Chapter 6 Interviewing Candidates
Outline of Chapter 6 • Basic features of interviews • Types of interviews • Structured versus unstructured interviews • Interview content: types of questions • Administering the interview • Personal interviews • Computerized interviews • High-performance insight • Online interviews • Are interviews useful?
Outline of Chapter 6 • What can undermine an interviews usefulness? • First impressions • Misunderstanding the job • Candidate order error and pressure to hire • Nonverbal behavior and impression management • Effect of personal characteristics: attractiveness, gender, race • Interviewer behavior
Outline of Chapter 6 • Designing and conducting the effective interview • The structured situational interview • Step 1: Job analysis • Step 2: Rate the job’s duties • Step 3: Create interview questions • Step 4: Create benchmark answers • Step 5: Appoint the interview panel and conduct the interviews
Outline of Chapter 6 • How to conduct an interview • Structure your interview • Prepare for the interview • Ask questions • Close the interview • Review the interview A streamlined effective interview • High-performance insight • Summary
What You Should Be Able to Do • List the main types of selection interviews • Explain and illustrate at least six factors that affect the usefulness of interviews • Explain and illustrate each guideline for being a more effective interviewer Page 160
What You Should Be Able to Do (Cont.) • Effectively interview a job candidate • Explain how to develop a structured or situational interview • Discuss how to improve your performance as an interviewer Page 160
Interview 101 Definition • An interview is a procedure designed to obtain information from a person through oral responses to oral inquiries • A selection interview is a selection procedure designed to predict future job performance on the basis of applicants’ oral responses to oral inquiries Page 161
Basic Types of Interviews • Selection interview’s three classifications are to be discussed fully in this chapter • Appraisal interviews are given following performance appraisals and will be discussed later • Exit interviews are performed when employees leave the company and will be discussed in later chapters Page 160 Managers use interviews for several purposes. For example, there are selection, appraisal, and exit interviews. An appraisal interview is a discussion, following a performance appraisal, in which supervisor and employee discuss the employee’s rating and possible remedial actions. When an employee leaves a firm for any reason, HR often conducts an exit interview. This interview aims at eliciting information about the job or related matters that might give the employer some insight into what’s right or wrong about the firm. Instructor’s note: You may wish to have an interesting discussion about the most difficult or interesting interview question a student ever encountered, whether for a job or admission to college.
How it’s structured The content How it’s administered Selection Interviews Page 160
How Interviews Are Structured • Directive • Nondirective Applicant Interview Guide
How Interviews Are Structured Page 161 Structured Versus Unstructured Interviews In unstructured or nondirective interviews, there is generally no set format to follow, so the interview can take various directions. The lack of structure allows the interviewer to ask follow-up questions and pursue points of interest as they develop. Interviewees for the same job may or may not get the same or similar questions. On the other hand, in structured or directive interviews, the questions and acceptable responses are specified in advance and the responses are rated for appropriateness of content.7 McMurray’s patterned interview was one early example. The interviewer followed a printed form to ask a series of questions, Instructor’s Note: You may wish to go to the hyperlink for the six slides showing a formal Applicant Interview Guide and discuss the questions shown there. You may wish to ask students for their best answers to the questions. Another alternative is to split the class in to small groups and assign the role of interviewer, interviewee and observer(s) to various students then conduct a debriefing of the results. You can click on the link shown and you will automatically be returned to this slide show at the end of the interview guide (click on the link shown).
Content • Interview content Situational Behavioral Job related Stress
Content Page 165 Interview Content: Types of Questions W can also classify interviews based on the “content” or focus of their questions. For example, in a situational interview, you ask the candidate what his or her behavior would be in a given situation. Whereas situational interviews ask interviewees to describe how they would react to a hypothetical situation today or tomorrow, behavioral interviews ask interviewees to describe how they reacted to actual situations in the past. Interviews like these can produce a lot of tension. “It’s pretty intense,” said one applicant for a consultant’s job with Accenture, the consulting firm, “You can pretty much fake one or two answers, but the third time they come back to it you pretty much can’t. You’re pulling from real life, and you’re nervous. In a job-related interview, the interviewer tries to deduce what the applicant’s on-the-job performance will be based on his or her answers to questions about past behaviors. The questions here don’t revolve around hypothetical situations or scenarios. Instead, the interviewer asks job-related questions (such as, “Which courses did you like best in business school?”) in order to draw conclusions about, say, the candidate’s ability to handle the financial aspects of the job to be filled. In a stress interview, the interviewer seeks to make the applicant uncomfortable with occasionally rude questions. The aim is supposedly to spot sensitive applicants and those with low or high stress tolerance. Instructor’s note: Consider asking for a volunteer to interview in front of the rest of the class (they can stay in their desk.) It is usually a good idea to select a student who is a bit older who has had several job interviews or different jobs. A good question is generally behaviorally based such as, “Describe a situation where you received criticism about the work you did, either from a boss, customer, co-worker or even a subordinate. Tell me about all the details of the situation and describe exactly what you did about it.” Compare their answer to another question, “How do you handle criticism?”
