The Employment Interview
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The Employment Interview. The Employment Interview. One of the most widely used hiring tools in the public and private sector Used for selection and recruiting Involve an interaction between the job applicant and one or more interviewers. The Employment Interview.

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The Employment Interview

  • One of the most widely used hiring tools in the public and private sector

  • Used for selection and recruiting

  • Involve an interaction between the job applicant and one or more interviewers


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The Employment Interview

  • Well-designed interviews are good measures of:

    • Job knowledge

    • Job relevant experience that demonstrates essential KSAs (e.g., problem solving, planning and organizing)

    • Applicant reactions to job relevant situations

    • Oral communication ability


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The Employment Interview

  • Interviews are poor measures of:

    • Actual task performance (e.g., cash register operation)

    • Quantitative abilities (e.g., mathematics, statistics)

    • Specific personality traits (e.g., extraversion, conscientiousness)

    • Written communication ability

    • Physical ability


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Types of Interviews

  • Unstructured

  • Structured

  • Puzzle


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Types of Interviews

  • Unstructured Interviews

    • Contents and sequence of topics are not planned

    • Topics covered depend on the interaction between the interviewer and candidate

    • Format is typically conversational

    • Lack standardization (e.g., time limit, question ordering, scoring)


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Example Unstructured Interview Questions

  • Why do you want this job?

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  • Do you like the Kings or the Lakers?


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Pitfalls of Unstructured Interviews

  • Unprepared interviewer

  • Application/Resume driven

  • Not gathering job-related information

  • Relying on intuition or gut feelings

  • Excessive talking by the interviewer


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Types of Interviews

  • Structured Interviews

    • Contents (behavioral or situational), sequence of topics, and scoring criteria are established in advance

    • Apply the same questions and scoring criteria to all applicants

    • Use multiple interviewers

    • Interviewer training to reduce outside factors that may influence candidate ratings


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Structured Interview Question Formats

  • Background Questions

    • Focus on work experience, education, or other qualifications required for successful job performance

      “Please discuss your work experience in the banking industry”


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Structured Interview Question Formats

  • Job Knowledge Questions

    • Focus on the candidate’s command of a specialized job knowledge domain

      “Please describe the steps that must be taken to appeal a judicial ruling”


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Structured Interview Question Formats

  • Behavioral Description Questions

    • Focus on past behaviors related to the requirements and/or competencies for the job

      “Please describe a time when you were able to remain calm in a stressful work situation”


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Structured Interview Question Formats

  • Situational Questions

    • Focus on work experience, education, or other qualifications required for successful job performance

      “If you are the bank manager, how would you handle a request from an employee for a special rate on a loan for his or her friend?”


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Example Structured Interview Question

  • It is often necessary to work together in a group to accomplish a task. Please describe an experience you had working as part of a group.

    • What was the task?

    • How many people were in the group?

    • What difficulties arose as a result of working as a group?

    • What role did you play in resolving the difficulties?

    • What was the outcome of the project/experience?


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Developing Rating Criteria

  • Examples – Checklist Format

    • 5 (Well Qualified)

      • Uses different approaches when working with others

      • Resolves interpersonal conflicts at an early stage

      • Solicits ideas and opinions of others

      • Goes out of the way to help fellow workers

    • 3 (Qualified)

      • Takes into account needs and values of others

      • Handles interpersonal conflicts by talking with involved parties

    • 1 (Low)

      • Shows limited flexibility in dealing with others

      • Fails to keep lines of communication open


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Research on Interview Structure

  • Validity and Reliability

  • What do they measure?

  • How is the process perceived?


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Validity – Do They Predict Job Performance?

  • Validity Estimates: Meta-analyses

    • Conway, Jako, and Goodman (1995)

      • Poorly structured interviews .34

      • Moderately structured interviews .56

      • Highly structured interviews .67

    • Wiesner and Cronshaw (1988)

      • Unstructured interviews .20

      • Structured interviews .63


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Reliability – Are They Consistent?

  • Reliability: Meta-analyses

    • Taylor and Small (2002) – Interrater Reliability

      • Situational questions .79

      • Behavioral questions .77

      • Note: Reliabilities apply to descriptively anchored rating scales

    • Conway, Jako, and Goodman (1995)

      • Interview structure moderated internal consistency reliability


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What Do They Measure?

  • Huffcutt, et al (2001) – Structure Influences Focus

    • Low Structure: Focus is general intelligence, education and training, experience, and interests

    • High Structure: Focus is job knowledge and skills, organizational fit, interpersonal and social skills, and applied mental skills (e.g., problem solving, decision making)


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What Do They Measure?

  • Huffcutt, et al (2001) – Structure Influences Validity

    • The types of constructs measured in structured interviews tended to have higher validity coefficients across jobs than the constructs measured in unstructured interviews

    • Recommended focusing interviews on applied mental skills, interpersonal skills, and conscientiousness


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How Is The Process Perceived?

  • Seijts and Jackson (2001)

    • Interview structure influences perceptions of fairness

    • College students rated written scenarios of selection procedures

    • The use of a situational, structured interview resulted in higher perceptions of fairness than an unstructured interview


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Types of Interviews

  • Puzzle Interviews

    • Popularized by Microsoft

    • Used in the traditional, unstructured interview

    • Purportedly measure intelligence, creative problem solving, critical thinking ability, flexibility, stress tolerance, bandwidth, inventiveness, etc.


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Example Puzzle Interview Questions

  • Why are manhole covers round?

  • How would you weigh an elephant without a scale?

  • How many gas stations are there in the United States?

  • Which of the 50 states would you eliminate? Why?


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Interview Development: Best Practices

  • Interview content:

  • Base questions on a thorough job analysis

  • Ask all interviewees the exact same questions

  • Limit prompting and follow-up questions

  • Utilize behavioral and/or situational questions

  • Include multiple questions in the interview

  • Control use of ancillary information (e.g., applications, resumes, test scores)

  • Do not allow applicants to ask questions during the interview

Campion, Palmer, & Campion (1997)


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Interview Development: Best Practices

  • Interview evaluation:

  • Rate candidates on each interview question

  • Make ratings on detailed, anchored rating scales

  • Require interviewers to take notes

  • Use multiple interviewers

  • Use the same interviewers to evaluate all candidates

  • Discourage interviewers from discussing candidates

    between interviews

  • Train the interviewers

  • Use statistical rather than clinical combination of interview ratings

Campion, Palmer, & Campion (1997)


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