Interviewing – Fact or Fiction

Friday, March 10, 2017 By: PSP Metrics Posted In: Key Ideas

The job interview has great value, but interviews alone take very little risk out of the hiring decision.  A recent study found that 57% of candidates who recently had been interviewed believed telling lies during the job interview is acceptable. Job candidates are prone to exaggerate their skills, omit negative information, and lie about their previous salary levels. With this in mind, what can be done to interview more successfully in the light of the false information often presented in an interview?

  • First, recognize that there is ample room for error in the interview process. The interview is a small sample of an applicant’s behavior, often hinging on a candidate’s verbal facility.
  • Second, prior to the interview, remind yourself of the main questions that must be answered: Can the person do the job? Will the person do the job? Can the person get along with others? Will the person grow?
  • Third, use the behavioral interview method. What people have done in the past is a stronger predictor of their future behaviors than what they say they will do.  And, examples of behaviors have greater validity than candidate statements about their attitudes and feelings or what they will do.
  • Fourth, never ask hypothetical questions such as, “What would you do if …?”  Always ask for examples of how they have handled a particular situation. For example, “Tell me about the last time you had a conflict with a colleague, and how you handled it.” Or, “What was your biggest accomplishment at work, and what makes you proud of it.”
  • Fifth, remember that interviews are inherently subjective, often boiling down to interpretations and feelings. Use multiple methods when making hiring decisions, including educational/vocational history and validated employment test results.

The purpose of the interview is to gather accurate and useful information for making a hiring or promotion decision.  By using multiple tools in the hiring process, you minimize the risk of making mistakes and avoid the consequences of confusing fact with fiction.