These Are the Most Unconventional Recruitment Methods of the Year - Atomic Hire Blog
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These Are the Most Unconventional Recruitment Methods of the Year3 min read

March 26, 2019 3 min read


These Are the Most Unconventional Recruitment Methods of the Year3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

With more millennials freelancing than ever before and Generation Z just entering the workforce, recruiting the best candidates has become harder. Applicants are far less likely to respond to traditional job boards and interviews than they did ten years ago, so recruiters need to get creative to source the best talent and use some unconventional recruitment methods.

Recruiter man

The UK shoe repair business, Timpson, according to this BBC report recruit staff according to which Mr Men characters their personalities resemble. “We’re not bothered by qualifications or CVs. We look at the candidate and work out who they are. Are they Mr Grumpy, Mr Slow, Mr Happy?”

“If they tick all the right boxes then we put them in the shop for half the day. That’s it, I dreamt that up years ago,” says Mr Timpson.

Like Timson other companies have adopted radical new methods when it comes to assessing candidates. Here are a few unorthodox practices which have been in the spotlight recently.


Automattic is a Californian software company, and they have abandoned the 9-5 and measure their employees’ performance exclusively by output. Employees can choose their working hours, work in-house or remote, as long as they get results. They don’t care if you get up at midday or spend the afternoon on Instagram. It’s all about what you produce.

Tryouts allow applicants to keep their job (if they have one) and work for Automattic on a flexible basis while doing real tasks. The goal is not to have them do a set amount of work, but to assess whether they would be a good fit or not. Likewise, candidates can see whether they want to work for Automattic as well.

By using the tryout method, companies can skip the superficial interview process, and give candidates real job responsibilities. It’s expected this method will over time allow companies to hire better staff and retain them for longer.

Escape Rooms

The escape room is a real-life game where candidates (often five to ten people) work together to utilise clues to escape a place within a set time limit. It offers an informal way of showing up a candidate’s abilities and gives first-time applicants an opportunity to shine against those with more experience. Recruiters trying this method are willing to adapt to change and prepare for the workforce of the future.

Capture the Flag

Capture the Flags is a mental challenge where teams or individuals compete against one another in solving a problem. These challenges can range from fingerprinting a criminal to role-playing games, where candidates are asked to use their software skills to break into a security system. To be successful candidates need to work and collaborate. By doing so, recruiters can see whether they are leaders or followers, and stick to instructions.

Professional Speed Dating

Professional speed dating interviews are an excellent way of gauging an applicant’s social skills. By using this method, candidates are expected to talk to various employees for a set period about what they can bring to the company. Afterwards, key decision makers decide amongst themselves who to bring back for the next round, or even make a job offer if someone makes a great impression. Speed dating is a fast and efficient way to get an understanding of a candidate’s personality from multiple perspectives.

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