Innovative Interview Techniques for Employers

A hiring manager asks leadership interview questions.

Companies thrive on teamwork, shared values, and collaboration. That’s why it’s critical to make sure every employee not only fits the role but also brings the right energy to your company culture. Monster spoke to business owners and hiring managers to learn innovative interview techniques for employers.

1. Look for Patterns

Aaron Patzer, who sold his online personal finance company,, to Intuit for $170 million, swears by an interview method called “topgrading.” This interview technique involves identifying the long-term patterns in human behavior by always asking the “why” rather than the “what.”

Patzer says topgrading was “over 90% effective” in identifying people who were successful at The method involves asking candidates detailed questions about success, failure, decisions, and key relationships in every full-time job they’ve held, in chronological order.

2. Involve Your Staff

Eric Shiffer, owner of CEA Business Solutions says that he sets aside time for the candidate to meet his staff. “I will introduce them and then leave the room for 15–20 minutes or so.”

This interview technique is not only an opportunity for employees to evaluate a prospective coworker but also a chance for the candidate to ask questions about the owner’s management style. “If the staff noted some things that I did not see and they were really against hiring the person, no matter how much I like them, I would not hire them,” says Shiffer.

3. Test Critical Thinking

When Tom Szaky hires a new employee at TerraCycle, he always asks the same question: “If you move into a new market and you have a negative $10,000 budget, how do you break even?” When Vice President of Public Relations Albe Zakes was first interviewed at the company, which makes consumer products out of waste materials, he was initially thrown off by the question.

“I stumbled through some answers and then said, ‘This is a tough question, can I email you with some answers?’ Tom told me later that he liked the fact that I didn’t give up.”

So it’s not the answer to a tough question that matters, it’s how a prospective employee reacts to a challenge and the process that they use to come up with a solution to a thorny problem.

5. Hold Post-Interview Reviews

You won’t hire every candidate, but you can learn from every interview. Sometimes you will pick up new interview techniques.

Hold a post-interview roundtable with colleagues. You may want to ask questions, including:

  • Why should we hire the candidate?
  • Why shouldn’t we hire the candidate?
  • Which interview questions provided the most value?
  • Which questions were the least effective?
  • How could the interview have been better?

“By sharing these impressions, other interviewers can verify their candidate reactions,” says Eric Herrenkohl, founder and president of Herrenkohl Consulting. “Inevitably, one interviewer catches something that everyone else missed.”

Even if you passed on the candidate, that one lesson could be helpful for future interviews.

Put These Interview Techniques to Work

Ready to start using these interview techniques? Reach qualified candidates quickly with a free job posting on Monster.