Iris Bohnet wrote in Harvard Business Review last month about the hiring process. She asked the question: Why do employers continue to use unstructured interviews as their primary method of evaluating candidates when this technique has many known flaws? She points to many studies showing that unstructured interviews are not effective predictors of on-the-job effectiveness. Biases plague the unstructured interview methodology. Bohnet writes:
Why do we stick with a method that so clearly does not work, when decision aids, including tests, structured interviews, and a combination of mechanical predictors, substantially reduce error in predicting employee performance? The organizational psychologist Scott Highhouse called this resistance “the greatest failure of I-O [industrial and organizational] psychology.”
The unwillingness to give up a much-loved evaluation approach seems to be driven by two factors: Managers are overconfident about their own expertise and experience, and they dislike deferring to more structured approaches that might outsource human judgment to a machine.
Bohnet argues for much more emphasis on procedures such as work-sample tests, structured interviews, and comparative evaluation. These procedures help overcome many of the biases inherent in the unstructured interview process.