Quality Of Hire: Why Hiring Interviews Often Fail To Deliver?
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Why Quality Of Hire Is A Crucial Business Issue

Despite the extensive use of the interview as a selection tool, evidence suggests that it can be a poor predictor of future job performance. Primary reasons are:

  1. Inability to define requirements in behavioral and measurable terms – often resulting in over or under emphasis on some key factors.
  2. Inability to follow a structured and standardized process – often resulting in biased judgment.
  3. Inability to frame questions that help predict performance on job – often resulting in assessment of knowledge rather than skill.
  4. Not capturing/noting down key observations in support of candidate assessment – often resulting in subjectivity.

Quality of hire is also becoming an extremely crucial business issue as a superior candidate can often outperform an average one by almost 300%. While how precisely quality of hire can be measured still remains debatable, broad indicators include:

  1. Quality of applicants in terms of experience.
  2. Time to be performance post joining.
  3. Performance level measured as against expected deliverables.
  4. Alignment with organizational culture and core values.

What Are Competency-Based Interviews?

The competency-based interview is conducted on the premise that "past behavior is the best predictor of future performance". It is hence meaningful to gather as much behavioral evidence during an interview to arrive at an objective assessment of the candidate's ability to perform the job.

The most effective way of gathering specific behavioral evidence is to use different styles of questioning and probing. One such widely practiced technique is called the STAR technique.

The STAR Technique

  • Situation.
    It is the background in which the candidate took the action.
  • Actions.
    They are what the candidate did or said as a response to the situation. Action is the core of the STAR style. This is what you are looking (past behavior) for in a Competency Based Interview. These not only tell you what the candidate did, but also what the candidate did not or failed to do.
  • Results.
    They are the effects of the candidate’s actions. Results tell us what difference the person’s actions made and their effectiveness.

Structure Of The Interview

Working to a structure is a major step towards improving the quality of hire, as it helps to:

  • Ensure nothing important has been missed during the interview.
  • Keep track of how the interview time.
  • Offer candidates a sense of progress through the interview.
  • Help ensure consistency between candidates.

Questions must be planned in advance. It is usual to have a series of questions that are posed to every candidate with specific ones for individual applications based on information in their application forms. The need to raise additional questions will arise in order to probe candidates responses and these should be asked at the appropriate time. No question should be asked of a discriminatory nature e.g. asking a female candidate about her childcare arrangements.

The interview should be structured as follows:

  • Start.
    Will include introductions, advising candidates of the structure which will be followed and that note-taking will occur. A few moments of small talk will help to relax the candidate and establish rapport.
  • Body.
    This is the main part of the interview where the required evidence about the candidate's suitability for the post against the key criteria is obtained.
  • Close.
    Candidates should always be given the opportunity and sufficient time to ask any questions they may have. They should be informed of the timescales and methods of notifying them of the outcome and should be thanked for attending the interview.

Questioning Techniques

The interviewer should aim to keep the candidate talking about 70-80% of the time, as the key aim of the interview is to obtain insights from the candidate. Effective interviews depend on well-thought out and well-structured questions.

There are various types of questions:

  • Open ended.
    These questions encourage candidates to start talking. They typically start with the words 'what, why, how?'.
  • Close ended.
    Here the number of possible answers is limited and are usually either 'yes' or 'no'.
  • Leading.
    The answer which is expected is prompted in the question.
  • Behavioral.
    These are useful questions, as you gain evidence of how the candidate has handled similar situations in the past.

In our next series of articles, we will share about other techniques of interviewing, career aspirations discussions, coaching, and more. Stay tuned.

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