Behavioural/Situational Interviewing

. When employing people, it is important to make the right choice; the cost of getting it wrong can be substantial

. Past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour, ie if a bully now, most likely will be a bully in later life

. Need to be careful of the "illusion of validity"

"...this means that many managers believe that others might not know how to use an informal interview to select the right candidate......the research evidence shows that informal interviews have very low reliability in selecting candidates most likely to succeed in the job..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

. Some of the limitations of job selection interviews include

"... - stereotyping of candidates (using very limited information to decide that a candidate is of a certain type)

- primacy effect (remembering the beginning of the interview better than the rest of the interview)

- personality similarity effect (believing people like ourselves are the most competent)

- negative information weighting bias (exaggerating the importance of information that reflects poorly on the candidate)..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

. Interviews have limitations as they are based on fragmented evidence; the interviewers are generally overconfident in their intuition; put too much weight on their personal, first impressions and too little weight on other sources of information.

. Despite these shortcomings, interviews remain popular for the following reasons

"...- they perform functions other than selection, such as selling the organisation to the candidate, and persuading and negotiating arrangements with the candidate

- they are accepted by managers and candidates as valid because interviewing is......easier to understand than any other more technical technique (such as competency profiling or personality testing)

- they are low in cost compared with other techniques such as tests..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

. Elements that impact on the content of interviews include

"...- basing questions on the job analysis

- asking each candidate the same questions

- limiting prompting of candidates by interviewer

- using better types of questions, such as behavioral or situational questions

- using more questions

- disallowing questions by candidates..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

. On the other hand, positive impacts on the evaluation process include

"...- rating each answer on a scale

- using behaviorally-based rating scales

- taking detailed notes

- using multiple interviews

- using multiple interviewers

- using the same interviewer(s) for all candidates

- not discussing candidates between interviews

- providing interviewer training

- limiting unsolicited information provided by candidates

- using a rating system for each question/answer rather than making a broad, overall judgment......the elements that most improved job interview content were the use of job analysis, using the same questions and using better types of questions......behavioral questions can improve the effectiveness of the selection interview by a significant factor..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

. Generally behavioral questions are more effective than situational questions as an interviewing technique for the following reasons

- flexibility (questions allowed candidates to explain their real-life experiences and behaviours; probing questions can be used to discover additional detail behind the answers provided)

- fairness (allows relevant real-life experiences, not just work-based experiences, to be used)

- veracity (behavioral questions are more difficult to fake as follow-up questions can be used to gather more detail)

. The behavioral review structure should include

- competency-based behavioral questions (interview questions related to the job as determined by the job analysis, such as job description or advertised requirements for the job)

- common interviewer(s) and questions for all interviews (this brings a degree of consistency to the judgments being made; training of interviewers may be required; consistency, ie standardisation of questions and interviewers creates the basis for fair comparison; remember: it is the skills that matter, not the context in which they were applied)

- use of agreed rating scales for all questions (a rating scale significantly improves the consistency and reliability of candidate evaluation; interviewers need to know what the scale stands for)

. Behavioral interviewing is limited as it is based on 2 assumptions

i) that behavioral patterns are consistent over time, ie past behavior is a good guide to future behavior but people do change over time

ii) candidates can be compared fairly on the basis of past behaviour. In reality, candidates have different past experiences that have differing degrees of relevance to the behavioral requirements of the job under consideration


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