In practically all cases, an organization strives to identify and select the best person for the job.
Ads for open positions are overflowing with lists of requirements for experience and education in an effort to prevent those that don’t meet stated criteria from applying. Nevertheless, various statistics reveal the low ratio of qualified applicants versus immense volumes of unqualified resumes received for each opening.
Assorted factors that might correlate to difficulties in attracting the best person for the job are often attributed to dubious phenomena such as the incessant war for talent, looming skills gap and shifting workforce demographics. Frequently, this combination leads an employer to pursue those employed by their competitors or to attempt to hire a promising prospect before the competition does.
Rational or not and no matter the source, those that aren’t already looking for a new job are almost always viewed as the most valuable. Usually once a potential candidate moves past visual examination of their tangible credentials online or on paper, a person-to-person assessment is typically the next step in the screening process. Whether over the phone, via video, or during a face-to-face meeting, interviewers endeavor to uncover the attributes and characteristics they believe will translate to a successful hire.
Coincidently, experts repeatedly provide evidence that interviews and interviewers are not accurate predictors of performance. There are numerous reasons for this.
For starters, job postings are notoriously poorly constructed and bear minimal resemblance to the on-the-job performance expectations. Merely listing a series of required or preferred skill sets and prior experience and education doesn’t automatically mean someone with them would be effective or someone without them would struggle. Regardless, a person with a solid understanding of the job itself should have no trouble coming up with appropriate targeted questions.
Certain questions are more suited to assess hard skills and others help evaluate soft skills. The blend of both would depend on the nature of the work to be performed. Generally, it is advisable to ensure that all interview questions asked are job-related. That, however, is rare…
Interview questions tend run the gamut between obviously relevant to downright absurd. Recruiters may rely on their favorite questions to get to know candidates. Hiring managers may depend on intuition or gut feelings to determine what the right fit means.
Behavior based interview questions are typically touted as the most effective type as they are structured to elicit information about previous experience or existing knowledge. If applied properly, behavioral interview questions may provide structure and consistency. However, there is still the possibility of subjectivity and room for interpretation, making it tough to validate accuracy of answers provided.
Sometimes situational questions are used to examine how a person would handle a particular challenge related to that company’s anticipated future needs. Since these are based on “what if” scenarios, they may or may not produce adequate information about the candidate’s abilities. The primary drawback of these behavioral or situational exchanges is lack of context on both sides. Inquiries and replies are simply based on that individual’s perspective of the topic and can leave plenty of room for incorrect conclusions or premature decisions.
Being that humans naturally think they are good judges of other humans, many involved in the hiring process decide to use their own variety of unique questions. Because of this, a large percentage of people end up weaving personality or motivation oriented queries into their conversations - believing, amateur or not, they are capable of psychoanalyzing others. That practice is a bit frightening since most often when this happens impressions and opinions are formed about likability more than competence.
Even Google’s famed random interview questions have been retired upon being deemed entirely irrelevant and ineffective by their CHRO. Finally, we can rest assured that the best person for the job doesn’t also need to be an expert in manhole cover shapes, filling school buses with golf balls or counting gas stations in upstate NY.
By incorporating unrelated questions it creates higher probability that a person that interviews well (or better) might be determined to fit the culture and the job while a potentially more qualified person that provides less amusing or entertaining answers gets rejected. Goofy questions aside, after all of the above transpires, how is it possible (according to some surveys) that up to 50 percent of the “best person for the job” hires don’t work out?