Should Job Interviews Be More Creative?

Philip Keezer
Philip Keezer

When it comes to recruiting new talent for your company, what are the keys to discovering the absolute best candidate for the job? Is there a surefire way to know who’s perfect for the position and will exceed all expectations?

Employees are a huge key to success in companies of all sizes, but this is even more true for startups. After all, as an entrepreneur, you can’t do it all on your own and you need to share the tasks at hand with individuals who are just as passionate and devoted to the business as you are.

Columbia Sportswear recently put these very questions under the spotlight when they released a viral video showing an interview like no other. In the clip, which you can watch in full below, Columbia reps can be seen interviewing for a Director of Toughness position. Instead of just posing questions, as is usually the norm, Columbia surprised candidates with a pretty grueling hands-on portion.

Ad agency North was tasked with creating the video, which might come across as exaggerated or a full-out spoof, but take a closer look. Is it really just a crazy viral video? Or is there real business merit in what it’s showing? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Basically, Columbia asked candidates to complete a standard interview at the bottom of Mt. Hood outside the Timberline Lodge in Portland. The handful of hopefuls thought that was all, but after talking at length about their strengths and accomplishments, they were surprised with Part 2: A trek up the mountain to meet a second HR rep who would be waiting for them at the very top. Because, after all, if everything they had just said was true, this would be no challenge at all.

Yes, it’s a funny video, but it raises a serious question: Should interviews be more hands-on? More innovative? More tailored to every job posting and individual company?

Consider the Director of Toughness position. The person who ultimately gets hired will be tasked with nine months of travel around the world in order to test out the brand’s gear in “some of the most brutal conditions mother nature can serve”. A tough role for sure and it’s no secret that it’s one thing to boast about the expertise you have and another to actually have it.

Which is exactly why giving candidates the opportunity to show off their talent first-hand in an interview that doesn’t follow convention might just be the best way to ensure everyone comes out on top: The entrepreneur will have gained an invaluable asset and the employee will be able to enjoy their new job to the fullest and excel every single day.

So, should job interviews be more creative? What do you think?