Why Job Interviews Don’t Work

So, why don’t interviews work?

Interviewers Are Biased (And Don’t Know It)

As interviewers, we see what we want to see (called confirmation bias). In the first 60 seconds of an interview, we perceive someone to be a good or a bad candidate, and we look for all the things that confirm that impression and discount all the things that don’t.

Interviews Don't Work

We try to hire ourselves (called implicit egotism). We favor applicants with similar backgrounds, interests, ages, genders, and even birthdays, which are completely unrelated to job performance.

We focus on irrelevant information (called availability heuristic). This includes: favoring candidates who are more attractive, who mimic our body language, and who come across as really likable. It is hard to overlook irrelevant factors, and unfortunately this causes us to miss their relevant skills and qualifications.

For example, interviewers may believe that previous experience is necessary for a job, which causes them to put too much weight on this single metric.

Applicant Are Biased Too

Applicants put their best food forward during the interview (called impression management). They portray themselves in only the most positive light, highlighting only their strengths.

Why Interviews Don't Work 2For example, a basketball player might tell you in the interview that his jump shooting is amazing, he is an excellent rebounder, he can run a fast break better than anyone, he has great ball-handling skills, and he is a terrific shot blocker. But in reality, that’s certainly not true.

Applicants tell you what you want to hear in the interview (called social desirability). In this approach applicants tailor their interests to match the specific job and the specific company.

Why Interviews Don't Work This time in the basketball example, a player might say “I know that you really need a rebounder. Let me know tell you about my commitment to rebounding” when in fact, they don’t really like to rebound at all.

So, applicants tailor who they are based upon what they think you want to hear.

And perhaps most interesting of all, applicants have an inaccurate self-awareness (called self-deception). In an interview you are relying on applicants to tell you about their strengths, weaknesses, and skills. But, applicants might really mess that up because in reality they don’t really know themselves. In one of the most robust findings in 50 years of psychological research, 90% of people think they have above-average intelligence. In fact, Professor David Dunning at Cornell found that the more incompetent you are at something the more inaccurate you are in estimating your level of skill. So, this is really dangerous, because the applicants who are really terrible at something, are also the most likely to overestimate their skill.

The Solution: Pre-Employment Testing

Using the Optimize Hire pre-employment testing system, interviewers can eliminate the problems associated with reading resumes and conducting interviews and improve their predictive success. Pre-employment testing removes interview biases, and research supports the validity of the Optimize Hire pre-employment testing system to predict applicants’ future job performance.

Assess Applicants Now

  1. Click here to assess your applicants now
  2. Assess an unlimited number of job applicants
  3. See all of the test results

Comments are closed.