Puzzle Questions “Mike and Todd have $21 between them. Mike has $20 more than Todd. How much money has mike, and how much money has Todd?” $20.50 $0.50 Page 166 Recruiters for technical, finance, and occasionally other types of jobs like to use them to see how candidates think under pressure. (Answer: Mike had $20.50, Todd $.50).
Interview Administration • How administered • Personal • Unstructured sequential • Structured sequential • Panel • Mass • Computerized
Interview Administration Page 166 Personal Interviews Most interviews are one on one: Two people meet alone, and one interviews the other by seeking oral responses to oral inquiries. Most interview processes are also sequential. In a sequential interview, several persons interview the applicant, in sequence, before a decision is made. In an unstructured sequential interview, each interviewer may ask different questions and form an independent opinion. In a structured sequential interview, each interviewer rates the candidates on a standard evaluation form. The hiring manager then reviews and compares the evaluations before deciding who to hire. In a panel interview, a group (or panel) of interviewers questions the candidate together. This has several advantages. In sequential interviews, candidates may cover the same ground over and over again with each interviewer. The panel format lets interviewers ask follow-up questions based on the candidate’s answers, much as reports do in press conferences. This may elicit more meaningful responses than are normally produced by a series of one-on-one interviews. Instructor’s note: Ask students how to best handle a panel interview during a lunch or dinner meeting. (Some answers: Eat before you go since you cannot really expect to do much eating while answering questions; do not eat anything “messy” such as spaghetti or soup; do not drink any alcoholic beverages – even if others do.)
Computerized Interviews • Computers, not people • Specific questions • Multiple-choice format • Rapid-fire sequence • Requires concentration • Helps reject unacceptable candidates • Saves time
Computerized Interviews Page 167 Today, it’s often computers, not people, that administer the interview. A computerized selection interview is one in which a job candidate’s oral and/or computerized responses are obtained in response to computerized oral, visual, or written questions and/or situations. Most present the applicant with a series of specific questions regarding his or her background, experience, education, skills, knowledge, and work attitudes that relate to the job for which the person has applied. Typical computerized interviews present questions in a multiple-choice format, one at a time; the applicant is expected to respond to the questions on the screen by pressing a key. Questions on a computerized interview come in rapid sequence and require the applicant to concentrate. Computer-aided interviews are generally used to reject unacceptable candidates and to select those who will move on to face-to-face interviews. Computer-aided interviews can be advantageous. Systems like those at Pic’n Pay and Great Western Bank of California reduce the amount of time managers devote to interviewing what often turn out to be unacceptable candidates.
Are Interviews Useful? • Interviews are a good predictor of performance • Interviews should be structured and situational • Be careful what types of traits you try to assess Check out recruiter chat at this page
Are Interviews Useful? Page 169 While use by virtually all managers, interviews received low marks for reliability and validity in early studies. However, today (as noted above), studies confirm that the “validity of the interview is greater than previously believed,” and that the interview is “generally a much better predictor of performance than previously thought and is comparable with many other selection techniques.” But there are two caveats. First, you should structure the interviews.27 The research generally suggests that structured interviews (particularly structured situational interviews) have validities about twice those of unstructured interviews. The second caveat is this: Be careful what sorts of traits you try to assess. A recent study illustrates why. Interviewers were able to size up the interviewee’s extraversion and agreeableness. What they could not assess accurately were the traits that often matter most on jobs—like conscientiousness and emotional stability.
