Interview tip: Replace the resume with a whiteboard. By Thomas Lockwood
Need a more innovative workforce? Then start with how you use the resume. How long has the resume concept been around, forever? How much have they evolved? While reviewing the listing of job experiences on paper or online is still important, if you need a more innovative workforce, it’s time to take a look at how the resume is used.
In the interview, why not skip reviewing the resume and the associated probing questions, and instead use a whiteboard? Just hand your candidate a big marker, and ask them to get up and show you what they have accomplished, and what they can do for your company, on a whiteboard. Be disruptive and fire off a lot of questions. You will very quickly learn if they can think on their feet, communicate, if they’re organized enough to tell a story, if they are confident enough to go with scribbled ideas, and if they can respond to spontaneous, alternative challenges.
And if they flounder, then ask yourself, how could they possibly bring their teams along to shared objectives? How could they help create better future scenarios for your company? Are they creative and confident enough to make any meeting successful without a prepared pitch?
Likewise, if you’re a candidate, why not turn the tables. When you’re asked the first question, grab that big marker, stand up, and answer it using the whiteboard. When I defended my MPhil research to transfer to the PhD stage, I surprised the review committee by asking for a room with a big whiteboard. They already had my thesis, but rather than Powerpoint or Keynote, my presentation was entirely freehand on the whiteboard. I still explained my research methods, findings, and proposed next steps, but my interest and passion really was much more evident, and I was advanced to the next level.
I’ve read many of the best interviewing techniques by the industry gurus, but with all due respect, for the most part they seem stuck in the past. If your culture is collaborative, and you want more innovation, then you need to look at your interview process. If a candidate can’t use a whiteboard to communicate their ideas, tell a story, and lead a group along, collaboratively, they are likely not the kind of person that can build upon ideas, collaboratively, and help develop a more innovative organization.