Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Rethinking the Job Interview

Professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic wrote a terrific Fast Company column recently titled, "What If We Killed The Job Interview?"  He summarizes the argument against relying so heavily on interviews to evaluate job candidates: 
The most comprehensive scientific study to date on the predictive power of different recruitment tools suggests that the typical job interview provides very little valuable information over and above psychometric tests, which tend to be both quicker and cheaper to administer.

For example, once you know a candidate’s score on a test of general learning ability, a typical job interview will only improve your ability to predict their performance in a given role by 4%, the analysis found. Interviews are more useful when they’re totally structured and standardized, to the point of resembling a multiple-choice questionnaire; this can increase their accuracy by up to 13%. Yet very few real-world interviews follow a rigorous format. Interviewers usually prefer to go with the flow, stubbornly relying on their own intuition.

Most of the attributes interviewers try to evaluate by gut feel–a candidate’s competencies, skills, personality, values, “culture fit,” and so on–are more rigorously inferred from other data like resumes, simulations, tests, and past performance ratings. Interviews certainly create opportunities for candidates to make claims about these qualities, but as I argue in my latest book, there’s little reason to believe them. Indeed, there’s not much overlap between the talents people saythey have and the ones they actually possess. (Plus, interviewers often use the idea of “good culture fit” to justify hiring people from their own in-groups.)

As Chamorro-Premuzic points out, though, many business professionals can't let go of the interview as a principal tool for evaluating job candidates.  Why?  People THINK that they are awesome talent evaluators, and that they can conduct an interview much more effectively than most others can.  Our supreme self-confidence clouds our judgment about the validity of interviewing.  If we kill the interview, though, how can we judge talent?  We have to find other ways for people to demonstrate what they have actually accomplished, rather than simply asking them to describe their skills and capabilities.  We have to see them in action, rather than letting them simply talk about themselves.  It's time to rethink the hiring process from start to finish.  

No comments: