rethinking hr

In recent years, there has been a growing movement in the HR realm to reconsider traditional hiring practices. One of the most controversial aspects of the traditional interview process is the use of “weird” or “gotcha” questions. These questions are often designed to test a candidate’s ability to think on their feet or handle stress, but they can also be unfair and discriminatory. 

A recent contribution on Tyla highlights the issue of “weird” interview questions, which are often viewed as irrelevant to the job at hand and can act as a barrier to entry for qualified candidates.

In this article, we will argue that the use of “weird” interview questions is outdated and ineffective. Instead, we will propose a more modern and human-centric approach to selection that focuses on assessing a candidate’s skills, experience, and fit for the role. Additionally, we will explore emerging trends in HR, including the use of digital technologies and the importance of soft skills, and discuss how these trends can be leveraged to create a more effective and inclusive hiring process.

In the following sections, we will discuss:

  • The harmful effects of “weird” interview questions and why they should be avoided.
  • The importance of using objective and structured interview questions.
  • The role of digital technologies in the hiring process.
  • The importance of soft skills in the workplace.
  • How HR can help organizations manage change and adapt to new workplace dynamics.

We will conclude by offering recommendations from our team at Pyou to organisations on how to enhance their hiring practices and create a more human-centric workplace.

Digitalization and Automation

The field of human resources is being rapidly transformed by digitalization and automation. HR technologies are reshaping everything from how we source and screen candidates to how we train and develop employees. Here are a few examples of how technology is changing the HR landscape:

  • AI-powered recruitment: AI algorithms are increasingly being used to scan resumes, identify potential candidates, and even conduct initial interviews. This helps streamline the recruitment process, reduce bias, and improve the efficiency of HR teams.
  • Personalized learning: Digital learning platforms and adaptive learning technologies  provide employees with personalized training experiences. This allows employees to learn at their own pace, focus on areas of weakness, and receive immediate feedback.
  • Data-driven decision-making: HR analytics tools  help organizations track key metrics such as employee turnover, engagement, and performance. This data can be used to make informed decisions about staffing, compensation, and training initiatives.

While these technologies offer significant benefits, it is important to use them in a responsible and ethical manner. HR professionals must ensure that AI algorithms do not perpetuate biases and that they safeguard employees’ privacy. It is also crucial to remember that technology is a tool, not a substitute for human judgment.

The most effective HR processes combine the best of both worlds: data-driven insights with the human touch

Soft Skills Essential

In the digital age, soft skills have become increasingly important for HR professionals. These personal qualities influence how well an individual can interact and work effectively with others, often relating to communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and empathy. Here’s why soft skills are crucial for HR:

  • Building a positive workplace culture: HR plays a key role in creating a positive and supportive workplace culture. This requires strong communication skills, empathy, and the ability to resolve conflicts effectively.
  • Managing change and transformation: Organizations are constantly adapting to new technologies, market conditions, and competitive pressures. HR professionals with strong adaptability and resilience skills can help guide employees through change.
  • Building relationships: The HR function relies on building strong relationships with employees, managers, and external stakeholders. This requires excellent communication, listening, and interpersonal skills.

Examples of key soft skills for Human Resources professionals:

  • Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
  • Communication: The ability to clearly and effectively convey information, both verbally and in writing.
  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.
  • Adaptability: The ability to adjust to new situations and challenges.
  • Collaboration: The ability to work effectively with others towards a common goal.

How HR can develop soft skills

While some individuals may have a natural predisposition towards strong soft skills, these abilities can be developed over time. Organizations can promote the development of soft skills through:

  • Training and workshops: Providing opportunities for employees to learn about and practice soft skills.
  • Mentorship and coaching: Pairing employees with experienced HR professionals.
  • Feedback and reflection: Encouraging employees to self-reflect on their skills and solicit feedback from others.

