Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Job Interviews Fail

The unstructured interview is the most used method of hiring, but there is only a weak correlation between such interviews and performance. Of the ten most commonly asked questions during an interview, only one of them is useful!

1. Why should I hire you?
2. What do you see yourself doing in five years from now?
3. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
4. How would you describe yourself?
5. What college subject did you like the best and the least?
6. What do you know about our company?
7. Why did you decide to seek a job with our company?
8. Why did you leave your last job?
9. What do you want to earn five years from now?
10. What do you really what to do in life?

Question 1, 3 and 4 will not elicit answers with useful information about what the candidate will really be like on the job. Applicants will probably have prepared for such questions and developed pretty answers. These questions will therefore elicit prepackaged responses that do not really tell anything about the candidates actual abilities and skills.

Questions 2, 9 and 10 require candidates to gaze into the future. But since they are not psychic, their predictions carry little weight. And applicants can be less than forthcoming about their true plans.

Questions 5, 7 and 8 turn the interviewer into an historian, and invite artful and nice-sounding responses.

The best question is number 6, because it gets into whether the applicant took time to research the company – which can be a good sign. But this is still not the best question.

Brafman, O. & Brafman, R. (2009). Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior.