At the Australasian Talent Conference last month, I attended an interesting break out session on the future of interviewing and whether assessment would make interviews redundant.
The panel made plenty of interesting points in response to questions and comments. Unsurprisingly nobody was predicting the end of interviews any time soon.
One of the excellent points made by one of the panel in discussing the many ills of interviews, as they are currently being conducted, was this: far too many interviews are conducted without the purpose of any particular interview being clear.
For people who don't conduct interviews on a regular basis (and even for the many that do) it is an important aspect of interviewing to consider.
It baffles me when I hear about the process for a position being filled and it has five or more interviews that the preferred candidate needs to attend. How can all these interviews be really necessary?
Before anyone asks a candidate to attend multiple interviews I would suggest that the following six questions be asked internally:
I would suspect that a large majority of interviews arranged are done so without barely a thought for any of the six considerations, above.
The typical interview is conducted by an unskilled interviewer who has no specified criteria to assess or scoring system to use; the interviewer simply ‘rocks up' to the interview and asks a lot of questions to see whether they ‘like' the candidate (forgetting that they won't ‘like' the candidate for very long if the candidate is not capable of doing the job or isn't motivated to do the job).
The inevitable outcome is that a candidate succeeds if the interviewer completes the interview with a ‘good feeling' about the candidate. The candidate fails if the interviewer completes the interview without a ‘good feeling' or has a ‘bad feeling' about the candidate. Multiple interviews are arranged to see if everyone relevant (or everyone relevant with clout) ‘likes' the candidate. At some point the candidate scores enough ‘likes' and they are offered the job.
The likelihood of a potential hiring disaster (ie wrong person hired or right person turned off or not hired) is increased with each additional interview for the simple reason that the responsibility for the decision becomes diluted with each additional interview.
In other words if the candidate has passed through four interviews prior to me interviewing him I'm likely to assume (in the absence of any communication to the contrary) that everyone who interviewed this candidate earlier has decided that the candidate should be hired, therefore I am just ‘having a chat' to them.
In all likelihood nobody has actually decided that this candidate should be hired as they assume someone else further up the interview chain will make the final decision. By the time to sixth or seventh person has ‘interviewed' the candidate, it seems ridiculous not to hire the candidate because nobody has strongly objected.
Guess what? The default hiring decision becomes ‘yes'. The quite-good candidate who appeals to the most people is hired. The best candidate who has other opportunities or maybe isn't quite so likeable has either self-selected out of the process after the third or fourth interview, or has received a more compelling offer from a company that has moved more efficiently through the interview process.
How many interviews does it take to hire top talent? I suspect it's three, maybe four. I would confidently assert that it's not six or seven.
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