Employment Interviews: Most widely used and influential assessment tool in the staffing process

Employment interviews are a significant source of information on which to base fair and accurate hiring decisions. It is critical that companies use the structured interview effectively to ensure hiring decisions are based on merit as well as best fit for the organization.

Unstructured employment interviews provide non-diagnostic information, which weakens the predictive value of quality information. They are more likely to be less accurate and reliable, are more subject to bias and may expose employers to complaints and legal challenges.

The ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of the information gathered while strengthening the fairness and defensibility of this part of the assessment/staffing process.
When developing interview questions consider three rules of thumb:

  • Ask only for the information that will serve as a basis for the hiring decision
  • Know how the information will be used to make the decision
  • Do not ask for information that will not or should not be used to make staffing decisions
  • Structured interviews contain:

  • Job related questions focused on the job and relevant qualifications
  • Pre-developed behavior questions based on the premise and assumption that the best predictor of future performance is performance in similar situations
  • Most are familiar with the job related questions such as confirmation of educational level, training/experience with particular equipment/computer program, further explanation of experience with major job tasks or responsibilities, etc.

    The behavior questions section or BDI (Behavior Descriptive Interview) portion are more situational and are most commonly used for problem solving skills, team relationship skills, communication skills, etc. Applicants are asked to describe a previous life event and the outcome. It is usually a time when they had to demonstrate a particular qualification that is crucial for the job. An example is “Tell me about a time when you proposed an innovative solution to a difficult problem. What was the situation? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

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