HR Guide to the Internet:
Personnel Selection: Methods: Interviews


Interviews: A selection procedure designed to predict future job performance on the basis of applicants' oral responses to oral inquiries.

Advantages
  • useful for determining if the applicant has requisite communicative or social skills which may be necessary for the job
  • interviewer can obtain supplementary information
  • used to appraise candidates' verbal fluency
  • can assess the applicant's job knowledge
  • can be used for selection among equally qualified applicants
  • enables the supervisor and/or co-workers to determine if there is compatability between the applicant and the employees
  • allows the applicant to ask questions that may reveal additional information useful for making a selection decision
  • the interview may be modified as needed to gather important information
Disadvantages
  • subjective evaluations are made
  • decisions tend to be made within the first few minutes of the interview with the remainder of the interview used to validate or justify the original decision
  • interviewers form stereotypes concerning the characteristics required for success on the job
  • research has shown disproportionate rates of selection between minority and non-minority members using interviews
  • negative information seems to be given more weight
  • not much evidence of validity of the selection procedure
  • not as reliable as tests

Tips

Minimize stereotypes. To minimize the influence of racial and sex stereotypes in the interview process, provide interviewers with a job description and specification of the requirements for the position. Interviewers with little information about the job may be more likely to make stereotypical judgements about the suitability of candidates than are interviewers with detailed information about the job.

Job Related. Try to make the interview questions job related. If the questions are not related to the job, then the validity of the interview procedure may be lower.

Train Interviewers. Improve the interpersonal skills of the interviewer and the interviewer's ability to make decisions without influence from non-job related information. Interviewers should be trained to:

  • avoid asking questions unrelated to the job
  • avoid making quick decisions about an applicant
  • avoid stereotying applicants
  • avoid giving too much weight to a few characteristics.
  • try to put the applicant at ease during the interview
  • communicate clearly with the applicant
  • maintain consistency in the questions asked


Summary of Interviews

In general, interviews have the following weaknesses:

  1. validity of the interview is relatively low
  2. reliability of the interview is also low
  3. stereotyping by interviewers, in general, may lead to adverse impact against minorities
  4. the subjective nature of this procedure may allow bias such as favoritism and politics to enter into the selection process
  5. this procedure is not standardized.
  6. not useful when large numbers of applicants must be evaluated and/or selected

Types of Interviews

  1. Unstructured Interview Involves a procedure where different questions may be asked of different applicants.
  2. Situational Interview Candidates are interviewed about what actions they would take in various job-related situations. The job-related situations are usually identified using the critical incidents job analysis technique. The interviews are then scored using a scoring guide constructed by job experts.
  3. Behavior Description Interviews Candidates are asked what actions they have taken in prior job situations that are similar to situations they may encounter on the job. The interviews are then scored using a scoring guide constructed by job experts.
  4. Comprehensive Structured Interviews Candidates are asked questions pertaining to how they would handle job-related situations, job knowledge, worker requirements, and how the candidate would perform various job simulations. Interviews tapping job knowledge offer a way to assess a candidate's current level of knowledge related to relevant implicit dimensions of job performance (i.e., "tacit knowledge" or "practical intelligence" related to a specific job position)
  5. Structured Behavioral Interview This technique involves asking all interviewees standardized questions about how they handled past situations that were similar to situations they may encounter on the job. The interviewer may also ask discretionary probing questions for details of the situations, the interviewee's behavior in the situation and the outcome. The interviewee's responses are then scored with behaviorally anchored rating scales.
  6. Oral Interview Boards This technique entails the job candidate giving oral responses tojob-related questions asked by a panel of interviewers. Each member of the panel then rates each interviewee on such dimensions as work history, motivation, creative thinking, and presentation. The scoring procedure for oral interview boards has typically been subjective; thus, it would be subject to personal biases of those individuals sitting on the board. This technique may not be feasible for jobs in which there are a large number of applicants that must be interviewed.
 

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