Why 99 Percent of Interviews Suck

  • Why 99 Percent of Interviews Suck

    Why 99 Percent of Interviews Suck

    Interviews suck. You know it, we know it, everyone knows it.

    It’s nearly impossible for a candidate to demonstrate his/her proficiency in a role and make an impression on the interviewer all within a single conversation.

    But do these candidates ever stop to think that maybe it’s the interviewers who are wrong?

    Yes, we’re speaking to you interviewers today. There’s something terribly wrong with the way you’re assessing your prospects, and so many companies are pushing forward with these outdated tactics that they’re alienating the very candidates they’re trying to attract.

    There’s no time for conversation

    Forget everything you thought you knew about interviews.

    Forget asking candidates about their future goals.

    Forget trying to align their skills with your written job description.

    And most of all, forget the outdated belief that you even need to have a conversation with them!

    That’s right—the “conversational” interview is dead. For years, interviewers have grilled candidates on whatever topics came to mind in search of the perfect cultural fit. The problem is that conversations like these are a poor way to deliver objective interview data that interviewers can use to compare candidates. They’re left to rely on their gut instincts, or their years of experience, to form opinions about each hire.

    This is bad.

    Interviews shouldn’t be subjective; they should be structured, objective measures that directly address a candidate’s ability to do the job.

    Create focused exercises to test each candidate

    Instead of a trite and rushed conversation, you can get a much better handle on each prospective candidate’s fit by planning interview exercises that test his/her ability to perform in the desired roles:

    • Office managers could be assessed on planning, scheduling, and coordination.
    • Software developers can demonstrate their ability to write code.
    • Copy editors could be given a test article to review.
    • Marketers could be asked to lay out a campaign strategy step-by-step.

    And so on. Not only does this type of assessment provide concrete information on how candidates handle challenges, it creates consistent data you can use to objectively compare candidates against one another.

    Read between the lines during each exercise

    Watch candidates during each exercise and examine how they work through problems. You’ll find much more valuable data than you’d get from a basic conversation:

    • Are they quick to understand the problem?
    • Do they show a logical thought process when problem-solving?
    • Can they explain their reasoning for each of their decisions?
    • If questioned, do they defend their position or do they backtrack under fire?

    Interviewers like to think they can ascertain these answers during conversations, but without structured exercises, the data doesn’t mean much. Give every candidate the same exercises and the same questions. This guarantees the interview data will be more reliable across your entire hiring roster, and thus, more predictive of who may be the best fit.

    When it’s easier for them, it’s easier for you

    Few candidates enjoy being grilled about their long-term goals or abstract business philosophies, but fortunately, interviewers are slowly moving away from this approach in favor of assessing what actually matters: Their ability to do the work.

    And when candidates don’t feel pressured to provide the perfect answers to each of your questions, they’ll be able to relax a little more and demonstrate their abilities in a more natural way. This, in turn, will support your goal of finding the best candidate for the job—and creating a positive workplace culture in every phase of your hiring strategy.

    If you need help creating a personalized set of interview exercises for your industry, contact Urgenci. We’ll be there to help.

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