What Can Undermine Success in an Interview? • First impressions • Job misunderstanding • Candidate order error • Interviewer behavior • Personal characteristics • Nonverbal behavior management
What Can Undermine Success in an Interview? • Page 171 • Instructor's Note: • While this is a repeat video, it is useful in that it we approach the subject of interviewing in greater depth. • What sort of first impression did the candidate make? • How did the owner’s misunderstanding of the Mary’s previous job impact the interview? (He sighed and looked down.) • How would you describe the behavior of the interviewer? (He seemed rushed and did not establish rapport at the beginning.) • How would you characterized Mary? (She seemed composed and a bit nervous – as all interviewees do.) • Describe the non-verbal behavior of the interviewer. Describe the non-verbal cues given by the candidate. • First Impressions • One of the most consistent findings is that interviewers tend to jump to conclusions —make snap judgments—about candidates during the first few minutes ofthe interview (or even before the interview starts, based on test scores or résumé data). One researcher estimates that in 85% of the cases, interviewers had made up their minds before the interview began, based on first impressions gleaned from candidates’ application forms and personal appearance. • Misunderstanding the Job It’s also important to know what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Interviewers who don’t know precisely what the job entails and what sort of candidate is best suited for it usually make their decisions based on incorrect stereotypes of what a good applicant is. They then erroneously match interviewees with their incorrect stereotypes. • Candidate-Order (Contrast) Error and Pressure to Hire • Candidate-order (or contrast) error means that the order in which you see applicants affects how you rate them. In one study, managers had to evaluate a candidate who was “just average” after first evaluating several “unfavorable” candidates. They scored the average candidate more favorably than they might otherwise have done since, in contrast to the unfavorable candidates, the average one looked better than he actually was.
1. Explain and illustrate the basic ways in which you can classify selection interviews. 2. Briefly describe each of the following possible types of interviews: unstructured panel interviews; structured sequential interviews; job-related structured interviews. 3. For what sorts of jobs do you think computerized interviews are most appropriate? Why? Instructor’s notes: You can utilize this slide to generate some good classroom discussion. These are the end-of-the-chapter discussion questions on Page 180.
Effect of Personal Characteristics • Attractiveness • Gender • Race
Effect of Personal Characteristics Page 171-172 Interviewers also have to guard against letting an applicant’s attractiveness and gender play a role. In general. individuals ascribe more favorable traits and more successful life outcomes to attractive people. Race can also play a role, depending on how you conduct the interview. An employer’s best strategy is to be actively nondiscriminatory. However, a prudent employer will also take steps in planning the interview process and conducting the actual interviews to ensure that its interviewers avoid tester claims. Strategies for employers: 1. Caution interviewers that testers may be posing as applicants. 2. Train interviewers to make careful notes during and after the interview. Substantiate differences among applicants, and record responses to questions and other items of interest not on the applicant’s résumé or application. 3. Have applicants execute a statement acknowledging that they are applying for the job out of a sincere interest in the job and for no other purpose. Signing that and later returning with a claim as a “tester” could constitute evidence of deceit if there’s a lawsuit. 4. Remember that testers often enter the employment process with phony résumés and fabricated qualifications, so carefully checking references is important. Interviewer Behavior The interviewer’s behavior also has an effect. For example, some interviewers inadvertently telegraph the expected answers,57 as in: “This job calls for handling a lot of stress. You can do that, can’t you?”
5 Steps in Interview Design Job Analysis Rate the Job Duties Create Interview Questions Create Benchmark Answers Appoint Panel & Conduct Interviews
5 Steps in Interview Design Page 174 Step 1. Job Analysis Write a job description with a list of job duties, required knowledge, skills, abilities, and other worker qualifications. Step 2. Rate the Job’s Duties Identify the job’s main duties. To do so, rate each job duty, based on its importance to job success and on the time required to perform it compared to other tasks. Step 3. Create Interview Questions Create interview questions that are based on actual job duties, with more questions for the important duties. Step 4. Create Benchmark Answers Next, develop answers and a five point rating scale for each, with ideal answers for good (a 5 rating), marginal (a 3 rating), and poor (a 1 rating). Consider the preceding situational Step 5. Appoint the Interview Panel and Conduct Interviews Companies generally conduct structured situational interviews using a panel, rather than sequentially. The panel usually consists of three to six members, preferably the same employees who wrote the questions and answers. It may also include the job’s supervisor and/or incumbent, and an HR representative.
