Job interviews: 7 tips for better recruiting

Studies have looked at the ability of job interviews to predict performance. A major finding emerges: structured interviews are more predictive than unstructured interviews (Schmidt and Hunter, 1998). An unstructured interview is sort of like a conversation between two people with questions being asked at random. These questions vary depending on the candidate assessed, and the evaluation of answers is based on an overall assessment of the candidate. This type of interview does little to predict performance and is vulnerable to evaluator bias. This is why it is strongly recommended to structure the interview. But what do we mean by a structured interview?

Job interviews can be structured in two ways: by structuring the questions (tips 1 to 3) and by structuring the answers (tips 4 to 7).

Ensure that questions measure decisive aspects of the job

To accomplish this, a needs analysis is essential. You should structure the competencies assessed by the interview and check that each critical competency is measured by a question.

It is important to be able to compare candidates to each other

You need to structure questions asked of every candidate and ensure that critical competencies are the same for all candidates. It is impossible for any one person to achieve this level of uniformity, even less so a panel of evaluators. Candidates have to be exposed to a single structure without differences between evaluators influencing the process.

Ensure that job interviews are the same length for all candidates

Candidates need to have the same opportunity to showcase their competencies. With in-person interviews, sometimes evaluators are less skilled at time management. If they do not respect the time allowed for interviews, this hampers the uniformity of the process. Ensuring that all candidates have the same amount of time to answer questions is an undeniable advantage of online interviews. Candidates get the same opportunity to demonstrate their competencies, without differences between evaluators colouring the process.

It is important that each evaluator assess the answers for each candidate in the same way

One way to be sure of this is to develop a behavioural anchor grid. For example, to assess an answer to a question about persuasion, you need to determine which behaviours represent a low, medium and high level for this competency. This allows you to determine the strength of the parts of the candidate’s answer.

Memory is not infallible

During a typical one-hour interview, it is impossible to remember everything that was said. This is why it is essential to take notes. It is strongly recommended to note what was said verbatim and to wait to assess answers until after the interview to avoid bias and missing important information. One of the advantages of online interviews is that you can assess the candidate’s answers to one question at a time rather than assessing all competencies after a one-hour interview. This makes it possible to keep all the important information in mind and minimize oversights. Your assessment of each competency is therefore more accurate.

It is a good idea to have more than one evaluator, which will reduce bias.

If a number of evaluators take part in the interview, it is a good idea to let the candidate know what each person’s role is. For example, the two evaluators can take turns asking questions, they can each handle a particular section, or one evaluator can ask all the questions. It is also strongly recommended that the same evaluators see all candidates for a given position to ensure answers are assessed consistently. Online interviews offer an advantage, because they allow evaluators to look at candidates’ answers when it suits them, and they reduce confusion in each person’s roles.

If there are a number of evaluators, it is strongly recommended not to discuss competencies during the assessment to limit possible contamination. To do a fair assessment of the candidate, it is better to evaluate each competency and to discuss the results only once every evaluator has completed the analysis. Online interviews also allow evaluators to watch the interviews separately, when it is convenient for them, and to discuss only once everyone has had a chance to evaluate the candidate.

Structuring job interviews allows you to ensure that all candidates are evaluated in the same way, that they provide information to cover all important aspects of the job and that their answers are evaluated using a shared standard to avoid differences between evaluators. In other words, they provide recruiters with rich, useful information. From the candidate’s perspective, this type of process is fair and equitable.

More tips here : 4 Things to Evaluate to Get Ready to Hire

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About Isabelle Tremblay, Product Director & Organizational Psychology Consultant
As Product Manager at D-TECK, Ms. Tremblay is responsible for the strategic vision for products, research and development and managing the product portfolio. A founding member of D-Teck, her mission is to create talent assessment solutions that simplify, accelerate and improve decision making based on a scientific, rigorous approach. Her approach combines the power of algorithms with organizational psychology.