Almost gone, thankfully, are the days of brutal panel interviews with trick questions and ridiculous, no-win scenarios.

Instead, questions like: “What animal would you be and why?” are being replaced with thoughtful inquiry, genuine interest and bilateral communication. Welcome to the world of the collaborative interview.


One of the biggest differences in the current interview process organizations across industries are adopting is the idea of candor. While it had already become more common for organizations to acknowledge the fact that the candidate was choosing them as much as they were choosing the candidate, the trend now includes more than just a simple acknowledgment.

Instead, organizations now more openly discuss the hiring process, true nature of the work environment, pay range, career path and challenges they face with all the above.

Transparency, especially around perceived weaknesses, has been added as a balance to the shiny pitches that once dominated interview discussions and offers. This deliberate candor underscores the growing importance of candidate choice in the process.

No really, what do you think?

Similarly, pre-interview assignments, interview discussions and follow-up are all shifting to more transparency. Organizations are actively seeking ways to not only learn about the candidate and her past performance but more specifically how she applies what she learned to a real problem the corporation is facing.

Marketers are being asked to criticize pitches that did not make the cut; IT and security experts are asked to analyze real weaknesses; and HR people are given genuine employee relations issues to see how they approach gray areas.

In addition to giving the company an even clearer picture of how the candidate’s approach meshes or challenges the organizations, it gives the candidate insight into the company’s approach, culture and issues. It affords both sides the opportunity to discuss a real issue during the interview, which helps everyone understand more about the other side’s communication style, real-time thought process and approach to problem-solving.

Next steps

Another trend, greatly helped by technology and social media, is the detail provided to candidates during the process. In the early days, bulky enterprise application systems allowed for candidates to follow the general phases of the process along an unspecific timeline. Auto-generated emails acknowledged advancement to the next round; if you did not get one, you did not advance.

Now, organizations are telling candidates which phase they are in and what it is about them that advanced them to the next round. As challenging as it is, many organizations are also finding ways to tell the candidates that are not advancing during the process.

Previously, candidates not advancing were not told and would just sit there, waiting for weeks, strategically timing follow-up emails to stay in front of the recruiter but also try to find out any little bit of information about the process. Currently, even auto-generated emails keep candidates informed on the status of their application and often include details about the skills of the candidates that were advanced to the next round when they were not.

The bottom line is taking a more transparent, collaborative approach to the interview process is on the rise.

Whether it is a to be blamed on Silicon Valley firms constantly challenging everything about traditional HR, the employee-friendly job market or some greater evolution in the way we approach workplace culture is unclear. But in all cases, it results in more informed decision making on both sides of the table which ultimately leads to a better hiring process.