn/vis-ual) Also thought you'd like to check out this idea from a previous challenge: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment/refinement/job-interviews-as-learning-moments in case it raises even further opportunities to ply into your idea.

We're amped about seeing your idea evolve!

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Meena, thanks for the input and direction. Have done some squiggles above and will chat to a friend of mine who is just in the middle of this process this evening... perhaps more insight there. Some great comments coming in now too - super excited to see where this goes :)

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great to see you getting visal on thisl!!! Tip: if you add the images inline they can't be expanded to a larger view (& so all the details can't be viewed) If you add them to your visual gallery (via the Make It Visual button) they'll be able to be enlarged and all that great detail will be visible. Good luck on interviewing – looking forward to the learnings from these insights which will allow to to iterate further towards the needs to potential end users. Bring it on...

Photo of Guy Viner
Team

Sarah- Great to see you bring this idea to life. Lots of thought provoking insights here. Be sure to refine your idea with learnings from your on and off-line conversations so the community can see your thinking evolve!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Sarah,
I was talking with one of my students' who just graduated two days ago as he was prepping for an interview, and he was of course worried.
I am sure he (as many others) could have used your platform.
One thing I told that students (that one older colleague / friend had told me years ago before I went for an interview!) was that 1) it was a learning experience rather than an evaluation; 2) it was going both ways: it was not only the company learning about him, but him learning about the company and the job. It helped me a lot and it seems that it helped him too.
I'm wondering if you could also imagine having a blog / community page where people can share stories like this.

Per Meena's suggestion, adding one or 2 scenarios would be helpful for others to understand better your idea, but also for you to articulate it better.

Photo of Sarah Owusu
Team

Hi Anne-Laure, this is a great comment and your advice was great! I have just added some visuals to the idea above and had your comments in mind as I was doodling. I have built in some thoughts on how you can ensure it becomes a two-way interview. Interested on your thoughts on how we might make it feel more like a "learning experience" (as I think that is such an important attitude to approach interviews with)?

I love the idea of a blog running in parallel for the community (both interviewers and candidates) to share experiences, hints and tips and to learn from each other. How would you encourage people to contribute their experiences?