Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can You Hire Someone Without Doing an Interview?

I'm not a big fan of job interviews – from either side of the desk. They're a false construct because everyone is on their best behaviour. As an applicant, how do you know if you'll like the work environment and the people? If you're interviewing candidates, how can you tell who will work best with the team and do a good job? You don't and you can't.

Until someone is doing the job, there's no true way to know if they're a fit. Which is why FlightCaster cofounder Jason Freedman doesn't interview potential employees. He hires them instead.

He doesn't hire them full-time, but as contract workers so he can see how well they, well, work. He pays them a contractor's fee to complete a defined project over the course of a few weeks, and if he's happy, they have a job.

I love this idea, and think that magazines are particularly well-suited to the practice. Hire an editor to handle some stories and work through production, and you'll know by the end of it if they're worth bringing on full time. And it gives them a chance to determine if they want to work for you.

What do you think? Would you try it? Would you do away with interviews?


Kat Tancock said...

It's a cool idea, but would only work for hires who don't have current full-time positions. No one would leave a job for something risky like this, and they probably wouldn't be able to do the contract part-time as it would be violating any non-compete clauses in their current contracts.

That said, isn't this kind of what a lot of companies do with interns?

Corinna vanGerwen said...

Freedman addresses the issue of people who already work full-time in his post – give them work they can do evenings/weekends. Though you're right, the noncompete clause in many contracts may prevent this.

And yes, internships are somewhat like this in that some turn into jobs, but that only helps with entry-level positions. Plus, magazines have interns constantly, not only when there's a job opening.

Laura said...

I would love to see the end of job interviews. I'm working so hard to be the perfect interview person and get all the body language, etc right that I don't know who I am any more half way through the thing.

In the end, people who ace the interview may get the job. But that doesn't mean they know what to do once they start the job.