The penny dropped with employers a long time ago that old ways of recruiting staff were no longer working.

Inviting applicants to send in their CVs, whittling them down to the best handful and then spending an hour with the shortlisted few, asking them why you should employ them, no longer cuts the mustard for many modern businesses.

For a whole host of reasons – more top graduates than ever before, more savvy interviewees, more complex jobs, the need for more rounded, public-facing employees – traditional recruitment methods don’t always produce the best people for the job.

You’ll know from experience there’s no end of agencies and consultants willing to help you with your search for candidates, offering myriad tips and strategies that, at some point, will introduce you to the concept of psychometrics.

It’s no longer good enough to take what interviewees tell you at face value – according to modern behavioural paradigms, you need to get inside their head and deconstruct what they’re thinking.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard stories of interviewees being asked weird and wonderful, open-ended questions that often have nothing to do with the job in question, such as what does your favourite colour smell like; what type of tree would you like to be; what do you think it would be like to live in a house made of glass; or, if you could be part of a Big Mac sandwich, what part would you be and why?

Of course, these are extreme examples and I’d challenge any boss to explain how knowing that a candidate would like to be a gherkin slice smeared in ketchup makes them suitable to work as a human resources clerk.

Traditional techniques are good at discovering facts about potential recruits, particularly at identifying those with the right qualifications but they can also be unconsciously biased, take a lot of time and rely on the right questions being asked.

When it comes to assessing soft-skills and weaknesses, there are some helpful methods you can use, without resorting to asking candidates to impersonate their favourite piece of fruit.

Here are five:

  1. High-tech tools like Koru and Pymetrics draw on neuroscience to assess candidates’ soft skills such as determination, teamwork, and flexibility – all helpful in predicting performance. 20-minute surveys and revealing mini-games can provide valuable insights into  candidates.
  2. Job auditions can help you to watch candidates in action as well as giving them get a better sense of the role. Interviews might allow you to see how candidates present themselves, think on their feet, and answer questions but there’s nothing like throwing them into the deep end to see how they perform. Some companies bring in candidates for trial days or even several weeks to see how they respond to real life, in-work challenges.
  3. Meeting in casual settings can allow you to see a more authentic side of candidates in a low-pressure environment. Low-key, casual interviews may not be a high-tech innovation or a particularly new practice, but it is a rapidly rising trend. Some employers, for example, likes to have dinner with candidates to see how they act in the real world and may even arrange for a waiter to purposely mess things up to see how they respond.
  4. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) assessments can be a fun way of revealing skills and showcasing the culture of your company. Both are becoming more widely used in recruiting particularly in appeal to younger talent—check out how eight companies use VR/AR tech in recruiting here.
  5. Video allows you to consider more remote candidates efficiently and recruiters are finding new ways of integrating it into the hiring process. It allows you to screen remote candidates with more warmth and familiarity than a phone call and newer tech has raised the bar with  “on-demand” or “one-way” video interviews allowing candidates to record themselves and answer some basic questions for 15 minutes or so. Busy, passive candidates can make time to record when it’s convenient for them; nervous candidates can be more at ease; and recruiters can efficiently see dozens of candidates in the space of a few hours.