Finding the right hire that both fits your company's culture and can refresh your business with new ideas can be a challenge. Popular New York City-based news and entertainment website Buzzfeed recently generated its own buzz when it asked applicants for a support specialist position to send directions (in any form) for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, instead of a cover letter and resume.
In an interview with journalism web site Poynter.org, Buzzfeed's product lead, Alice DuBois, said, "Cover letters are boring and this seemed like a more fun, illuminating way to get a sense of how a job applicant communicates."
They aren't the only company that uses offbeat recruitment and interview practices. Here, we've gathered techniques from a few bold companies who are using unique hiring techniques to attract top talent.
1. Challenge them before you say hello.
App search engine Quixey, based in Mountain View, Calif., has a game on its website for potential hires, called Quixey Challenge. Hopefuls can register for one of the site's challenges, which are created and run by job recruitment platform Readyforce. If they can fix the challenge's programming bug in less than a minute, they win $100 and a chance to interview with the company.
2. Get past the polish.
Each year, Mankato, Minn.-based HalloweenCostumes.com recruits more than 1,000 part-time staff for the holiday rush. Founder Tom Fallenstein says it's important that the new hires fit in with the company's quirky culture. About a year ago, the company began interviewing prospective candidates using a "rapid-fire challenge," where four company representatives ask unusual questions in quick succession, such as: If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself for food? What's your favorite fish? If you were a color, what color would you be and why?
Fallenstein says the unexpected rapid-fire questions have been more effective in finding good candidates than more conversational interview techniques used in the past. "You can tell that you're really getting to know them because they can't rely on canned answers," he says. "When they're answering so quickly or in a game environment, [job candidates] really respond more honestly."
3. Play games to break the ice.
HalloweenCostumes.com also asks prospective hires to play a game of Jenga with their potential managers and co-workers. The game, in which building blocks are removed from a structure until it collapses, helps the group break the ice. Each block has an interview question on it, which opens up discussion and allows the team to see how they get along before the candidate is hired.