Managing Change

The modern business landscape is characterized by constant change.  New technologies, changing customer demands, and global competition are forcing organizations to adapt or face extinction.  HR plays a critical role in helping organizations manage change effectively. Here’s how:

  • Communicating the vision for change: HR can help leaders articulate a clear and compelling vision for why change is necessary and how it will benefit the organization. This can help to build employee buy-in and reduce resistance.
  • Preparing employees for change: HR needs to provide employees with the training and resources they need to adapt to new roles, processes, and technologies. This may involve upskilling existing employees or bringing in new talent with the required skills.
  • Supporting employees throughout the transition: Change can be stressful and unsettling for employees. HR needs to be supportive, providing opportunities for employees to voice their concerns and address their anxieties.
  • Building a change-resilient culture: Organizations that can quickly and effectively adapt to change are more likely to thrive. HR can play a role in establishing a culture that embraces change, experimentation, and learning.

Objective Assessment

One of the major criticisms of “weird” interview questions is that they are often subjective and irrelevant to the job the candidate is applying for. To ensure a fair and effective hiring process, it is essential to use objective and structured interview questions that directly assess the skills, knowledge, and experience required for the role.

Benefits of objective assessment

  • Reduces bias: By focusing on skills and experience, structured interviews can help mitigate unconscious biases that can creep into the selection process.
  • Improves hiring decisions: Focusing on relevant factors allows organizations to identify candidates who are genuinely a good fit for the role.
  • Enhances the candidate experience: Objective questions provide applicants with a clearer understanding of what’s expected of them and allow them to showcase their relevant skills.

Examples of objective interview questions

  • Situational questions: These questions ask candidates to describe how they would handle a specific work-related scenario. (Example: “Describe a time you had to resolve a conflict with a colleague. What was your approach?” -)
  • Behavioral questions: These questions focus on a candidate’s past experiences. (Example: “Tell me about a time you had to adapt to a major change at work. How did you handle it?” )
  • Technical questions: These questions directly assess a candidate’s knowledge and skillset related to the job duties.

The Role of AI in Assessment

AI is increasingly being used to assist with candidate assessment. While AI has the potential to streamline the process and reduce bias, it’s important to use it with caution. Here are some considerations:

  • The importance of human oversight: AI algorithms should not be the sole decision-maker. Human judgment is still essential to ensure fair and ethical outcomes.
  • Algorithm bias: It’s crucial that AI algorithms are trained on diverse data sets to minimize the risk of perpetuating existing biases.

Looking Ahead

The traditional approach to HR, which includes using “weird” or irrelevant interview questions, is outdated and ineffective. As the world of work evolves, HR must adopt a more modern and human-centric approach. This involves responsibly harnessing technology, prioritising soft skills, assisting organisations in effectively managing change, and utilising objective and structured assessments.

At Pyou, we are committed to spearheading the HR transformation. Our vision is to create a workplace where individuals are appreciated for their skills, experience, and potential. We harness the power of technology while placing a strong emphasis on the human touch in recruitment, training, and talent management. Our strategy focuses on comprehending our clients’ requirements, devising tailored solutions, and fostering enduring partnerships that foster success.

Recommendations for Change

  • Rethink interview questions: Focus on asking questions that directly assess the skills and experience required for the role. Avoid subjective or irrelevant “gotcha” questions.
  • Invest in HR technology: Consider the benefits of AI-powered recruitment, learning, and employee engagement platforms. Implement these tools with an eye towards minimizing bias and ensuring ethical use.
  • Prioritize soft skills development: Provide HR professionals with training and development opportunities to enhance their communication, empathy, and adaptability skills.
  • Make HR a strategic partner for change: HR leaders should be at the forefront, helping organizations navigate change by communicating effectively, providing training, and supporting employees through transitions.

By adopting a more modern and human-centric approach, modelled on Pyou’s vision, HR can make a huge impact on organisations. HR teams are well-positioned to improve the fairness and effectiveness of hiring practices, create positive and supportive work environments, and help organisations successfully adapt to the constantly evolving world of work. Partner with Pyou to realise the full potential of your workforce and drive business growth through modern HR solutions.