Is it Time to Ditch the Interview?

Thomas Edison invented the ‘modern’ interview in 1921. So why are we still running them today when we have so many other tools to use? Surely we’ve all had that ‘light bulb moment’ when we realise there’s a more effective way?

Pun totally intended by the way.

So, what have we got against interviews? In all honesty, to begin with, they’re boring as hell and dull with a capital D. You think having someone sat across a desk with a back so straight they may as well have plank of MDF down their shirt, being paraded into the interview room for the whole business to see is a nice, natural experience that will give them a good insight into the business? Really? Everyone looks like a rabbit in the headlights during an interview whether they’re on their first interview into the world of work or they’re an exec going for ‘the’ job of a lifetime. And as for the interviewer, chances are they don’t know what on earth they’re doing. Alice the Finance Manager is brilliant at being a Finance Manager, not so sharp with the interview tekkers so WHY ask her to interview? She’s equally as nervous but got to hold it together because, well of course she does, she’s the face of the company who knows what she’s doing…

Second of all, it’s unrealistic to expect that from sitting across a desk with someone for an hour asking them questions will give you the right information you need to make a good decision.

The thought of doing something totally different when ‘this is what we’ve always done’ is scary. But isn’t that good? Nothing grows without change, nothing new is gained without wandering into lands unknown to do a bit of exploring. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that change can be thrust upon us unexpectedly and to evolve, we must embrace new things.

Recruitment is changing and I would actually like to thank 2020 and our pal COVID-19 for supercharging the changes that are taking place in this industry. We have so many different choices of AI driven software and hiring tools that we’re now able to add layers and layers of intelligent, data driven assessments into the hiring process. This doesn’t mean someone just sat down being monitored and studied by scientists in white lab coats, the software and tools available make the assessment process interactive, fun, enjoyable, and pull on different aspects of our strengths to give a rounded view of whether someone is right for a role.

Psychometrics have seen an increase in 2020 too, probably unsurprisingly. We use McQuaig and are looking into developing our all round assessment platform for 2021 and really go to town on what we offer. With virtual recruitment here to stay, we're able to gain such a deep understanding of someone that is based on data, to ensure we're not wasting time, money or resource, hiring the wrong people.

Human touch

I get it. The world is so tech and data driven already. We can go into a shop and not have to interact with a human to get what we need and if 2020 has taught us another thing, it's that human interaction is important. So blend data and human contact together to create a science backed, holistic hiring approach, just like we do at Form.

To keep that human aspect, perhaps instead of a super formal, traditional interview, why not run peer interviews with the people your candidates are actually going to be working with? By letting team members interact with the candidates, you can gain extra insights that the hiring manager might have not been able to yield. Peer interviews help candidates feel more at ease too, chances are, they’ll open up more than they would if they were interviewed by a potential boss!


Beat that bias

Another reason structure and training is so important is because interviews are prone to bias. Research by Anderson and Shackleton revealed the common weaknesses of interviews are:

Self-fulfilling prophecy effect: Interviews ask questions designed to confirm initial impressions in the early stages.

Stereotyping effect: Assuming characteristics are typical of members of a particular group (sex, race, marital status). This often leads to illegal hiring decisions.

Halo & Horns effect: Once interviewers rates candidates ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it’s replicated and leads to unbalanced decisions.

Contrast effect: Allowing the experience of interviewing one candidate, to affect the way they interview others later on.

Similar-to-me effect: Self-explanatory. Who can say they have not experienced this? Hiring managers hire people because they see a likeness to themselves in the candidates. You’re never going to achieve diversity if you continue to hire the same kind of people.

Personality liking effect: Don’t get us started on this one! You like them as a person so therefore they’re a good match? Nope.

So there we have it

The important thing to remember with traditional interviews is to ensure whoever is conducting them, is properly trained and follows a structure. By all means incorporate them into your assessment process but perhaps consider changing them up a bit, expanding your current processes and adding some layers in to enhance your chances of making the right decision. How can you grow and compete for top talent if you’re still using an interview method that was created a century ago?

Thanks for the lightbulb Tom, but leave it to us to sort out the interviews.

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