Why Interviews Do Not Work – And What To Do Instead

interviews-do-not-workHiring mistakes cost companies tens of thousands of dollars. The traditional interview alone, doesn’t work as an effective method of reducing the risk of hiring failures. The following article outlines 5 points why traditional interviews do not work and what you can do instead.


1. Poor Interview Information.

Typical traditional interviews are poorly structured. The impact is inconsistent data across candidates interviewed that makes it difficult to effectively, and fairly, assess. e.g, you know that one candidate saved their company $10,000, and another had the highest customer service rating. Both applaudable achievements, but how do you assess them against each other?


2. Don’t Focus On ALL Of The Critical Requirements.

Traditional interviews suffer from what I call the ‘80/20’ problem. The focus is 80% on the skills, knowledge and experience, leaving the remainder on culture and team fit.

The impact is that you get the right skills and experience, but the wrong person. Turnover research by Insync surveys indicate that the highest reason for involuntary separation (outside of redundancy) are for behavioural, temperament, and culture fit issues. Not poor skills or knowledge of the job role incumbent.


3. Not Spending Enough Time Interviewing.

I had a client who believed that 20 minutes was an adequate period of time to interview. Even my 8 year old niece can be on her best behaviour for that period of time. The result was that this organisation had huge turnover and massive performance problems that cost them collectively almost a hundred thousand dollars. Spending extra time on the hiring managers hourly rate is far more cost effective.


4. Poor Predictor Of Long Term Behaviour.

A long term study produced during the 1980’s by Hunter & Hunter, Schmitt, Thacker & Cantaneo resulted in what they called a Predictive Hiring Scale. The scale determined the ‘predictability of success’ across a range of assessment methods from graphology (hand writing analysis to assessment centres) It found, out of a scale of 100, that the typical interview scored an effectiveness level of 15% compared to personality and ability tests at

91% combined.


5. Untrained Hiring Managers

A multitude of studies indicate that over 63% of managers conducting interviews have not had formal interview training. They therefore have a high likelihood of using copy-cat methods and techniques of other untrained interviewers. This results in poor structure, documentation and insufficient data. In addition, inadequate or bias selection methodology and,  the wrong person for the job.


These all increase the risk of a poor or failed hire.


Interviews should not be dismissed altogether in the recruitment process. They certainly provide a critical purpose as an assessment vehicle in the recruitment process.


What You Should Do Instead…


Increase your combination of assessment methods and approaches that raise your predictability scale to 100 or above. Such as:

  • Have clear and strong assessment criteria.
  • Flip the ‘80/20’ to 80% focus on their personality, temperament and culture fit.
  • Spend as much time as possible, and have more than one interview per candidate.
  • Use personality, psychometric and ability tests to raise your predictability rate and decrease your failure risk.
  • Invest in training hiring managers in advanced interviewing techniques and approaches it will save ten fold down the line.


Anne-Marie Orrock

Anne-Marie Orrock is Director of Corporate Canary HR Consulting and helps companies with developing the sophistication of their Human Resources & recruitment strategy around new technologies, social media and talent branding.

Anne-Marie is a sought after media commentator on HR, leadership, and business and has appeared in various publications including Sydney Morning Herald, Boss Magazine, NETT Magazine, Marie Claire, CLEO, My Business, Dynamic Business, Cosmopolitan & HR Monthly. In June 2012 Anne-Marie Co-authored ‘Mind Your Own Business’, a guide for small businesses, published by Mithra Publishing in the UK.

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