The Pros and Cons of Challenge-Based Interviewing

May 13th, 2014

Many companies have adopted challenge-based interviewing to help decide which candidate is best suited for a particular position. Challenge-based interviewing refers to an employer requests that the candidate perform a task that matches a skill listed in the job description. For example, if you are hiring a new web designer, you can ask them to complete a code or website sample as part of the interview. If you are looking for an administrative professional, you can ask them to do some virtual data entry for you. 

Overall, challenge-based interviewing has both pros and cons depending on your company’s needs.


Eliminate the Weak Candidates. 

When you implement challenge-based interviewing, you will automatically eliminate the weak candidates who are mass applying for jobs. By adding in that extra step or challenge, you will only receive applications from potential candidates who are truly serious about the position. 

Equalize the Recruiting Playing Field. 

It’s hard to gauge how well a candidate will fit in with your company when the candidates come from such different backgrounds, experience levels, and individual skills. By giving each of the potential candidates the same challenge to complete, you are essentially equalizing the recruiting playing field. If two candidates perform similarly on the challenge, you can then focus on other aspects that are important to you, such as personality. 

Receive Proof of a Job Candidate’s Supposed Skill Set. 

Job candidates often embellish certain skills when applying for a certain job to appear more impressive. For example, a potential candidate may say he or she is well versed in Photoshop, but actually knows little more than the basics. By asking the potential candidate to complete an advanced Photoshop challenge, you can verify that your candidate’s skill set will actually meet the skill set required for the job description.


The Process is Time Consuming. 

You will have to spend more time looking at applications and final products if you decide to take a challenge-based interviewing approach. If you are looking for a quick turnaround time, this might not be the best approach for your company. 

You Could Eliminate Candidates Who Would Be a Good Fit for Another Position. 

When your interview with a candidate is challenge-based, it generally limits you to seeing the potential of the candidate for that specific challenge or job skill. The downside to this is that you could easily overlook and eliminate a candidate who is a good fit for another position in your company.

The Nontraditional Approach Could Backfire in Traditional Companies.

Using a challenge-based interview to recruit new employees is definitely a nontraditional way of expanding your company. This tactic could backfire in companies that place value on traditional employees with job descriptions that are fairly basic or don’t leave much room for creativity.

When you’re hiring new employees, you’re going to have to decide whether or not challenge-based interviewing is for you. If you take into account all of the pros and cons of challenge-based interviewing, as well as what your company’s needs are, you’ll make the right decision and effectively recruit the best employees.

If you’re ready to start interviewing potential job applicants for your company, contact Olympic Staffing for a customized recruiting process, which can include challenge-based interviewing.

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