How to Structure and Conduct Your Interview • Base questions on actual job duties • Use knowledge, situational questions and objective criteria to evaluate • Train interviewers • Use same questions
How to Structure and Conduct Your Interview • Page 175 • Base questions on actual job duties. This will minimize irrelevant questions based on beliefs about the job’s requirements. It may also reduce the likelihood of bias, because there’s less opportunity to “read” things into the answer. • 2. Use job knowledge, situational, or behaviorally oriented questions and objective criteria to evaluate the interviewee’s responses. Questions that simply ask for opinions and attitudes, goals and aspirations, and self-descriptions and self-evaluations allow candidates to present themselves in an overly favorable manner or avoid revealing weaknesses. Structured interview questions can reduce subjectivity and therefore the chance for inaccurate conclusions, and bias. • 3. Train interviewers. For example, review EEO laws with prospective interviewers and train them to avoid irrelevant or potentially discriminatory questions and to avoid stereotyping minority candidates. Also train them to base their questions on job-related information. • 4. Use the same questions with all candidates.
How to Structure and Conduct Your Interview • Rating scales to rate answers • Use panel interviews • Use a structured interview form • Control the interview
How to Structure and Conduct Your Interview Page 175 6. Use multiple interviewers or panel interviews. Doing so can reduce bias, by diminishing the importance of one interviewers’ idiosyncratic opinions, and by bringing in more points of view. 7. If possible, use a structured interview form. 8. Control the interview. Limiting the interviewers’ follow-up questions (to ensure all interviewees get the same questions), using a larger number of questions, and prohibiting questions from candidates until after the interview are other “structuring” techniques.
Prepare for the Interview • Do interview in a quiet room with no interruptions • Review resume and make notes • Know the duties of the job • Focus questions on skills that are a must • Don’t make snap judgments Page 175 The interview should take place in a private room where telephone calls are not accepted and you can minimize interruptions. Prior to the interview, review the candidate’s application and résumé, and note any areas that are vague or that may indicate strengths or weaknesses. Remember, it’s essential that you know the duties of the job, and the specific skills and traits you should be looking for. Most interviews probably fail to unearth the best candidate because the interviewer is unprepared, or overconfident, or just plain lazy. Prepare for the Interview
Establish Rapport& Ask Questions • Put the interviewee at ease • Begin interview with an ice breaker • Be aware of the applicant’s status • Follow your list of questions • Ask for examples • Mention you will contact references Page 176 Establish Rapport The main reason for the interview is to find out about the applicant. To do this, you need to put the person at ease. Ask Questions Follow your list of questions.
Close and Review • Leave time to answer questions • End on a positive note • Inform in writing of a decision if that’s your policy • Review notes and fill in structured form • Timely review reduces snap judgments Page 177 Close the Interview Leave time to answer any questions the candidate may have and, if appropriate, to advocate your firm to the candidate. Review the Interview Once the candidate leaves, and while the interview is fresh in your mind, review your notes and fill in the structured interview guide (if you used one and if you did not fill it in during the interview).
How to Be a Good Interviewee + Be prepared by learning about the company, the job and the recruiters + Uncover the interviewer’s real needs and relate to those needs + Pause, think, then speak + Nonverbal behavior important + Make a good 1st impression, be enthusiastic Chapter 6 Appendix
Streamlining Interviews • Interviewer must get questions around these four factors answered • Knowledge and experience • Motivation • Intellect • Personality Page 177 Prescriptions like “know the job,” “know the skills and experiences you’re looking for,” and “ask questions that focus on the skills an ideal candidate needs” are easier said than done. Many firms (especially small, fast-moving entrepreneurial ones) often don’t have the time or inclination to create structured situational interviews. Even a busy entrepreneur can spell out the kind of person who would be best for the job. One quick way to do so is to focus on four basic types of behaviors—knowledge and experience, motivation, intellectual capacity, and personality.
Questions on the 4 Factors • What must the candidate know to perform the job? • What experience is absolutely necessary to perform the job? • Are there any unusual energy demands on the job? Page 177
Questions on the 4 Factors • What should the person like doing to enjoy this job? • Is there anything the person should not dislike? • Are there any essential goals or aspirations the person should have? • Are there any specific intellectual aptitudes required?
