Why job interviews should take place in pubs

Candidates want to impress potential employers. At our agency, when we interview, we want to impress candidates, all of them, including those who we think are not going to get the job. Our standards are high and getting in isn’t always easy, but we still work hard to sell the agency to the candidates and give them the best experience possible. We want people to see deeply into our organisation and leave with a positive feeling, about us and also about themselves. To achieve this we, perhaps counterintuitively, interview junior candidates in pubs. Yes, you heard that right, in pubs!

We don’t want people to be influenced by our office, its energy and the vibe. We arrange all junior executive interviews speed-dating style in a trendy pub to take away the effect that a place which is very familiar to us and very unfamiliar to them, might have. In a pub, we’re all guests. We set up different stations (tables), each designed to address specific areas, and candidates spend ten minutes at each station.

The stations are:

  • Background on the company, our story and the mission.
  • More about the role specifically.
  • MS Excel task where we look for problem-solving skills.
  • A written task to ensure their commercial written communication skills

It takes about 40 minutes for a candidate to complete the process. Each station offers the candidate the opportunity to learn more about the company and the role and, through their answers, the station’ hosts learn more about how the candidate might fit into our organisation and the role. They score each candidate on a scale of 1 to 5 on a clear list of attributes:

  • Communication: Did they maintain eye contact? Did they express their ideas? Did they listen actively?
  • Motivation: Did they display energy and enthusiasm? How much effort have they put into the interview process? Are they engaged with the world around them?
  • Problem solving: Did they analyse the problem? Did they identify cause and effect? Did they try and find a solution?
  • Planning: Did they arrive on time? Have they achieved personal goals and objectives?
  • Teamwork: Did they interact well with the group? Do they partake in any group activities such as charities or sports?
  • Adaptability: Do they adapt well to change and a diverse group of people?
  • Company fit: This is in terms of cultural / team fit and relates to how you feel they will present themselves within the team/business, do you feel they'll integrate well?

We decide who we want to hire at the end of the day and call the selected people immediately to give them the good news; their reactions, always ecstatic, give our team the best feeling. When they accept, it gives us the same ecstatic feeling and being in a pub offers easy access to a celebratory beer. Cheers!

Written by Luca Senatore, author of The Agency and director at digital agency Genie Goals