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Outsourcing professional interviewing

There are several interviewing practices used by recruiters, hiring managers and other personnel involved in employee selection. The question is – which of the traditional selection techniques are still relevant in today’s world be it interviewing senior executives or millennials and Gen Y. Moreover, techniques successfully adopted in the West might not necessarily work in Asia.

Professional interviewing has become so complex that organizations have started to outsource this to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) companies. This is a form of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) where an organization can transfer all or part of its recruitment process to an external service provider.

Some RPO companies adopt innovative interviewing techniques and conduct several rounds of interviews even for lower level positions. Airbnb interviews job seekers up to 15 times (Source: Sunday Times Singapore). Interviewees themselves attend workshops to gain interview tips and be able to ace interviews (and all sorts of interview questions) and so interviewers have to step up their game. Typical rigorous rounds can be in these forms:

  • Interviews by HR, Hiring Manager, Senior Management, Peers and even Subordinates. This will give a 360 perspective of the candidate. We are looking potentially up to about 5 rounds. The rounds can be fewer if the interviews are conducted by a panel of the different stakeholders. What questions to ask in an interview is vital. Some organizations don’t structure this well and interviewees end up being quizzed on the same interview questions. This frustrates the interviewees and affect the brand reputation. 
  • Psychometric Assessment for job fit and cultural fit
  • A real life case study is given to the candidate to assess how the candidate tackles it and solves the problem. If the role requires an analytical brain, then the technical nature of the case study has to be adjusted.
  • Social setting like over a meal or drink – Candidates are more relaxed in such a setting where they might let their hair down and show their inner selves more readily. This is also a good way to assess a candidate’s social skills and manners.
  • Submit 30/60/90 days plan and present it. This will provide an insight to the level of understanding the candidate has of the role and the company. The other benefit is that the candidate will appreciate that the first 3 months are not going to be a “honeymoon period” and that if hired, the candidate has to deliver the committed plan.
  • For sales or marketing or management roles, submitting a business plan and then walking through it is a good evaluation technique to test the candidate’s business acumen. The importance of making the candidate present it is to avoid cases of plagiarism off the Internet. It will show during the presentation if it was really thought through and prepared by the candidate.
  • Internal and external communications happen to a large extent through emails. Hence, professional writing skills need to be top-notch in terms of effectiveness, conciseness and language. Real life scenario emails, say, from clients or partners or bosses can be given to the candidates and it can be observed “live” how they respond to these emails. This can be done either through skype or in a room using a laptop.
  • For sales or marketing or leadership roles, a round of golf can help test the candidate’s strategic sense, competitiveness as well as ability to thrive under pressure.

These many rounds of interviewing definitely call for a huge time and effort investment. Special skills are required to conduct these interviews as well. Hence, outsourcing this crucial activity makes a lot of sense for organizations.


This article is written by Kannan Chettiar, Managing Director of Avvanz. Avvanz has 3 business pillars – Avvanz Hire (Recruitment Process Outsourcing and Comprehensive New Employee On-boarding), Avvanz Screen (including Psychometric Assessment and Background Screening) and Avvanz Develop. Kannan regularly trains organizations on how to structure interviews, right and complementing competency-based interview questions to ask in the various rounds, what interview skills are needed by interviewers, how to anticipate and counter the programmatic answers, how not to ask typical interview questions, how to handle phone or virtual interviews and eventually how to safeguard the company reputation. For more information on course outlines, drop us a note at

Kannan Chettiar was featured by Sunday Times Singapore in an article titled “Stiffer hiring checks to ensure right fit”. This article covered some of his unique interviewing methodologies. Click on Article

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