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Understanding the Personal Interview:
A Study for Managers Involved in the Hiring Process

Updated by:
MICHELLE HULETT

Understanding the Personal Interview
Introduction
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Personal interviewing continues to be the most widely used method for selecting employees and is often used in conjunction with other techniques such as reference checking, weighted application blanks, skill tests, and psychological testing. There are obviously good reasons for the popularity of the employment interview despite the controversy regarding its validity. The following factors affect validity:

* Pre-interview Impressions
* Psychological Selective Perceptions
* Stereotypes
* Halo-effect
* Trait Configurations

Pre-interview Impression Effects
Pre-interview Impressions
A process model by Diboye, 1982, proposes three interview phases: 1. The Pre-interview Phase;
2. The Interview Phase-the face-to-face interview with the applicant; 3. The Post-Interview Phase-where impressions are formed of the applicant’s qualifications and the decision is made to hire or not to hire.

Figure 1: Diboye’s Interview phases
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
An interviewer forms a pre-interview opinion of the applicant and categorizes the applicant as “ideal, highly qualified” or “typical” or “unqualified,” and the interviewer’s subsequent conception of the applicant then influences the subsequent gathering and processing of information. This “cognitive-categorization,” means interviewers form expectancies of how applicants present themselves in an interview. Macan and Diboye confirmed this theory in a study they did and found that candidates with high qualifications were expected to give better answers and display traits of an ideal candidate. Their findings also revealed that interviewers have more favorable attitudes to these higher qualified applicants and show more signs of approval in their...
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