In-person interviews are not good predictors of job performance and research suggests that they’re more likely to show whether a candidate is good at interviewing and often serve as an excuse for hiring managers to let their biases take control, according to a new report by renowned LinkedIn expert and organizational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.
In his argument, Chamorro-Premuzic says employers should instead conduct job simulations and review a candidate’s past performance ratings to get a sense of a prospective employee’s fit for a role.
He said typical interviews includes such questions as, “What’s your top strength?” “What are your biggest weaknesses?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What makes you want to work for us?” and “Who would play you in a movie?”
“Most of us have experienced the futility of job interviews, or at least had to answer some of these dreadful questions,” Chamorro-Premuzic said. “Yet it’s virtually impossible to get a job without going through an interview — and usually more than one. But the trouble is that interviews aren’t as useful as employers think. Indeed, organizations can still make great — and arguably better — hiring decisions without them.”
However, others argue that Chamorro-Premuzic’s idea of job simulations may not be prudent.
“Though job simulations are an example of one selection device that can be a better predictor of performance, they are not feasible for many organizations, as they can be costly to design and administer and job simulations can at times introduce additional ethical challenges,” said Amanda Hinojosa, an assistant professor of management at Howard University in D.C.
“In the case of knowledge work, asking someone to complete a job simulation may be providing them with a task that they would otherwise be paid for if they were hired,” Hinojosa said.
Additionally, past performance ratings may be useful if that measure is valid and has little bias, she said.
“But if past performance ratings are coming from a poorly designed annual review session, then these ratings are subject to the same issues as poorly designed interview questions,” the professor said.
Denver D’Rozario, a marketing professor at Howard, said he worked for two years for a management consulting firm in New York which only performed management simulations and training exercises for Fortune 500 companies.
“These simulations were done by this consulting company to help their Fortune 500 clients screen and assess the job performance of their current employees,” D’Rozario said. “I was told that the Fortune 500 companies who were our clients felt that these management simulations that we did for them [which they put their employees through proprietary job simulations and collected data from them as they responded to simulation-based tasks/exercises] were good predictors of their employees’ current and future job performance. That’s why these Fortune 500 companies paid our company big money, to run these simulations for them.”
In arguing against the job interview process, Chamorro-Premuzic said the most comprehensive scientific study to date on the predictive power of different recruitment tools suggests that the typical job interview provides very little valuable information over and above psychometric tests, which tend to be both quicker and cheaper to administer.
“Job interviews introduce toxic data,” Chamorro-Premuzic said. “In addition to the information interviews should provide but don’t, there’s also a great deal of information they shouldn’t provide but do. The latter isn’t just noisy data in the sense of not improving predictiveness — it’s actually toxic, focusing interviewers’ attention on problematic traits.”