5 min read
June 20, 2016
Last updated: March 30, 2020
Can you be absolutely sure that you hire the best people for your team? Are there brilliant candidates who would boost your performance, show outstanding results and become indispensable members of your team, but who are somehow missed or disapproved during the recruiting period? As hiring decisions have to be made, these doubts are inevitable.
Unfortunately most job interviews are believed to be useless due to the confirmation bias. Scott Plous in his book “The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making” defines confirmation bias as “the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities”. It means that the interviewer spends all the time trying to confirm their existing opinions about the candidate. As a result the company can miss out great applicants due to various subjective factors, such as personal animosity, stereotypes, and gossips.
The tactics to fight the confirmation bias vary, but according to the study based on 85 years of research in personnel selection the best way to predict future performance of your candidate is a combination of the following steps:
- Work sample test - shows how capable the candidate is to perform possible daily tasks
General cognitive ability test - measures general intelligence
Structured interviews – consequent set of questions which each candidate has to answer.
As the job interview is too broad and complicated to cover in one blog post, we will discuss only the “structured interview” part. Many managers oppose structured interviews as it puts limitations on the way they run interviews and the questions they ask. They rely on a gut feeling when interviewing candidates and believe that only spontaneous questions could catch candidates flat-footed and show who they really are. But ask yourself whether your candidates are in the same boat and have equal possibilities to show their skills and strengths. Unfortunately spontaneous questions discriminate one candidate against another and just support your confirmation bias. Structured interviews, on the other hand, assess candidates impartially. The questions are pre-determined, and there is a little chance for biased evaluation.
The interview questions can be divided into two main categories: situational and behavioural questions. Situational questions ask about hypothetical situations (Imagine you can…. What would you do if..). Behavioural questions show previous experience and behaviour of the candidate (What was the best decision…, tell me about the time when…). In order to choose right questions for your structured interview you should create a list of core competencies and desired personality traits of a person for this position. Based on this list it will be easier to make questions that will help you understand whether a candidate is a perfect fit for the job.
Below you will find some of our favourite questions, they will show what your candidates value in work, how good they are at building relationship with colleagues, and how they are managing their time.
- What is something you'd be happy doing every single day for the rest of your career?
- How can you contribute to our company?
- Tell me about the time when you couldn’t build a relationship with a colleague. How did you handle it?
- Describe a time when you failed at work. How did you handle that failure?
- If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently?
- What are 3 pros and cons of your previous job?
- What techniques do you use to manage your time?
The list is by no means comprehensive. We hope these questions will inspire you to implement structured interviews and hire the best people for your team!