Questions on the 4 Factors Page 177 What must the candidate know to perform the job? What experience is absolutely necessary to perform the job? (Knowledge and experience) What should the person like doing to enjoy this job? Is there anything the person should not dislike? Are there any essential goals or aspirations the person should have? Are there any unusual energy demands on the job? (Motivation) Are there any specific intellectual aptitudes required (mathematical, mechanical, and so on)? How complex are the problems the person must solve? What must a person be able to demonstrate he or she can do intellectually? How should the person solve problems (cautiously, deductively, and so on)? (Intellectual) Instructor’s notes: Of course, there is always more than one way to evaluate the applicant. You could ask for a volunteer to describe his or her current job and then have the class (in small groups) create one question for each of the four factors.
Questions onthe 4 Factors • How complex are the problems the person must solve? • What are the critical personality qualities needed for success? • How must the job incumbent handle stress, pressure, and criticism? • What kind of interpersonal behavior is required in the job up the line, at peer level, down the line, and outside the firm with customers?
Questions onthe 4 Factors Page 178 What are the critical personality qualities needed for success on the job (ability to withstand boredom, decisiveness, stability, and so on)? How must the job incumbent handle stress, pressure, and criticism? What kind of interpersonal behavior is required in the job up the line, at peer level, down the line, and outside the firm with customers? (Personality) Intellectual factor. Here, assess such things as complexity of tasks the person has performed, grades in school, test results (including scholastic aptitude tests, and so on), and how the person organizes his or her thoughts and communicates. Motivation factor. Probe such areas as: the person’s likes and dislikes (for each thing done, what he or she liked or disliked about it); aspirations (including the validity of each goal in terms of the person’s reasoning about why he or she chose it); and energy level, perhaps by asking what he or she does on, say, a “typical Tuesday.” Personality factor. Probe by looking for self-defeating behaviors (aggressiveness, compulsive fidgeting, and so on) and by exploring the person’s past interpersonal relationships. Ask questions about the person’s past interactions (working in a group at school, working with fraternity brothers or sorority sisters, leading the work team on the last job, and so on). Also, try to judge the person’s behavior in the interview itself—is the candidate personable? Shy? Outgoing?
Stick to the Plan • College experiences • Work experiences—summer, part time, full time (one by one) • Goals and ambitions • Reactions to the job for which you are interviewing Page 178 Conducting the Interview Have a plan and follow it. You should also devise and use a plan to guide the interview. Follow your plan. Perhaps start with an open-ended question for each topic, such as “Could you tell me about what you did when you were in high school?” Keep in mind that you are trying to elicit information about four main traits—intelligence, motivation, personality, and knowledge and experience. Match the Candidate to the Job After following the interview plan and probing for the four factors, you should be able to summarize the candidate’s general strengths and limitations and to draw conclusions about the person’s intellectual capacity, knowledge and experience, motivation, and personality.
Stick to the Plan + Self-assessments (by the candidate of his or her strengths and weaknesses) + Military experiences + Present outside activities Page 178
And Find a Match • Follow the plan • Probe the four factors • Summarize the strengths and weaknesses • Draw conclusions • Compare with job description • Bingo! Check out Toyota Page 178 After following the interview plan and probing for the four factors, you should be able to summarize the candidate’s general strengths and limitations and to draw conclusions about the person’s intellectual capacity, knowledge and experience, motivation, and personality. You should then compare your conclusions to both the job description and the list of behavioral specifications developed earlier. This should provide a rational basis for matching the candidate to the job—one based on an analysis of the traits and aptitudes actually required.
Summary Slide • Outline • What you should be able to do • Interview 101 • Basic types of interviews • Selection interviews • How interviews are structured • Content
Summary Slide (Cont.) • Puzzle questions • Interview administration • Computerized interviews • Are interviews useful? • What can undermine success in an interview?
Summary Slide (Cont.) • Effect of personal characteristics • Five steps in interview design • How to structure and conduct your interview • How to structure and conduct your interview • Prepare for the interview
Summary Slide (Cont.) • Establish rapport & ask questions • Close and review • How to be a good interviewee • Streamlining interviews • Questions on the 4 factors
Summary Slide (Cont.) • Stick to the Plan • And Find a Match • Value-based hiring builds employee commitment