Guest Post by Rohit Lalhire-right

Interviewing is the primary method for talent acquisition, and it is also the method most prone to being underutilized or misused, leading to sub-optimal hiring decisions. There are several reasons for this, and quite a few of them are related to the process of interviewing itself. Let’s take a look at some of these issues.


Interviewers Don’t Prepare


We’re all familiar with the sight of recruiters chasing employees to commit to a date & time for conducting an interview. This employee (the “interviewer”) is often a mid to senior level employee, who by nature of his or her position, is typically hard pressed for time.

You’ll usually find these individuals mostly consumed with their regular responsibilities with little time to do some preparation for the interview. Usually, interviewers will do a context-switch five minutes before the interview, and aren’t well-versed with the candidate’s background, education level, skill set, and experience. There is only just enough time to quickly scan through the candidate’s resume before the interview begins.


Had they spent some time beforehand, they might have come up with some specific questions to ask, pertinent to some characteristics specific to the candidate. Instead of this happening deliberately, it’s more often left to chance that the interviewer may discover relevant or significant information while talking to the candidate.


Interviewers Struggle with What to Ask


Interviewers usually have a set of their favorite questions and have a tendency to use these while interviewing. This leads to inconsistencies across different interviewers, as the number and type of questions may vary.


Then, given that the interviewer’s assessment of the candidate’s ability progresses from question to question, the topic being evaluated may change. It may be that the conversation moves to a topic the interviewer would have liked to evaluate the candidate on, but doesn’t have any available questions for.


Behavioral Skills Are Neglected


In most cases, the interviewer’s assessments cover only the functional skills of the position, and neglect the behavioral skills required. This is a cause for concern, since the candidate’s behavioral skills are essential in determining his or her fit within the company. For example, if two candidates are being assessed, and one of them is confident, articulate, and enthusiastic, while the other sounds moody, wouldn’t you want to know this right upfront, rather than at the end when you’re about to make a decision?


Interviewers are Distracted


Interviewers may think they’re not, but reality is that they have to juggle with many decisions while conducting the interview:

  • Determining what question to ask next as well as its difficulty.
  • Assessing & rating the candidate’s response to the current question.
  • Jotting down notes or observations
  • Taking note of any hesitation, confusion, a pause, or any other behavioral nuance in the candidate’s response.
  • Keeping track of the elapsed time, and what else needs to be covered in the interview.
  • Being aware enough during the interview to question the candidate on some other skills that have been discovered.

With all these competing strands of thought, its very likely that the assessment may gloss over some aspects of the candidate’s performance. The result is that their assessment & feedback isn’t as organized and coherent as it could be. Ideally, interviewers need something to help them keep track of all these aspects, and still be able to navigate through the interview comfortably, while asking probing questions that bring out the candidate’s true strengths (or weaknesses).


Evaluation is Inadequate


What is being rated? Is it the ability of the candidate to answer questions correctly? If that is the case, then interviewers repeatedly asking their favorite questions can misjudge candidates. A candidate may answer your question wrong, yet still be competent in the skill being assessed.

It turns out that evaluating candidates from a limited data set can be misleading. Fundamentally speaking, its not the answer to a particular question that is being rated. The real intent is to rate the candidate on particular skills required for the position. Therefore, asking questions from a larger dataset for those skills is more likely to produce a reliable and comparable result. It makes sense to compare candidates on skills, not on how they answered individual questions.


Evaluation is Inconsistent


Very often, there isn’t a standard way to rate the candidate’s responses. Every interviewer has their own assessment & grading scales. An answer that is acceptable for one interviewer, may only be partially correct for another interviewer. Most interviews take place without any method to track which questions was answered correctly or not. So how would you find out why a candidate performed well or poorly after the interview? You’d just have to depend upon the interviewer’s ratings.


Unless interviewers are recording the candidate’s responses, its going to be extremely difficult to assess why a candidate got a particular rating. And without even a written record of ratings on individual questions, its next to impossible to check how the candidate fared on individual questions, let alone what the responses were.


In Summary…


At the end of the day, interviews are conducted in order to find the best candidates from the available pool of talent. After all, a bad hire can cost a company several times the employee’s salary, and can lead to workplace tensions, decreased moral & productivity, and potentially dissatisfied customers.


Its logical to expect that companies would facilitate their interviewing personnel with all the tools to conduct interviews which result in reliable assessments and comparable results. But in reality, all the issues mentioned above hinder and undermine the interviewing process. The need is for a comprehensive tool that can take away the hassle, and provide its users with a toolset that allows conducting seamless, hassle-free, and reliable assessments.


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