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Do Interviews confuse you?

In recent months, due to an unforeseen redundancy, I have been back in the process of searching for a job and what has struck me is the subjectivity, lack of structure and general confusion in some of the interviews I have had.



Of course, there are exceptions, normally by HR professionals in particular in the public sector, where they use a structured interview format in a panel interview which is very thorough.

My worst ‘interview’ was in an unnamed SME food company where the interviewer did not even have my CV! We chatted for 40 minutes, he told me about his projects but did not seem to know what the main challenges were for HR. I left after the ‘interview’ with no idea whether I had any chance of the job or not, or even what it was about.


I guess he must have been relying on ‘gut’ feel or some sort of Halo effect.

Which brings me to this quote from Malachi Thompson from the EU Business Journal.

‘The halo effect is particularly dangerous in selection processes where interviewers associate outward traits of candidates (e.g. looks or age) with positive qualities and skills. Yet, there is no evidential link supporting these traits' validity. Short, finite assessment periods mean that chances for the true, latent qualities of a candidate to shine through are limited; and that increases the risk of a bad selection decision.
While it may not be too late to reverse a bad hiring decision, economic and time losses can’t be recouped. Engaging a selection panel and/or instruments that require input from multiple parties creates a buffer to mitigate this bias.’

So how do we avoid the ‘halo’ effect and stereo-typing? As Malachi says we need a balanced programme that has input from a number of different parties. The assessment centre is the gold standard of course with 4-5 assessors, but in a busy SME with limited resources is it always realistic?

My answer would be to have 3 different ways of assessing.

1. A person or people interviewing (having been trained of course)

2. A different group considering a structured (job relevant) presentation or a work based exercise

3. Psychometric testing

With this method in place, selection should be more objective and balanced and you will find a candidate that fits the role and stays with the business.

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