​If you were shrunk to the size of a nickel and dropped in a blender.
​How would you get out?

You would be hard pressed to find an organization that didn’t utilize an interview somewhere in the selection process. But, recruiters’ intentions for the interview process – and the outcomes they seek – appear to be different from those that actually conduct research on the employment interview. The goal of an interview for recruiters and hiring managers is typically to “get-a-feel-for” each candidate. This is a logical goal because who wouldn’t want to get to know someone they’re about to hire and/or work closely with? Another, now infamous, organizational intention of interviews was to both shock potential talent while also gaining an understanding of how the candidate approaches problem solving (see the example question at the beginning of this post that Google once touted). Those who conduct and develop interviews, however, urge interview users to think of it simply as another assessment – and treat it as such. Therefore, the aim of any interview should be to gather data. And those data should be used systematically to make hiring decisions. How you gather that data and the way in which you use it across candidates can impact the effectiveness of the decision and even safeguard your organization from potential legal trouble.

While the ultimate goal of an interview should be to gather data, there are various types of data that an organization can obtain during an interview. Probably the most effective use of interviews is to assess for candidate-fit; In other words, how well a candidate will fit in a particular role or within an organization. Using a behavioral approach to the actual interview questions makes this quite easy and flexible.

As an example, if you’re looking to better understand how candidates will fit within your organization, you can select questions that align with your competency model (among other organizational frameworks, like values). Questions that inquire about how candidates behaved in past situations provide insight into how they prefer or tend to behave. If you have questions appropriately linked to your competency model, the performance on each question – or a recruiter’s rating – can serve as an indicator of how well they align with each competency. And to enhance the strategic data collection even more, interviews can utilize what are called behavioral anchors on the rating scales themselves. Rating scales are typically numeric (1 to 5) or descriptive (below expectations, meets expectations, exceeds expectations) ranges that are used to quantify the performance of a candidate’s response. In addition to these ranges, you can add behavioral descriptors to each of the rating scale points. This behavioral information describes what a response might include or look like for each scale point so as to provide a more systematic rating across candidates. This not only ensures consistency across recruiters and candidates, but can also be tied back to your competency model or value framework for a more strategic interview initiative.

Finally, you can use data gathered from the interview alongside data collected from other assessments to gain a more holistic picture of the candidate and how well they may fit with your organization. For example, utilizing results gathered from a personality assessment and a behavioral interview may suggest clear patterns for some competency areas and more inconsistency in others. Knowledge of both the patterns and inconsistencies can arm recruiters and hiring managers with aspects to focus on during other parts of the selection process.

All in all, interviews are only as effective as the data they produce and the way in which that data is used. Partnering with experts in Industrial-Organizational (IO) Psychology can ensure your organization is utilizing your interviews most effectively and efficiently. Ask about how the IO team at SkillCheck can help your organization ensure a strategic process that truly benefits your organization.