The expression “hire hard, manage easy” means that the time, effort and expense devoted to screening job candidates pays big dividends down the road. The psychic and economic costs of a poor hiring decision are not something any of us want to contemplate. We have all experienced the frustration involved in making a poor hiring decision and then trying to “fix” it. In addition, it is estimated that the cost of locating, screening and training someone to replace the sub-par employee ranges from $10,000 to $60,000.
One area where we can do a better job of screening candidates is during the job interview.
Americans have a love affair with the interview. It is by far, the most widely used means of screening job candidates in use today. However, a number of academic studies have suggested that the face-to-face interview is one of the least reliable means of distinguishing good candidates from bad. Nevertheless, we’re addicted to the interview process and convinced that we can establish a “connection” of some kind with the top candidate. Surely, our perceptive nature and shrewd judgments about people will enable us to get a “feel” for the right candidate. Even better, maybe one of the candidates will think, act or look like us.
This may also raise our comfort level with that special candidate.
Un-scientific? You bet it is. There is absolutely no evidence that intuition or “gut feelings” produce better performers on the job. But there are some straightforward steps each of us can take to increase the effectiveness of interviews. Like many endeavors – – both on the job and in your personal life – -a strong dose of organization and advance planning will help. The next time you are preparing to interview candidates for a job, remember that an effective interview has three components:
As part of your advance planning, you will want to review the position description and qualification requirements of the position for which you are conducting interviews. What are the “critical elements” of the position (as opposed to optional or “nice to have” skills)? Have you thought about the specific abilities that the candidate must have in order to succeed in the position? Believe it or not, one of your best sources of information is your colleagues at work. Solicit their feedback about the qualities they view as critical for success.
Take some time to closely review the candidate’s application package. As you review each application, ask yourself: