For decades now, the hiring process has been the same: candidates apply, employers interview them, and the best one gets the job.
But in recent years it’s become apparent that interviews are starting to lose their effectiveness. Someone who interviews well isn’t necessarily going to be a great employee.
One in two hires fail
A lot of research points to problems with the interview. According to Leadership IQ, 50% of new hires fail within the first 18 months. HireVue found that some managers’ hiring choices only work out 20% of the time.
Google has gone as far to suggest that interviews are often no better than a coin flip, saying there’s no correlation between how well someone scored on an interview and their eventual job performance.
Gaming the system
So what specifically is wrong with interviews today? According to HR expert and professor John Sullivan, it’s our modernized job search process.
With all the online resources available to candidates, they can prepare for interviews in a way applicants couldn’t in the past. Websites like Glassdoor allow job seekers to see what their likely interview questions will be.
Here are the top reasons Sullivan says companies should rely less on interviews:
- Candidates have canned answers at the ready. Since they’re able to study up on the interview questions ahead of time, it’s very likely candidates are giving you rehearsed answers. It’s like a student knowing the questions on an upcoming test in advance — the exam then loses its effectiveness.
- Lying is easier to get away with. Many candidates have realized that little lies or exaggerations on their resumes will typically go unnoticed. Reference checks usually only involve confirming dates of employment and job title, leaving candidates some room to exaggerate what their responsibilities really were.
- Employers disguise realities of the job. In a world focused on the candidate experience, many employers might try to spin what the job actually is in order to attract candidates. But by only highlighting the good aspects, employers practically guarantee the new hire will ultimately leave because the job isn’t what they thought it’d be.
- Too much focus on cultural fit. Employers want a candidate who will fit in nicely with the rest of the team. But too much focus on this arbitrary factor reduces the value of the interview. Not to mention, managers could be passing over great candidates just because they do things differently.
Try these instead
The interview probably isn’t going away anytime soon, so here are tactics you can use in the meantime to make more successful hires.
- Test cognitive abilities. Intelligence tests might seem unnecessary, but studies have shown mental ability is a great predictor of job success.
- Evaluate skills. Along with an intelligence test, a skills test can help demonstrate if the candidate has the talent the job requires. This will help weed out a candidate who’s a great talker but doesn’t have the job skills to back up their claims.
- See what your best employees are doing. To figure out what you’re looking for in a new hire, check out what your best people are currently doing. How did these employees perform on cognitive and skills tests? Their results can help you create a threshold for where candidates’ results should be.
- Start hires out as temps if you can. Obviously, a great way to make a new hire is to test the person out in the role first. If you can, start a hire out as a temp and transition to permanent if they perform well.