It is essential in the first instance to outline our terms of reference. Specifically, what do we mean by effective recruitment interviewing? It can be posited that the effectiveness of an interview process lies in its ability to identify those candidates who most closely match the requirements of the post applied for. Innumerable recruitment decisions have been made on the basis of interpersonal chemistry between interviewer and candidate; some of these decisions will be successful, others will result in the failure of an unsuitable candidate. The aim of the recruitment interview should be to maximise the likelihood of a successful selection decision. In order to achieve this in a way that is repeatable across an organisation, a set of standards which constitute best practice should be enumerated and followed as closely as possible.
With the aim of objectivity in view, the process should start well before the candidates are even selected for interview. It is essential to have clear, precise, comprehensible job and person specifications agreed upon by the stakeholders in the interview process. Without this, interviewers may not agree on the makeup of the right candidate, and without this clear and implicit agreement of what elements are most important in an applicant, any selection process is bound to encounter difficulty at the interview stage, because different interviewers will view a candidate differently; what are important answers for one interviewer may be inconsequential to another. Once these specifications have been drafted and agreed, it is a much simpler process to produce a detailed, objective interview matrix which accurately reflects the key requirements of the job.
Once the prerequisites of the role are established, the next priority is to ensure that the interview time is used effectively by constructing an interview template which is precise, concise, and permits the interviewer to maintain focus: “…the most consistent finding…is that interviews are improved by using a structure...” (Robertson, Smith, 2001). A well thought-out interview structure will promote a number of important features within the interview process, including equality, consistency, objectivity and fairness. Equality and consistency are achieved through a solid, standardised interview template or matrix since candidates are treated in the same manner, and are asked the same or similar questions in order to elicit the desired information. Objectivity is gained through a direct comparison of candidates’ responses. For most candidates, there is a prevailing sense of fairness and transparency to a structured interview process. This is evidenced by the statistical decrease in the likelihood of a legal challenge to a structure driven selection decision: “…methods most likely to be challenged in proportion to their use are …unstructured interviews (200%)…structured interviews (50%) were least likely to be challenged.” (Robertson, Smith 2001). This structured, specification-based interview is the method employed within my company, Scott Jardine , which not only aids our selection process, but allows us to demonstrate to clients’ satisfaction why we have made certain decisions about candidates’ suitability. With the information gleaned from having this standardised, consistent structure, it is thus possible to rank the candidates in terms of their possession of key attributes deemed necessary or desirable to perform a particular job. Significantly, this process is repeatable throughout the majority of an organisation, and minimises the interpersonal element, while maximising objectivity.
If it is the case that an organisation has a strong culture, then it could be deemed as essential to ensure that specific personality traits or ethics that a candidate displays are aligned with and fit the organisational culture. For these particular organisations often it is more important for candidates to have...