There’s no two-ways about it - a skilled interviewer is a crucial component to your talent acquisition strategy. What makes a skilled interviewer? Simply put, a skilled interviewer is one who understands the job, what to look for in the job candidate, knows how to use probing questions to go beyond the candidate’s first answer, and does not inject their own bias into scoring the interview results.. But, just as with anyone else, each interviewer has their own perspectives and interpretations. And while skilled interviewers may be able to minimize this, the fact is variance still exist within each interviewer, and can impact the quality of candidates you hire.
Defining a Variance
So, what exactly is variance in an interview?
To best explain this, think about going to the movies with a group of people. You all have different tastes in movies but agree to all go see the latest blockbuster together. You all sit down with your popcorn and sodas and watch the movie together. Two and a half hours later you’re walking out of the theater and discussing what you just saw.
‘I loved it!’ one of the people exclaims, ‘the trailers definitely lived up to the hype!’
‘Well I hated it,’ says another. ‘I knew it was going to be bad because it wasn’t like the normal movies I watch.’
‘I thought I would like it more, but I had different expectations going in than what it actually was,’ a third person mentions.
Even though all these people saw the same movie at the same time, they had entirely different experiences because they all interpreted things a certain way. During the interviewing process, variance can be introduced in the same way - different interviewers will look for different things, and create different interpretations on the same candidate.
This is problematic because it diminishes the value of the interview by having different expectations from different interviewers, thus creating situations where candidates aren’t being correctly evaluated to determine if they’re right for the position.
Solving the Variance Problem
While this is a problem that might vary from ‘almost completely nonexistent’ to ‘very apparent,’ addressing it is a universal solution.
- Start by creating your interview questions based on a job analysis. These questions should focus on measuring work ability, motivation, and skills. They should be job related and clearly connect to job performance.
- Next, create an answer template for each question. You will want to define a strong answer, neutral answer, and poor answer. Ideally, you’ll want to use an answer scale like 1 to 3, 1 to 5, or 1 to 7. Each answer scale should have criteria defined with it so an interview clearly understands the difference between a 4 result and 5 result. Next, you’ll want to evaluate how answers are being interpreted by interviewers. It’s important to understand what’s being interpreted which way, so that if a job candidate answers a question a certain way it’s not misinterpreted and therefore mis-categorized. By conducting a calibration session, you can train the interview team on the process, expectations, interpreting answers, and how to score answers. This will help you reduce variance and achieve a more accurate interview process.
- Creating guidelines based on those responses this format will be helpful to your team.
- You’ll want to use interview tools that help you identify discrepancy during the interview process. This will alert you to training and coaching opportunities.
- Finally, consider adding pre-hire assessment tools prior to the interview process. Objective assessments can help your team get a holistic view of the candidate’s qualifications and inform the interview process.
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Topics: Better Interviewing