Jackie just posted – and had word spread through mouth – that she is going to hire an office staff for her news agency. Someone told her that Rose was a good pick. She reached out to Rose and interviewed her. After the interview, she seemed to be a good fit. She had a pleasing personality that could fit well with the culture of the company. She had a lot of accomplishments and awards as seen from her resume. Rose signed on the dotted line and got hired the next day.

But the story doesn’t end there. Three months after, Rose told co-workers that she was unhappy with her job. Even if she got along well with Jackie and the team, she kept on grumbling about one thing. She didn’t feel like she was learning from her job. This was not the kind of job she expected, she shared to her colleagues. One day, her immediate supervisor gave Jackie the word that Rose wanted to cut her contract short.

The Value of a Working Interview

Rose is just one example of many employees who leave the workplace just within six months of stay in their first job. This is because there’s a gap between the applicant’s job expecations and the actual work required. For this reason, companies lose about 30 to 50% of the newbie’s annual salary just to replace those who resigned early. 

These pitfalls can be avoided by conducting a working interview.

What is a Working Interview?

A working interview is the process of trying out a candidate before immediately hiring him as a regular employee.

Given at most a day, a candidate will prove if he is worth being hired or not through his actions. He will be assigned to work on the usual tasks the position entails, like handling projects and even paperwork. This will test many of his skills at once, in an actual work setting. The employer will be able to tell whether or not he’s a team player, a fast learner, and a problem solver.

He will be paid without benefits in this regard. (The candidate is still not entitled to benefits as they are called probationary employees). After this, he may get hired as a regular employee based on the result of his working interview.

How to Conduct a Working Interview

  1. Take note of your company’s workload.

Is the team working at a moderate pace? Can they tackle their current workload? Then, you can schedule your work interview. This way, you can increase the candidate’s workload as well as the pace as the hours pass by.

  1. Let the candidate explore the job’s functions.

Is he curious about what the job requires him to do? Does he know his tasks, responsibilities, and workload if accepted? Allow for the candidate to explore his potential role. This way, you can gauge his abilities in relation to the job, and the candidate can do the same.

  1. Assign an immediate supervisor to mentor your candidate.

By doing so, he will be able to feel more “relaxed” and it will pave the way for him to showcase his abilities sooner. Furthermore, this is a win-win situation. The candidate will be able to show his best – or worst – self in front of the supervisor. On your part, you’ll get quick feedback from the supervisor about the candidate’s performance.

  1. Guide the supervisor in his mentorship role.

The supervisor must be patient enough with the candidate since the latter might be asking a lot of questions about the company. The candidate might be exploring the company’s mission and vision. He might ask about the company’s history and the story of its founders. He might also ask a lot of mundane questions like morning routines and break times.

Before you forget, make sure that the supervisor is actually overseeing the work of the candidate. The candidate should not jump into tasks without notifying his immediate supervisor.

  1. Follow up on the candidate.

When making a final assessment as to whether you will be hiring the candidate or not, seek some help from the immediate supervisor he was assigned to. What does he say about the candidate’s performance? Will he fit in and adapt to the culture of the company? The supervisor should be able to give some relevant inputs that will help you decide on the candidate’s application.

There are also some legalities involved in doing working interviews. Take note that the company expects the candidate to do tasks as a regular employee would do. He is then classified as an “employee”. This means you will have to pay the candidate for services rendered in this regard.

Also, he or she cannot be a “volunteer” even if he has waived his rights to a salary. Nor can he be an “on-the-job trainee” since the person is not an official employee yet. Make sure to clear these things up with your legal consultant before starting a working interview.

Jackie Hires Anew

So, how did Jackie solve her problem? She once again spread word that she was hiring an office assistant for the news agency. This time, she sought the help of her company’s trusted employees. One of them referred Jane.

Jackie has now learned her lesson. She first put Jane through a working interview as a probationary employee. She then assigned one of her editors to become Jane’s immediate supervisor. In the end, Jane turned out to be the exact candidate they had been looking for.

Have you tried a working interview at your office before? Let us know in the comments below.


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