Why Job Interviews Aren’t An Effective Recruitment Method

by Anne-Marie Orrock

When I say they aren’t effective, I mean that they are not effective as a fail safe way to recruit the right person, or in giving a strong prediction of how a candidate will be effective in the job role long term, alone.

Here’s why.

Job interviews indicate how well a candidate will perform in a job interview, basically. That’s it. They are useful for obtaining further information on your candidate and should be treated as a part of the recruitment process. However I see many organisations treat it as THE recruitment process. Without any further assessment into their long term behaviours and temperament, you fall short of knowing, for sure, if they are the best candidate.

It is simply because the data and information obtained from an average interview does not provide a high level of accuracy in predicting how a candidate will perform in the job long term. Even structured interviews with behavioural interviewing techniques don’t give adequate information needed.

Often we can fall for the candidate who is best at marketing themselves, or the even the reverse. I admit, I am guilty in the past for overlooking candidates who were shockers when it came to performing in the interview, yet in hindsight (and after some very expensive hiring failures, costing tens of thousands) I got it wrong.

So what does work?

According to Professor Ivan Roberson & Mike Smith authors of The Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology 2010, through their studies found that unstructured interviews gave a less than 20% predictability in correlation to actual performance. Structured interviews, with behavioural questions, were better at 54%, but still falling short behind incorporating structured interviews in conjunction with Ability Testing and Behavioural Assessment. Adding behavior and temperament assessment profiling tools such as The McQuaig System™ with an effective combination of other ability tests, and structured behavioural reference checks can give over 100% accuracy in predicting performance.

I speak to many managers who baulk at the idea of adding greater sophistication to their recruitment strategy as though it is a personal affront to their interviewing skills. “I just know a good candidate when I see one…” or “We don’t need additional tools, we do behavioral interviewing and do all right”. (I call it Lazy Recruitment) Yet when the new employee isn’t working out it is always the employee’s fault. Rarely do these companies do a correlation such as Robertson & Smith in the outcome between hiring strategy versus performance.  They can’t actually quantify or qualify what ‘doing all right’ actually is. The reality usually is that there is plenty of seat warming going on with lower productivity than the potential on offer by getting candidates that are a better fit.

Just like the ‘one degree of difference’ (i.e, at 211℉ water is hot, but at 212℉ it boils and creates steam. A locomotive can be powered by steam..etc) The one extra degree of effort and productivity in business is the difference between a good company and a great, elite company.

What can you do to build sophistication into your recruitment approach?….Learn more.

Anne-Marie Orrock is a leading Human Resources expert helping companies raise the level of sophistication of their HR practice and strategy through her consulting organisation Corporate Canary HR.