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Validity of Interviews
Interviewing candidates for jobs is the most common form of assessing competence, capability and personality. Virtually everyone interviews candidates before making a hiring decision, but are they as reliable and valid as we assume?
Reliability is a measure of consistency. An interview should measure what it claims to measure and, ideally, no matter how many times a candidates is interviewed by different recruiters the results would be similar. Validity means that the interview measures some form of job success such as competencies or performance.
In my experience we rarely test whether our interviews are reliable or valid, but make the assumption that they will predict success. Yet, we have no objective way of determining whether or not this is true. We also have no way to determine whether the interviewer was biased or used subjective facts such as age, race, or personal appearance as part of the weighting criteria.
The academic research on interviewing is consistent. The normal, unstructured interview, where recruiters ask whatever questions they feel are relevant and where the same questions may not be asked of every candidate, are not very reliable or valid. They score a validity around 0.20 in predicting success on the job which makes them just a tiny bit better than chance. A score of 1.0 would be a perfectly valid.
A structured interview, where questions are focused to one or two areas and are delivered consistently to every candidate by each recruiter, can reach validities as high as 0.50.
Other Ways to Determine Capability
The need to interview candidates may also be less valuable in an era where online testing is widely available and where the choice of tests is also wide
“When the test score was known, the interview contributed nothing to the predictive validity in a multiple-assessment procedure.” McDaniel et.al
By combining skills and aptitude testing along with tests for decisions making or other behavioral traits you can improve success in predicting good hires. By necessity these tools are based on evidence and are reliable predictors of success. When a structured interview is coupled with other measures such as ability, personality or skills tests, the results can reach a validity as high as 0.7. These tests are also faster to administer and frequently cheaper than the normal interview process. Well designed tests have less adverse impact and are far more defensible than interviewing, which even when it is well done, is a highly subjective process.
Explains the value of a structured interview versus the usual unstructured one.
When Organisations are recruiting to find a suitable individual for a position they currently hold, it can be difficult to monitor and ensur…
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Hand curated articles, videos, podcasts, and other media on the future of work, talent, recruitment, and learning. If you find this useful, please share on Twitter. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.