In a previous post, I discussed the importance of establishing a structured interview process to improve hiring accuracy. I’d like to round out that discussion with some additional points that reveal the actual value that a structured interview can contribute to your hiring process. To get started, here are some of the arguments for and against the value of interviews:
1. “I know how to conduct a good interview; I’m a good ‘reader of people’ and have a track record of hiring successful employees.”
2. “Interviews are terrible predictors of performance. We use an interview process here, and it definitely isn’t getting us the talent we need.”
3. “People often ask the wrong interview questions. Therefore, interviews aren’t useful, lead to legal problems, and are a waste of time and money."
Response to 1. In concept and in law, interviews are assessments. Consequently, interviews should be treated, at all steps in the process, in the same manner as all types of employment assessments. When administering a skills test, do we rely on the skill of the person operating the stopwatch to time a person’s speed? Do we let a single individual choose all of the test questions? A quality structured interview process does not depend on the innate skill of the interviewer; it does, however, depend on the qualifications of the person who chose the questions, the quality of the process used to train the interviewers (that’s where interviewers’ skill really matters), and the validity of the rating process. Treating an interview like an assessment is a great first step towards creating your interview’s value.
Response to 2. Do you know what part of your interview is terrible? Did you use a job analysis to determine what questions you should be asking? Did you record numerical ratings of the candidate’s interview responses and link those to objective or subjective performance ratings? Also, see Response 1. There are many things you need to understand about your interview process before you truly know if and how your interview improves hiring accuracy.
Response to 3. Not only are structured interviews more accurate than unstructured interviews, they can actually add additional value above and beyond skills and abilities tests. Additionally:
- A hiring process that includes an interview perceived to be valid can increase perceptions of fairness, and can therefore actually reduce the likelihood of a legal challenge.
- Above and beyond the ability of an interview to predict job performance, interviews can be used as a realistic job preview to help reduce attrition. Any well-rounded interview process should include time to give the applicant a clear preview of what the job entails—including the good and the bad, the criteria for success and causes of failure, career paths, pay, and benefits. This socialization process helps job candidates develop a clear picture of the job’s expectations, and to make their own decisions about their likelihood to be successful, to enjoy the work, and to stay with the organization.
The final step in developing and understanding your interview process is to validate your interview against key metrics. This empirical evidence is the surest way to see if your interview really has added value to your hiring process, and it is critical for monitoring and refining the process over time. If you have spent the time to properly develop and measure the interview—as should be done with any assessment—you are well on your way to ensuring that your interview improves hiring accuracy.
Topics: Assessments and Simulations