Hiring the right people is crucial management job, and the company’s recruiter or his team can’t do that job well if they don’t know how to interview. Several things can determine an interview’s usefulness.
First impressions: One of the most consistent findings is that interviewers tend to jump to conclusions make snap judgments about candidates during the first few minutes of the interview or even before the interview starts, based on test scores or resume data. One researcher estimates that in 85% of the cases, interviewers had made up their minds before the interviews began, based on first impressions gleaned from candidates’ application forms and personal appearance. In one study giving interviewers candidates’ test scores biased their ultimate assessment of the candidates. For example, interview result related to hiring decisions only when the candidates had low passing scores on a previous selection test. For candidates with high test scores, the interview results were not related to the interviewers’ decisions assumedly because they’d already made their minds up.
First impressions are thus especially damaging when the information about the candidate is negative. In another study, interviewers who previously received unfavorable reference letters about applicants gave those applicants less credit for past successes and held them more personally responsible for past failures after the interview. And their final decisions to accept or reject applicants were always tied to what they expected of the applicants based on the references, quite aside from the applicants’ actual interview performance.
Misunderstanding the Job: It’s also important what interviewers’ are looking for in an ideal candidate. Interviewers who don’t know precisely what the job entails and what sort of candidate is best suited for it usually make their decisions based on incorrect stereotypes of what a good applicant is. They then erroneously match interviewees with their incorrect stereotypes.
A classic study involved 30 professional interviewers. Half got just a brief description of the jobs for which they were recruiting: They were told the eight applicants here represented by their application blanks are applying for the position of secretary. The other 15 interviewers got much more explicit job information, in terms of typing speed and bilingual ability, for instance.
More job knowledge translated into better interviews. The 15 interviewers who had more job information generally agreed among themselves about each candidate’s potential while those without complete job information did not. The latter also did not discriminate as well among applicants they tended to give them all high ratings.
Candidate Order (Contrast) Error and Pressure to Hire: Candidate-order (or contrast) error means that the order in which applicants are seen by interviewers affects how they rate them. In one study, managers had to evaluate a candidate who was “just average” after first evaluating several “unfavorable” candidates They scored the average candidates more than they might otherwise have done since, in contrast to the unfavorable candidates, the average one looked better than he actually was. This contrast effect can be huge: In some early studies, evaluators based only a small part of the applicant’s rating on his or her actual potential.
Pressure to hire accentuates problems like this. Researchers told one group of managers to assume they were behind in their recruiting quota. They told a second group they were ahead of their quota. Those “behind” evaluated the same recruits much more highly than did those ‘ahead.”
Interviewers may interview the candidates either jointly or separately. A panel interview is preferable to individual interview. The number of interviewers is to be decided on the basis of number and nature of areas to be covered by the interview, number of candidates to be interviewed and the time available for interviewing
Review of the information must be collected in advance through other selection methods, finding out the validity of those methods, the score obtained etc. The information available in the application blank should be thoroughly checked regarding:
- Accuracy and validity;
- Acquainting about the applicant;
- To find out stability, review the number of positions and length of time held in each of the past jobs;
- Compare the nature of positions in the previous employment with that of proposed employment;
- Check the employee growth with the organizational progression in the past eloyment
This helps in avoiding further evaluation of those areas appraised effectively by other means through interviews.