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Developing Candidates Before They Apply
April 4, 2016
Waves | 2017 Update | Map | Saville | ATG
Wave 2017: New Norms. New Reports. Greater Efficacy.
January 17, 2017

When Interviews Fail: Why the Best Interview May Not Be the Best Employee and How To Improve Interview Efficacy

Ever been truly blown away by a job candidate’s interview performance? And then been even more blown away when their actual job performance failed to measure up? You shouldn’t be surprised.

Many companies rely on open, conversational interviews in which potential candidates are free to present themselves in a way they feel will impress the interviewer. It is often the most impressive interviewee who gets awarded the job. However, research reports show those self-presentation behaviors have more to do with interview ratings and less to do with job performance ratings.*

So how can a company sift through the bright and shiny candidates to find the one that will be the bright and shiny employee it’s looking for?

First, candidates’ self-presentation tactics had more of an impact when the interview was relatively unstructured. To help counteract this, interviews should be as structured and standardized as possible in order to improve hiring decisions. The authors of the report advise that “although structured interview scores were still subject to attempts by candidates to manage their portrayal, the scores became significantly less so as structure increased.” Greater interview structure means a greater chance that impressive candidates will translate into impressive employees.

Scoreable structured interviews offer the best defense against being taken in by a candidate’s impression management tactics. ATG has spent years building dozens of scoreable structured interviews for jobs ranging from a barge deckhand to a wealth management executive and companies have come to rely on the known quality and efficacy of those interviews. Most notably, ATG is in its third generation of scoreable structured interviews for a certain mouse who has a critically acclaimed cruise line.

Each scoreable structured interview is the result of a well-developed research sequence that uncovers the behavioral and biodata elements related to success and long tenure on the job. These elements are grouped by theme, and then several questions are constructed for each theme, making the hiring process both more automated and more effective. Even smaller businesses can now afford to power their selection process with ATG’s automation through an online series of scoreable structured interview hurdles.

*Barrick, Murray, Jonathan Shaffer and Sandra DeGrassi. (2009). What You See May Not Be What You Get: Relationships Among Self-Presentation Tactics and Ratings of Interview and Job Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol. 94. No. 6. 1394-1411.